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The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)

Horror film set in 1492 Toledo, Spain, depicting the cruel deeds of a monk named Torquemada, Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition.

Director:

Stuart Gordon

Writers:

Edgar Allan Poe (story), Dennis Paoli
Reviews
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lance Henriksen ... Torquemada
Stephen Lee ... Gomez
William Norris William Norris ... Dr. Huesos (as William J. Norris)
Mark Margolis ... Mendoza
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon ... Contessa D'Alba Molina
Barbara Bocci Barbara Bocci ... Contessa's Son
Benito Stefanelli Benito Stefanelli ... Executioner
Jeffrey Combs ... Francisco
Tom Towles ... Don Carlos
Rona De Ricci ... Maria
Jonathan Fuller ... Antonio
Geoffrey Copleston Geoffrey Copleston ... Butcher
Larry Dolgin Larry Dolgin ... Sergeant of the Guards
Tunny Piras Tunny Piras ... Guard
Fabio Carfora Fabio Carfora ... Beggar
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Storyline

It is the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Maria does not like what is going on during the "Auto De Fe". When she speaks out, she is arrested and accused of being a witch. Torquemada has plans for her! He orders her tortured, and her tongue to be cut out. Her husband attempts to free her... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A bizarre descent into hell from the creator of Re-Animator.

Genres:

Horror | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for scenes of torture and sex-related nudity, and for language. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Italy

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 June 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pit & the Pendulum See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Savini made frequent visits to the set mainly to visit actor Tom Towels, whom Savini worked with on the 1990 Night of the Living Dead remake. See more »

Goofs

The Pope of the Catholic Church during the majority of the Spanish Inquisition was Pope Innocent VIII, who had originally appointed Torquemada as the Grand Inquisitor of Spain in 1487. Unlike the film, which portrays the Pope as disapproving of Torquemada's actions, Innocent VIII fully supported the endeavor. See more »

Quotes

Cardinal: [being walled up alive] No! What-a you doing! No, you don't do this!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Available in both R and unrated versions. See more »

Connections

Featured in Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Emendemus in Melius
Composed by Cristobal De Morales
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A very good horror film.
5 July 2013 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

"The Pit and the Pendulum" marks a high point for Charles Bands' Full Moon Studios; it's an intense, elaborate, bloody, and sexy film that truly lives up to the word "horror". It's not perfect, but even taking any flaws into account, it represents an impressive effort from director Stuart Gordon and a talented cast and crew.

Taking a break from adapting the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Gordon and screenwriter Dennis Paoli instead use the short story by Edgar Allan Poe as a jumping off point for a tale set during the Spanish inquisition of the 15th century. In the city of Toledo, bakers' wife Maria (the stunning Rona De Ricci) interferes when a little boy is being flogged in public. Due to this action, it is assumed by the clergy that she must be a witch and she and her husband Antonio (Jonathan Fuller) are arrested and intended to stand trial. Taking a deep interest in her is Grand Inquisitor Torquemada (Lance Henriksen, in a commanding performance), who explains his lust away by saying that she has "bewitched" him.

The production values are first rate here: filmed on location in Italy, the film looks just right, from the sets to the costumes to the props. Under-rated composer Richard Band contributes one of his best ever scores. This is all wonderfully (and appropriately) lurid and gory; Greg Cannoms' effects are most enjoyable, and the exquisite Ms. De Ricci goes full frontal for some scenes. The atmosphere is palpable; Gordon and company perfectly create a feeling of oppression and despair. Only some unnecessary levity and comedic performances tend to take one out of the film; it just feels too unnatural.

The cast is certainly full of eclectic choices, especially the always fantastic Henriksen, who disappears inside his deranged character. De Ricci and Fuller are both impassioned, Frances Bay has a great role as a cheerful old witch, Jeffrey Combs is amusing, and Mark Margolis and Tom Towles offer fine support. There's also a small role for Geoffrey Copleston, and a great cameo by Oliver Reed.

Outside of his Lovecraft-based efforts such as "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond", this has to rank as one of the best things that Gordon has done. Even if this viewer didn't care for some elements, the rest of the film is just so good that this can be forgiven. Overall, it's well worth a viewing.

Eight out of 10.


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