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Pit and the Pendulum (The Pit and the Pendulum)

Pit and the Pendulum (The Pit and the Pendulum) (1961)


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Release Date: Aug 12, 1961 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 8,437

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Movie Info

American-International's standing "haunted castle" set is exhibited to peak advantage in Roger Corman's Pit & the Pendulum. Save for the climax, Richard Matheson's script bears but little resemblance to the Edgar Allen Poe original, though there are pronounced echoes throughout of Poe's The Premature Burial. Vincent Price stars as Nicholas Medina, the son of a notorious Spanish Inquisition torturer. Nicholas' wife Elizabeth (Barbara Steele) has died under mysterious circumstances, prompting


Horror, Cult Movies

Richard Matheson

Jun 5, 2001

American International Pictures (AIP)

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All Critics (21) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (3) | DVD (7)

Proves to be the equal of 1960's The Fall of the House of Usher.

October 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Who wants understatement in a film with dungeons and giant blades?

October 22, 2013 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

The film ends up being very nearly as good [as House of Usher], and better in some respects.

October 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

The title calls out for lustrous Freudian hysteria, and Corman delivers

March 15, 2010 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Vincent Price lording over a giant torture pendulum! Awesome.

March 10, 2007

It reminds us that flat, colorless character actors look really flat and colorless when sharing a scene with Price.

April 5, 2006 Full Review Source:

Corman estabelece uma boa atmosfera de tensão, sendo auxiliado na tarefa pela bela direção de arte e por um Vincent Price mais do que inspirado.

February 16, 2005
Cinema em Cena

Typical Corman-Poe flick with a few unintended laughs thanks to Vinnie's campiness.

August 27, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The best of the Roger Corman Poe films.

January 25, 2003
Your Movies (

Even Vincent Price has little to do

May 28, 2001 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Pit and the Pendulum (The Pit and the Pendulum)

Roger Corman directs this adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's short story with effective thrills and shocks to make this a stunning, well constructed horror film that is a surprising classic that deserves to be seen by fans of the genre. The film relies on atmosphere and the performance of Vincent Price to create its terror, and what we get here is a well crafted low budget film that keeps you involved from start to finish. The film has a gothic tone to it, which is standard for films of the era, and it only adds so much to the picture. The cast do a fine job here, and each brings something to the screen to really make this a standout feature among Corman fans. Horror should be about tone, and atmosphere, and Roger Corman clearly understands that, and the result is a masterful adaptation of a classic literary work. In terms of horror, The Pit and the Pendulum is a fine example of how it's done correctly. I really enjoyed the film and I think that it's one of those movies that needs to be rediscovered by viewers that enjoy great horror. The film has an engaging performance by horror icon Vincent Price, which makes this one stand out among other horror classics. For those who've enjoyed Edgar Allan Poe's writings, this is a worthy film to watch. The cast are great, and the pacing itself works well to set up to a riveting and trilling climax. Roger Corman has made a fine horror film that delivers effective chills throughout and it is a fine early work, from a director who would have significant impact on cinema. If you come across this film, give it a shot, you're sure to enjoy it if you love old school horror films, and with Vincent Price starring in it, you know it's going to be worth your time.
October 26, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Vincent Price is as magnetic as always (enough to counter John Kerr's terribly nonchalant performance) and the film revels in tense atmosphere. The pacing is a bit un-even at times but the last twenty minutes are so intense that it makes the waiting worthwhile. Another solid Corman Poe adaptation.
June 25, 2012
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

It was so great to get to see two of my favourite horror stars together for once: Price and Steele. This is one of my favourite of Corman's Poe series, and not just for that reason, the movie is really intense and exciting too. I really like it.
November 22, 2010

Super Reviewer

A very different adaptation of Poe's story; Corman is able to build a tense atmosphere with a firm direction, one great art direction and Price's magnetic performance.
October 22, 2009

Super Reviewer

    1. Catherine Medina: No one will ever enter this room again.
    – Submitted by Ceara R (2 years ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) (DE)
  • The Pit and the Pendulum (UK)
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