The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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
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Lance Henriksen
as Torquemada
Frances Bay
as Esmeralda
Jeffrey Combs
as Francisco
Tom Towles
as Don Carlos
Stephen Lee
as Gomez
Oliver Reed
as Cardinal
Larry Dolgin
as Sergeant of the Guards
Mark Margolis
as Mendoza
William J. Norris
as Dr. Huesos
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon
as Contessa D'Alba Molina
Benito Stefanelli
as Executioner
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Pit and the Pendulum

All Critics (9)

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 7, 2002

Quote not available.

Full Review… | April 11, 2011

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
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer


Not the worst to come from charles band, but not the best. Its an alright adaptation of the classic tale by "poe" but not what should be considered good by any means. It dies what its budget allows it to do.

Randy Pronk
Randy Pronk

Lots of big names in this movie if you can spot them. What makes it creepy is it went on back in the day. Gotta love those wacky inquisitionists.

Sherry Rogers-Levoy
Sherry Rogers-Levoy

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