The Pit and the Pendulum (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

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

Watch it now


Lance Henriksen
as Torquemada
Frances Bay
as Esmeralda
Jeffrey Combs
as Francisco
Tom Towles
as Don Carlos
Oliver Reed
as Cardinal
Larry Dolgin
as Sergeant of the Guards
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon
as Contessa D'Alba Molina
Benito Stefanelli
as Executioner
View All

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.

December 12, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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

July 18, 2003 | Rating: 1/5

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

June 25, 2003 | Rating: 2/5

Really underrated horror film from Stuart Gordon.

December 29, 2002 | Rating: 4/5

Schlock of a very fine vintage.

August 8, 2002 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for The Pit and the Pendulum


Stuart Gordon does a great job again to combine horror (this time from pure human evil) and camp (even if it gets a bit too campy sometimes), benefiting from Lance Henriksen's creepy performance and offering a very nice and underrated adaptation of Poe's short story.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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


Puts its low budget to work.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

The Pit and the Pendulum Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features