The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

The Pit and the Pendulum




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Only loosely based on Edgar Allen Poe's classic short story, this horror film was filmed on location in a spooky Italian castle and tells the convoluted story of a mad priest who devises exquisitely painful ways of getting his victims to confess to dabbling in witchcraft. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Rating: R
Genre: Horror
Directed By:
Written By: Dennis Paoli
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 14, 2000

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as Torquemada

as Esmeralda

as Francisco

as Don Carlos

as Gomez

as Cardinal

as Sergeant of the Guar...

as Contessa D'Alba Moli...

as Executioner
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Critic Reviews for The Pit and the Pendulum

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The second in the popular series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations made by the enterprising mini-studio American International Pictures, this Roger Corman picture is carpeted wall-to-wall with luxuriant gothic excess.

Full Review… | December 12, 2014
Times [UK]

Boring adaptation with no scares, no mood and no sex appeal (considering it's a form of sexual persecution)

July 18, 2003

Not bad, but I expected a lot more from Stuart Gordon.

June 25, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

Really underrated horror film from Stuart Gordon.

December 29, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Schlock of a very fine vintage.

August 8, 2002

Audience Reviews for The Pit and the Pendulum

Charles Band takes on the classic Poe tale here with help from a surprisingly good cast including Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs and a small cameo from Oliver Reed!

This film is combination of three classic Poe tales which aren't that bad but as you would expect pretty cheap 'n' cheerful looking at times. There is an odd element of humour at times boarding on spoof, yet despite this Henriksen gives us a chilling performance as the lunatic inquisitor 'Torquemada' which is a brilliantly over the top ham fest of a performance, bizarre monk hairdo included and those cutting round eyes of his.

Rest of the cast are pretty useless and the effects and sets go from reasonable to down right awful. Plenty of fake blood and cheesy dialog but I saw this mainly for Henriksen really, his presence elevates the film to a guilty pleasure.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer


Puts its low budget to work.

Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

A decent take on a few classic Poe tales. Always fascinating to me to watch the writer's stories become interpreted in so many different ways. Good vintage film. Really enjoyed the Oliver Reed cameo.

John Askot

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