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Crypt of Curiosities: Pits and Pendulums – A Look Back at the Film Adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe’s Seminal Short Story

Out of all of Poe’s works, few have had as big of an impact on me as “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Like many youngsters with an interest in the macabre, it was the first to immediately grab my attention, its title conjuring images of a massive, swinging blade cutting a poor sap wide open. Of course, there’s more to the poem than that—it’s focused less on the titular blade and more on the paranoia it creates, as well as painting a portrait of the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. It also has, quite infamously, one of the most frustrating deus ex machinas of all time, where the French army stops the swinging pendulum mere seconds before it can bisect our bound protagonist, much to the disappointment of English students the world over. While it’s hardly Poe’s best work, it’s certainly among his most iconic,
See full article at DailyDead »

More Gay Stars and Directors and Screenwriters on TCM: From psychos and psychiatrists to surfers and stage mamas

On the day a U.S. appeals court lifted an injunction that blocked a Mississippi “religious freedom” law – i.e., giving Christian extremists the right to discriminate against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, etc. – not to mention the publication of a Republican-backed health care bill targeting the poor, the sick, the elderly, and those with “pre-existing conditions” – which would include HIV-infected people, a large chunk of whom are gay and bisexual men, so the wealthy in the U.S. can get a massive tax cut, Turner Classic Movies' 2017 Gay Pride or Lgbt Month celebration continues (into tomorrow morning, Thursday & Friday, June 22–23) with the presentation of movies by or featuring an eclectic – though seemingly all male – group: Montgomery Clift, Anthony Perkins, Tab Hunter, Dirk Bogarde, John Schlesinger, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Arthur Laurents, and Jerome Robbins. After all, one assumes that, rumors or no, the presence of Mercedes McCambridge in one
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

120 Essential Horror Scenes Part 4: Traps & Games

Sometimes it’s psychological. Sometimes it’s visceral. It can be a masked killer’s twisted pastime. A labyrinth our poor heroes must find their way out of. Perhaps a nasty round of torture by the Big Bad. Whatever it is, the sick feeling of impending doom overcomes us as we realize the characters might not make it out alive. Sometimes they can think their way through. Sometimes they can fight. But when the exits are closed and the madman decides to get creative, all bets are off.

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Alucarda, La Hija De Las Tinieblas / Innocents From Hell (1977) – A Dracula takes revenge

Director Juan López Moctezuma came along during the new wave of 70′s Mexican genre pics that expressed radical and subversive views. An important intellectual figure in Mexico in the fifties, sixties, and seventies, Moctezuma produced Jodorowsky’s El Topo and Fando Y Lis. Of his three horror films (which also includes Mansion of Madness,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Oscar Nominated Moody Pt.2: From Fagin to Merlin - But No Harry Potter

Ron Moody as Fagin in 'Oliver!' based on Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist.' Ron Moody as Fagin in Dickens musical 'Oliver!': Box office and critical hit (See previous post: "Ron Moody: 'Oliver!' Actor, Academy Award Nominee Dead at 91.") Although British made, Oliver! turned out to be an elephantine release along the lines of – exclamation point or no – Gypsy, Star!, Hello Dolly!, and other Hollywood mega-musicals from the mid'-50s to the early '70s.[1] But however bloated and conventional the final result, and a cast whose best-known name was that of director Carol Reed's nephew, Oliver Reed, Oliver! found countless fans.[2] The mostly British production became a huge financial and critical success in the U.S. at a time when star-studded mega-musicals had become perilous – at times downright disastrous – ventures.[3] Upon the American release of Oliver! in Dec. 1968, frequently acerbic The
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Oscar Winner Went All the Way from Wyler to Coppola in Film Career Spanning Half a Century

Teresa Wright and Matt Damon in 'The Rainmaker' Teresa Wright: From Marlon Brando to Matt Damon (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright vs. Samuel Goldwyn: Nasty Falling Out.") "I'd rather have luck than brains!" Teresa Wright was quoted as saying in the early 1950s. That's understandable, considering her post-Samuel Goldwyn choice of movie roles, some of which may have seemed promising on paper.[1] Wright was Marlon Brando's first Hollywood leading lady, but that didn't help her to bounce back following the very public spat with her former boss. After all, The Men was released before Elia Kazan's film version of A Streetcar Named Desire turned Brando into a major international star. Chances are that good film offers were scarce. After Wright's brief 1950 comeback, for the third time in less than a decade she would be gone from the big screen for more than a year.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Six Gothic Tales Starring Vincent Price UK Blu-ray Release Details & Special Features

