The Pit and the Pendulum

1991

Action / Horror / Romance

12
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 56%
IMDb Rating 6 10 3

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 30, -0001 at 12:00 AM

Director

Cast

Mark Margolis as Mendoza
Lance Henriksen as Torquemada
Oliver Reed as Cardinal
Jeffrey Combs as Francisco
1080p.BLU
1.44 GB
1920*800
English
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 37 min
P/S 4/12

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by The_Void 8 / 10

Much better than you would expect

Because it's a newer version of a classic horror movie (and it went directly to video), I have been putting off watching Stuart Gordon's take on Edgar Allen Poe's classic story, but after finally catching it; I can honestly say that I don't know why I didn't see it earlier! While the Roger Corman/Vincent Price version of the tale is far better, this update still has a lot in store for the horror fan, most notably it's superb European styled atmosphere, and a fine performance by Lance Henriksen, which may even be the best of his career. While these elements are contributors to the film's success, the main reason why the film works is the story behind it. Of course, it's based (albeit loosely) on Poe's classic tale, so the story is bound to be solid; but it doesn't take all of it's influence from Poe, and so Dennis Paoli can take a lot of credit for the screenplay he wrote for the movie. The idea of 'the pendulum', along with a 'pit' can conjure up many feelings of dread and pain, and this film adequately capitalises on that with it's excellent torture filled finale!

As mentioned, Lance Henriksen gives what is maybe his best performance in this film. He is both powerful and frightening in his role as Torquemada, the head witchfinder of the Spanish Inquisition. When he says "I am the inquisition", it's enough to make your hairs stand on end. Henriksen is a criminally underrated actor and one that certainly deserves more praise...it's just unfortunate that he tends to shine in movies that don't get noticed. Also in the cast is 'Re-Animator' himself, Jeffrey Combs, who shines in a small role as someone in the inquisition. The film isn't wholly serious, and Stuart Gordon has seen fit to add some comic relief to the proceedings, which is OK but I feel that the movie would be better off without any 'relief'. Certain elements from other Poe stories appear, such as a man being bricked in behind a wall, and this film seems to treat it's subject material with respect. The European horror style is a major plus factor in my opinion, and should please fans of movies from the sixties and seventies. On the whole; surprisingly good!

Reviewed by gavin6942 7 / 10

Stuart Gordon's Lesser Classic

The Roman Catholic Church has begun to turn away from the Inquisition, finding its methods and motives more than just a little bit suspect. But the Grand Inquisitor of Spain (Lance Henriksen) has other plans... he is his own authority, allegedly guided by God Himself. A baker and his wife end up on the wrong side of the law -- his law -- when they protest an execution and she is accused of witchcraft.

Lance Henriksen has a bad habit of appearing in many low budget horror films, so much so that any credibility he gained as Bishop from "Aliens" or Frank Black from "Millenium" is overshadowed by his constant self-degradation. Did we really need so many Pumpkinhead films? But "Pit and the Pendulum" is one of those rare films that is both lower budget and yet still good, today maybe even carrying on well as a timeless classic.

Unlike other Full Moon films, this one has a steady plot and interesting characters -- and a decent cast. Mark Margolis shows up and Jeffrey Combs has a relatively small, but crucial, role to play. (Combs, like Henriksen, has sold out in recent years.... but his very presence makes a film better.) There is excessive -- but not gratuitous -- nudity, bloody torture devices (but not to the point of exploitation like "Saw", just for entertainment). This is a fun film in the vein of, say, the original "Troll" (but not "Troll 2").

Stuart Gordon is best known for "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond", but if there is a third third of his that deserves recognition, this is it. Gordon (and writer Dennis Paoli) found a way to work within the budget of Full Moon and still make things worth watching rather than poor excuses for "movies".

Now out on Blu-ray, the film looks better than ever (as much as it can). There is no audio commentary for some inexplicable reason, but there is a very short making-of featurette. Somehow Tom Towles got his name spelled wrong on the credits (a true disgrace). Blu-ray.com notes that the "transfer isn't masterful, but it's certainly more than capable" and gives the disc 3 of 5 stars. But if the price is right this film is worth getting.

Reviewed by Coventry 8 / 10

Different kind of horror...but in a good way.

I really enjoyed watching this movie and I wish to recommend to as many people as possible. But maybe biased because I'm a huge fan of director Stuart Gordon. I have yet to see a movie of his that doesn't fully lives up to my expectations. From Re-Animator over Dolls to Castle Freak...they all belong to my favorite horror movies. And I do believe Gordon belongs to the most talented directors in the genre because he can handle all sort of horror topics. His debut - the brilliant Re-Animator - was a comedy splatter movie while The Pit and the Pendulum doesn't contain that much violence or gore. This movie contains an intelligent and even educational story and it has great settings and costumes of the 14th century.

The Pit and the Pendulum is an adaptation of the famous short story by Edgar Allen Poe. The master of low budget - Roger Corman - already used this story once to make a great horror classic starring Vincent Price. Stuart Gordon's movie isn't really a remake of that one. They just used the same plot. Pit and the Pendulum takes place during the Spanish Inquisition. Lance Henriksen plays one of the best roles of his entire career as Torquemada. He decides whether "witches" are guilty or not and when they'll be burned for the eyes of God. A young girl, Maria ( played by Ronna De Ricci who never did anything else in her career )who resists against his way of working is being arrested. Torquemada wants to accuse her of witchery but he's fascinated by her looks and her body. Meanwhile, Maria's husband entered the castle and he wants to free his wife.

The atmosphere and the settings impress the most in this movie. The ancient castle and the torture chambers are really intriguing. The costumes are terrific as well. There isn't too much gore and violence to detect in this movie ( especially not compared to previous Gordon movies ) but they're are a few very explicit scenes that show true horror. But it's always shot with a lot of style and class. Even though Lance Henriksen is getting all the attention in this movie, there are a a few other great performances in this movie. I'd like to bring forward Jeffrey Combs...my favorite B-movie actor and frequently cast by Stuart Gordon. His role is pretty limited but very well acted.

The Pit and Pendulum is warmly recommended to fans of atmospheric horror and historical stories. One to watch !!

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