The Pit and the Pendulum
Facts and Figures
Run time: 97 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 27th June 1991
Distributed by: MGM
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 4
IMDB: 6.2 / 10
The Pit and the Pendulum Review
Well, in title, anyway. The story, about a man trapped in the torture chamber during the Spanish Inquisition isn't so well-known itself. And Corman and writer Richard Matheson (The Omega Man) take some extensive liberties with the story, turning into a tale about the son (Vincent Price) of a Spanish Inquisitor who inherits his father's house of horrors (torture chamber included). His adulturous wife (Barbara Steele) has faked her own death and is trying to drive her husband crazy... and when she succeeds, she gets more than she bargained for.
Ultimately, the film is quite a disappointment -- the pit and the pendulum don't appear until 10 minutes before the end of the picture, and the pit is only about 15 feet deep, not bottomless as in Poe's short story. Even Vincent Price has little to do, with few lines and bearing little of the creepiness he showed in films like House of Wax. Corman's atmosphere is appropriately moody, yet the proceedings drag down under its talkiness. In the end, it feels like one of his usual rush jobs, which of course, it was.
On a spare commentary track on the new DVD release, Corman peppers in a few details, most of which you won't really find interesting unless you're an ultra-low-budget filmmaker just like he was. Er, like he is.