  • DailyDead
Scream Factory gave many classic horror film fans a Halloween treat with the release of The Vincent Price Collection II, and now Arrow Films is looking to sate the viewing appetites of Price fans in England with Six Gothic Tales, due out on December 8th. Comprised of six Roger Corman movies based on Edgar Allan Poe’s works and starring Vincent Price, Arrow Films has unveiled their collection’s special features:

Press Release - “From the Merchant of Menace, Vincent Price, and the King of the B’s, Roger Corman, come six Gothic tales inspired by the pen of Edgar Allan Poe. Arrow Video is thrilled to announce the limited edition release of this Six Gothic Tales box set. Limited to a run of just 2000 copies, this much-anticipated release will include The Fall of the House of Usher, Tales of Terror, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven, The Haunted Palace
See full article at DailyDead »

Review: "The Cobweb" (1955) Starring Richard Widmark And Lauren Bacall; Warnr Archive DVD Release

  • CinemaRetro
By Lee Pfeiffer

A controversy over the style of drapes for a mansion's library would not seem to be the fodder for a sizzling screen drama but it is the catalyst for the events that unwind in The Cobweb, a 1955 soap opera that involves the talents of some very impressive actors and filmmakers. The film was directed by Vincente Minnelli and produced by John Houseman, based on the bestselling novel by William Gibson. The cast features an impressive array of seasoned veterans as well as up-and-comers. Among them: Richard Widmark, Lauren, Bacall, Charles Boyer, Gloria Grahame, Lillian Gish, Oscar Levant, Susan Strasberg and John Kerr. The action all takes place in a psychiatric institute called "The Castle". It's actually a mansion house and the patients are seemingly there voluntarily. They are an assortment of mixed nuts ranging from elderly eccentrics to young people with severe problems interacting with others. The
See full article at CinemaRetro »

One of Earliest Surviving Academy Award Nominees in Acting Categories Dead at 88

Joan Lorring, 1945 Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee, dead at 88: One of the earliest surviving Academy Award nominees in the acting categories, Lorring was best known for holding her own against Bette Davis in ‘The Corn Is Green’ (photo: Joan Lorring in ‘Three Strangers’) Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominee Joan Lorring, who stole the 1945 film version of The Corn Is Green from none other than Warner Bros. reigning queen Bette Davis, died Friday, May 30, 2014, in the New York City suburb of Sleepy Hollow. So far, online obits haven’t mentioned the cause of death. Lorring, one of the earliest surviving Oscar nominees in the acting categories, was 88. Directed by Irving Rapper, who had also handled one of Bette Davis’ biggest hits, the 1942 sudsy soap opera Now, Voyager, Warners’ The Corn Is Green was a decent if uninspired film version of Emlyn Williams’ semi-autobiographical 1938 hit play about an English schoolteacher,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

The Pit And The Pendulum Blu-ray Review

Director: Roger Corman

Starring: Vincent Price, John Kerr, Barbara Steele, Luana Anders, Antony Carbone, Patrick Westwood, Lunette Bernay

Running Time: 80 minutes

Certificate: 15

Extras: Audio commentary with Roger Corman, Audio Commentary with critic Tim Lucas, Behind The Swinging Blade, Added TV Sequence, Original Trailer, An Evening Of Edgar Allen Poe with Vincent Price,

Best known as the king of cheap B-z movies, with his name recently attached to the likes of Sharktopus and Camel Spiders, Roger Corman has over 400 producing credits. But up until 1990, Corman was also known for directing over 50 films, and not all were as schlocky as one might expect. His best works were undoubtedly his Edgar Allen Poe adaptations, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, The Raven, The Masque Of The Red Death and this latest release from Arrow Video, The Pit And The Pendulum.

The basic premise lent a lot to horror over the years, as
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Roger Corman’s The Pit And The Pendulum Blu-Ray review

One of Roger Corman’s finest films from his 1960s Vincent Price/Poe cycle comes to Blu-Ray. Ryan reviews The Pit And The Pendulum...

Through the first half of the 1960s, Roger Corman directed a string of films loosely based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Colourful, macabre, and rich embroiderings of Poe’s short tales, they were among the strongest films in Corman’s long and varied career.

His second (arriving one year after The Fall Of The House Of Usher) 1961‘s The Pit And The Pendulum was one of the best, roping in all the classic elements from the Corman-Poe cycle: a castle, premature burial, and most importantly, Vincent Price as a furtive and possibly mad nobelman.

