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Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 12 August 1961 (USA)
In the sixteenth century, Francis Barnard travels to Spain to clarify the strange circumstances of his sister's death after she had married the son of a cruel Spanish Inquisitor.

Director:

Roger Corman

Writers:

Richard Matheson (screenplay), Edgar Allan Poe (story "The Pit and the Pendulum")
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Vincent Price ... Nicholas Medina / Sebastian Medina
John Kerr ... Francis Barnard
Barbara Steele ... Elizabeth Barnard Medina
Luana Anders ... Catherine Medina
Antony Carbone ... Doctor Charles Leon
Patrick Westwood ... Maximillian
Lynette Bernay Lynette Bernay ... Maria (as Lynne Bernay)
Larry Turner Larry Turner ... Nicholas as a Child
Mary Menzies Mary Menzies ... Isabella
Charles Victor Charles Victor ... Bartolome
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Storyline

Francis Barnard goes to Spain, when he hears his sister Elizabeth has died. Her husband Nicholas Medina, the son of the brutest torturer of the Spanish Inquisition, tells him she has died of a blood disease, but Francis finds this hard to believe. After some investigating he finds out that it was extreme fear that was fatal to his sister and that she may have been buried alive! Strange things then start to happen in the Medina castle. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Edgar Allan Poe's diabolic classic See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM Studios [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 August 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Edgar Allan Poe's Pit and the Pendulum See more »

Filming Locations:

Palos Verdes, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Alta Vista Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Color:

Color (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was shot in fifteen days. See more »

Goofs

The main character, Nicholas Medina, claims to be the son of an Inquisitor. The Spanish Inquisition was formed by catholic clerics who where not allowed to have descendants. See more »

Quotes

Elizabeth: [shouting Don Medina's name causing him to fall down the stairs] Nicholas!
See more »

Alternate Versions

2 shots of a corpse's face in a coffin were cut by the BBFC from the original UK cinema version. All later versions were uncut. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Elvira's Haunted Hills (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the spookiest and most frightening of the Roger Corman Poe adaptations. A must see for all horror buffs.
12 January 2003 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

'Pit And The Pendulum' sees b-grade legend Roger Corman ('Little Shop Of Horrors'), talented suspense writer Richard Matheson ('The Incredible Shrinking Man'), and horror master Vincent Price ('The Tingler') try and recreate the success of their first Poe adaptation 'House Of Usher'. And they do so admirably, '... Pendulum' being even better than the excellent '... Usher'. Matheson cleverly expands upon Poe's original tale by also mixing in elements from the earlier movie, 'The Premature Burial' and other Poe classics. John Kerr is the one weak link in this first rate thriller. An actor I'm not familiar with, he is dull and not all that good. Much better is Antony Carbone (who Corman fans will recognize from 'A Bucket Of Blood') as Price's doctor pal, and the underrated Luana Anders ('Dementia 13', 'Easy Rider') as Price's sister. Price himself is wonderful as usual as the tormented Don Medina, and an added bonus is the appearance of enduring cult figure, and one of the most beautiful actresses in movie history, Barbara Steele ('Black Sunday', 'Shivers'). Steele doesn't get as much screen time as one would wish but it's a joy to see her work alongside Price, sadly their only movie together. 'Pit And The Pendulum' is one of Corman's best horror movies, and one that will surprise many viewers today with just how atmospheric and creepy it still is. An extremely underrated film (as are Corman's other 60s Poe adaptations), and one that is a must see for all horror buffs. Highly recommended.


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