Pit and the Pendulum

1961

Action / Drama / Horror / Mystery

5
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 83%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 10599

Synopsis


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680.52 MB
1280*544
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 20 min
P/S 4 / 15
1.28 GB
1920*816
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 20 min
P/S 8 / 24

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by oguer22656 10 / 10

Vincent Price is wonderful!!

I just recently "discovered" the "Pit and the Pendulum" after a friend recommended it. I watched the video on a dark and windy night and I was absolutely chilled! It was wonderfully atmospheric, beautifully filmed, and the suspense kept mounting right up until the climatic end. >

Vincent Price was terrific, bringing such sympathy to this role. I think any other actor would have easily been over the top, but Price keeps it in check. John Kerr was properly aggressive as the over wrought brother and the other actors were just as impressive.

This type of movie making just confirms to me that you don't need a shameless amount of blood and guts to be terrified. I know I'm going to have a grand old time checking out Price's other movies!

Reviewed by Snake-666 9 / 10

Perhaps the finest Corman & Price collaboration.

Following the sudden death of his sister, Francis Barnard (John Kerr) travels to Spain to question her husband, Don Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price), son of a notoriously barbaric Inquisitor. Medina openly mourns the death of his wife but Barnard is unconvinced by his story and is determined to discover the truth.

Proceeding from 'The Fall of the House of Usher' (1960), director Roger Corman's second film in his now-famous cycle of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations was this delightfully lurid and lavish offering that can at once be both repugnant and resplendent. 'Pit and the Pendulum' is a uniquely and profoundly visual experience. Dazzling colour and abhorrent darkness coalesce to invoke the most unpleasant aura of trepidation. The luxuriant cinematography of Floyd D. Crosby coupled with the artistic eye of Corman merge eminently, ensuring that mood and atmosphere remain constant and that the viewer feels the agony of the events depicted on-screen. Furthermore, Richard Matheson's screenplay is both intelligent and eloquent and Corman makes full use of what he is gifted here. The pacing of the film is superb, constantly moving onwards, never lingering too long and remaining thoroughly enthralling throughout. Truly this film is perfect in presentation and direction.

Sadly, there are imperfections in the performances of the cast, most notably John Kerr whose continually wooden, dull and tepid acting is too explicit for a leading role. Similarly, while the linguistical talents of Vincent Price lend themselves to an almost Shakespearean delivery of his lines, he occasionally allows himself to sink into ham-acting which detracts somewhat from the more serious nature of the film. However, minus these minor distractions, the performances of the cast are more than adequate to support what is in essence a strongly visceral experience. Luanne Anders and Anthony Carbone offer masterful performances in their supporting roles and cult-favourite, Barbara Steele, makes short appearances as Medina's deceased wife.

If the Corman/Price collaborations are to horror what the Scorsese/De Niro collaborations be to drama then this may well be Corman's 'Goodfellas'. A sublime entry into the genre that offers numerous thrills and chills, inherent beauty and one of the strongest screenplays to grace Sixties horror cinema. What few flaws that there are cannot truly undermine the hard work that went into making this magnificent horror film.

Reviewed by José Luis Rivera Mendoza (jluis1984) 8 / 10

Another great Gothic horror!

Right after the success of "House of Usher", director Roger Corman wanted to make another adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe's story, "The Masque of the Red Death", however, he felt that it was not the time for that project and decided to make the short story "Pit and the Pendulum". Reunited with Vincent Price and most of the crew of his previous film, Corman crafted another brilliant entry in the Gothic horror sub genre and a film that proved that the praise for "House of Usher" was well-deserved and not a mere lucky strike.

The plot follows Englishman Francis Barnard (John Kerr) on his trip to Spain as he has received news of the death of his beloved sister Elizabeth (Barbara Steele). At his arrival, he is informed by Elizabeth's widower, Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price), that she died of a strange blood disease, but strange events begin to happen and both men will discover the strange mystery hidden behind the walls of Medina's castle.

Written by frequent collaborator Richard Matheson, the film is not really a faithful adaptation, it is a cleverly written story that fuses many different Poe's short stories in one. The story unfolds nicely and as in the previous film, the characters are the film's soul. Matheson perfectly forms the bonds and relationships between them and none is left without a time to shine. The mystery of Elizabeth's death and Medina's castle is very well-handled and the unexpected climax is a classic horror moment. Once again Matheson delivers a terrific script that captures Poe's obsession with ancient buildings and Gothic settings.

Despite the low-budget, Roger Corman manage to surpass what he achieved in "House of Usher" taking care in every little detail, with the lavish sets and gorgeous cinematography making the film look as beautiful as a canvas. The films of the so-called "Poe cycle" are almost always labeled as his best and not without a reason, as they prove that Corman was not a mere director of low-grade cheap films. He was truly a daring and inventive artist and this film remains as one of his most powerful masterpieces.

The cast this time is superb, with Vincent Price taking the lead role with great talent and powerful presence. With ease he can go from melodrama to utter horror and his melancholic over-the-top melodrama was right at home in Poe's adaptations. John Kerr makes a terrific counterpart and his performance is very believable. As a stranger in a strange-land, his character brings balance to the film and Kerr makes the most of it. The beautiful ladies Barbara Steel and Luana Anders show off not only their beauty, but also their talent. Steel's aura of mystery suits perfectly the atmospheric horror of the film and Anders displays her talent for melodrama.

The film is near perfect and a great joy to watch. Never dull nor boring, the film captures the Gothic horror of Poe's stories and gives them homage in a grandiose way. A big improvement over the first of Corman's "Poe films", it's hard to find a flaw in it as nearly everything is its right place. From Price's on-screen presence to the wonderful sets, "Pit and the Pendulum" is a masterpiece of low-budget film-making, a movie that looks even better than most of the big studios productions.

"Pit and the Pendulum" proved to be up to its reputation and it quickly became a favorite of mine. Personally, the discovery of this gems has drastically changed my idea of Roger Corman's work, as this group of films prove that this man is a serious artist who knew how to make a movie that was an economic and a artistic success. This film is another great Gothic horror treasure. 8/10

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