Here, Price plays Nicholas Medina, a ruff-wearing and despairing man haunted by his Spanish castle and grim ancestry. When Medina’s wife Elizabeth (Barbara Steele) dies suddenly and mysteriously,
See full article at Den of Geek »

‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video)

  • Nerdly
Stars: John Kerr, Barbara Steel, Vincent Price, Luana Anders, Antony Carbone, Patrick Westwood, Lynette Bernay, Mary Menzies, Charles Victor | Written by Richard Matheson | Directed by Roger Corman

This week has been a good week for Vincent Price fans and Arrow Video. Not only have we got Theatre of Blood, we now also have Pit and the Pendulum in another steelbook release. The Pit and the Pendulum is the second film in Roger Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe series of films (Fall of the House of Usher was first), and although Masque of the Red Death is arguably the better, this is a close second.

The Pit and the Pendulum is actually a very short story with not that much content available to make a full length movie from, so Richard Matheson took some liberties with the story when adapting it for the big screen. With elements of Fall of the
See full article at Nerdly »

Win The Pit and the Pendulum on Blu-ray Steelbook

To mark the release of The Pit and The Pendulum on 19th May, we’ve been given 3 copies to give away on Blu-ray Steelbook.

A horse-drawn carriage pulls up on a deserted beach. A sombre figure dismounts and gazes up towards his destination – a foreboding cliff-top castle perched high above the crashing waves. Thus the perfect Gothic scene is set for The Pit and the Pendulum, the second of Roger Corman’s celebrated Edgar Allan Poe adaptations once again starring the ever-reliable Vincent Price (The Fall of the House of Usher, Theatre of Blood) alongside the bewitching Barbara Steele (Black Sunday).

Having learned of the sudden death of his sister Elizabeth (Steele), Francis Barnard (John Kerr) sets out to the castle of his brother-in-law, Nicholas Medina (Price), to uncover the cause of her untimely demise. A distraught, grief-stricken Nicholas can offer only the vaguest explanations as to Elizabeth’s death
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Long Before Indie Blockbuster Billy Jack, Laughlin Had Trouble on the Set of Altman's First Feature Film

Tom Laughlin: ‘Billy Jack’ actor-filmmaker who died last week helped to revolutionize film distribution patterns in North America (photo: Tom Laughlin in ‘Billy Jack’) Tom Laughlin, best known for the Billy Jack movies he wrote, directed, and starred in opposite his wife Delores Taylor (since 1954), died of complications from pneumonia last Thursday, December 12, 2013, at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, northwest of Los Angeles County. Tom Laughlin (born on August 10, 1931, in Minneapolis) was 82; in the last dozen years or so, he suffered from a number of ailments, including cancer and a series of strokes. Tom Laughlin movies: ‘The Delinquents’ and fighting with Robert Altman In the mid-’50s, after acting in college plays and in his own stock company while attending university in Wisconsin, Tom Laughlin began landing small roles on television, e.g., Climax!, Navy Log, The Millionaire. At that time, he was also cast
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Oscar Nominee, Emmy Winner, Record-Holding Tony Winner Harris Dead

Julie Harris: Best Actress Oscar nominee, multiple Tony winner dead at 87 (photo: James Dean and Julie Harris in ‘East of Eden’) Film, stage, and television actress Julie Harris, a Best Actress Academy Award nominee for the psychological drama The Member of the Wedding and James Dean’s leading lady in East of Eden, died of congestive heart failure at her home in West Chatham, Massachusetts, on August 24, 2013. Harris, born in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, on December 2, 1925, was 87. Throughout her career, Julie Harris collected ten Tony Award nominations, more than any other performer. She won five times — a record matched only by that of Angela Lansbury. Harris’ Tony Award wins were for I Am a Camera (1952), The Lark (1956), Forty Carats (1969), The Last of Mrs. Lincoln (1973), and The Belle of Amherst (1977). Harris’ tenth and final Tony nomination was for The Gin Game (1997). In 2002, she was honored with a Special Lifetime Achievement Tony Award.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Holden Has Two 'Wild' Movies Tonight

