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  • The Pit and the Pendulum
    • The Pit and the Pendulum
    • Runtime:97 min
    • Release Date:2017-01-22 23:19:08
    • Director: Stuart Gordon
    • Genres: Horror
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:The Pit and the Pendulum


The Roman Catholic Church has begun to turn away from the Inquisition,
finding its methods and motives more than just a little bit suspect.
But the Grand Inquisitor of Spain (Lance Henriksen) has other plans…
he is his own authority, allegedly guided by God Himself. A baker and
his wife end up on the wrong side of the law — his law — when they
protest an execution and she is accused of witchcraft.

Lance Henriksen has a bad habit of appearing in many low budget horror
films, so much so that any credibility he gained as Bishop from
"Aliens" or Frank Black from "Millenium" is overshadowed by his
constant self-degradation. Did we really need so many Pumpkinhead
films? But "Pit and the Pendulum" is one of those films I remember
fondly from my childhood and even today feel carries on well as a
timeless classic.

Unlike other Full Moon films, this one has a steady plot and
interesting characters — and a decent cast. Mark Margolis shows up and
Jeffrey Combs has a relatively small, but crucial, role to play.
(Combs, like Henriksen, has sold out in recent years…. but his very
presence makes a film better.) There's excessive — but not gratuitous
– nudity, bloody torture devices (but not to the point of exploitation
like "Saw", just for entertainment). This is a fun film in the vein of,
say, the original "Troll" (but not "Troll 2").

I can understand wanting to avoid this film, but I think you'd be
making a mistake. It's hard to find films that are this much fun today.
Blending horror and pure enjoyment isn't impossible, but it seems to be
a dying art. Make this one a must-see on your list.


*** This review may contain spoilers ***


Stuart Gordon's The Pit and the Pendulum has very little in common with
its predecessor or with Poe's original story. It's ironic that Full
Moon's DVD carries the more aptly "The Inquisitor" title in the opening
credits. Because that is what the film is about. The Pit and the
Pendulum takes place during the Spanish Inquisition where the Grand
Inquisitor, Torquemada, was burning and torturing "heretics" left and
right. Our story follows an innocent baker and his wife whom Torquemada
falls in love with and uses his power in the church to torture them.
Lance Henriksen, always a favorite of mine, plays Torquemada while
Jonathan Fuller and Rona De Ricci do just fine as the baker and his
wife. Oliver Reed has an all too brief cameo. The rest of the cast is
filled with Gordon regulars; Jeffrey Combs, Tom Towles, Stephen Lee,
and Carolyn Purdy-Gordon. The cast seems to be having fun with the
material while Lance is taking it dreadfully serious. It's a shame too,
because he gives a terrific and dark performance. His performance is
too good for the movie. I know that's a weird thing to say but this is
not Stuart Gordon's best work. Many other genre greats worked on this
film behind the scenes. The entire Band family is also involved in one
capacity or another (it being a Full Moom picture and all) while Dennis
Paoli wrote the script and Greg Cannom handles effects. I would
consider The Pit and the Pendulum a very decent effort if I didn't know
what Gordon was capable of.

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