William Holden movies: ‘The Bridge on the River KwaiWilliam Holden is Turner Classic Movies’ "Summer Under the Stars" featured actor today, August 21, 2013. Throughout the day, TCM has been showing several William Holden movies made at Columbia, though his work at Paramount (e.g., I Wanted Wings, Dear Ruth, Streets of Laredo, Dear Wife) remains mostly off-limits. Right now, TCM is presenting David Lean’s 1957 Best Picture Academy Award winner and all-around blockbuster The Bridge on the River Kwai, the Anglo-American production that turned Lean into filmdom’s brainier Cecil B. DeMille. Until then a director of mostly small-scale dramas, Lean (quite literally) widened the scope of his movies with the widescreen-formatted Southeast Asian-set World War II drama, which clocks in at 161 minutes. Even though William Holden was The Bridge on the River Kwai‘s big box-office draw, the film actually belongs to Alec Guinness’ Pow British commander and to
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Actor John Kerr Dead At 81; "Tea And Sympathy" And "The Pit And The Pendulum" Among His Credits

  • CinemaRetro
Actor John Kerr died Saturday. He was 81 years old. Kerr's big screen career was somewhat limited but he did have strong roles in South Pacific and Tea and Sympathy, playing a young man suspected of being a homosexual. (Kerr won a Tony for his performance in the Broadway stage production). Kerr also appeared as the hero in Roger Corman's 1961 adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum. Kerr worked extensively in television while simultaneously pursuing a law degree. He eventually went into semi-retirement from acting in order to concentrate on his law career. For more click here

For writer Tom Weaver's interview with John Kerr, in which he discusses making the Corman production, click here
See full article at CinemaRetro »

'South Pacific' actor John Kerr dies, aged 81

'South Pacific' actor John Kerr dies, aged 81
John Kerr has died, aged 81.

The American actor was best known on screen for his role as Lieutenant Joseph Cable in the 1958 musical film South Pacific.

He was also known for his part in the 1953 Broadway production of Robert Anderson's Tea and Sympathy, which earned him a Tony Award.

His TV roles included Peyton Place from 1965-66, and The Streets of San Francisco throughout the 1970s.

His son Michael confirmed that he died of heart failure on Saturday (February 9) at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena.

Kerr won plaudits for his turn as a struggling school boy who was bullied over his suspected homosexuality in the Broadway run of Tea and Sympathy.

He reprised the role in the 1956 film version opposite Deborah Kerr (no relation), who also starred in the Broadway production.

Kerr later featured in Roger Corman's The Pit and the Pendulum, based on the original stories of Edgar Allan Poe.
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

R.I.P. John Kerr of Tea And Sympathy and South Pacific

Actor John Kerr has died, at the age of 81. Born into a theatrical family—both his parents, Geoffrey Kerr and June Walker, as well as his paternal grandfather, Frederick Kerr, appeared on Broadway and in films—Kerr made his Broadway debut in Bernadine when he was 21. The next year, he had perhaps the greatest success of his career when he co-starred with Deborah Kerr (no relation) in the original Broadway production of Robert Anderson’s Tea And Sympathy, the “troubled young man/older woman” romance that gave the world the much-imitated (and much-parodied) line, “Years from now, when ...
See full article at The AV Club »

"South Pacific" Actor Dies At Age 81

Pasadena, Calif. — John Kerr, the stage and film actor whose credits include the movie "South Pacific," the thriller "The Pit and the Pendulum" and a Tony Award-winning turn in "Tea and Sympathy," has died. He was 81.

Kerr died Saturday of heart failure at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, his son Michael said.

He was perhaps best known for playing a sensitive prep school student who is bullied for being a suspected homosexual in Elia Kazan's 1953 Broadway production of "Tea and Sympathy." He went on to reprise the role in a 1956 film version.

The Harvard-educated Kerr also played a district attorney on TV in "Peyton Place" in the mid-1960s. After leaving show business, he became a lawyer specializing in personal injury law.
See full article at Huffington Post »

R.I.P. John Kerr

TV, film and stage actor John Kerr, remembered for his roles in South Pacific and Tea And Sympathy, has died. His son tells the AP Kerr died Saturday of heart failure in a Pasadena, CA hospital. He was 81. Kerr played the role of Lieutenant Joe Cable in the 1958 movie musical South Pacific, but was perhaps best known for his Tony Award-winning performance as Tom Robinson Lee, a sensitive student suspected of being a homosexual in the 1953 Broadway production of Tea And Sympathy. He later reprised the character for the film version in 1956. His other film credits include The Crowded Sky (1960) and Roger Corman’s The Pit And The Pendulum (1961). Kerr’s first TV acting role was in 1954 on NBC’s Justice and he also played a district attorney in Peyton Place in the mid-1960s. He went on to graduate from UCLA Law School and practiced law full time, accepting
See full article at Deadline TV »
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