The Pit and the Pendulum

Topics: Horror film, Film, Edgar Allan Poe Pages: 14 (5567 words) Published: April 8, 2011
The Pit and the Pendulum (1961 film)
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For other uses, see The Pit and the Pendulum (disambiguation). The Pit and the Pendulum|

Original 1961 theatrical release poster by Reynold Brown|
Directed by| Roger Corman|
Produced by| Roger Corman
James H. Nicholson (Executive Producer)
Samuel Z. Arkoff (Executive Producer)|
Screenplay by| Richard Matheson|
Based on| "The Pit and the Pendulum" by
Edgar Allan Poe|
Starring| Vincent Price
Barbara Steele
John Kerr
Luana Anders|
Music by| Les Baxter|
Cinematography| Floyd Crosby|
Distributed by| American International Pictures|
Release date(s)| August 12, 1961|
Running time| 85 minutes|
Country| United States|
Language| English|
Budget| US$ 300,000|
Gross revenue| US$ $2,000,000|
The Pit and the Pendulum[1] is a 1961 horror film directed by Roger Corman, starring Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, John Kerr, and Luana Anders. The screenplay by Richard Matheson was based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story of the same name. Set in 16th century Spain, the story is about a young Englishman who visits a forbodding castle to investigate his sister's mysterious death. After a series of horrific revelations, apparently ghostly appearances and violent deaths, the young man becomes strapped to the titular torture device by his lunatic brother-in-law during the film's climactic sequence. The film was the second title in the popular series of Poe-based movies released by American International Pictures, the first having been Corman's House of Usher released the previous year. Like House, the film features widescreen cinematography by Floyd Crosby, sets designed by art director Daniel Haller, and a film score composed by Les Baxter. A critical and box office hit, Pit's commercial success convinced AIP and Corman to continue adapting Poe stories for another six films, five of them starring Price. The series ended in 1965 with the release of The Tomb of Ligeia. Film critic Tim Lucas and writer Ernesto Gastaldi have both noted the film's strong influence on numerous subsequent Italian thrillers, from Mario Bava's The Whip and the Body (1963) to Dario Argento's Deep Red (1975).[2][3] Stephen King has described one of Pit's major shock sequences as being among the most important moments in the post-1960 horror film.[4] Contents[hide] * 1 Synopsis * 2 Production * 2.1 Screenplay * 2.2 Filming * 2.3 Art direction * 2.4 Cast * 3 Response * 4 Influence * 5 Padded television version * 6 References * 7 External links | [edit] Synopsis

In Spain, during the 16th century, Francis Barnard (John Kerr) visits the castle of his brother-in-law Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price) to investigate the cause of the mysterious death of his sister, Elizabeth (Barbara Steele). Both Nicholas and his younger sister, Catherine (Luana Anders), offer a vague explanation about Elizabeth having died from a rare blood disorder. However, when Nicholas responds evasively after Francis asks for specific details regarding the disease, Francis advises that he will not leave until he discovers the true reason his sister died. During dinner with family physician Dr. Leon (Antony Carbone), Francis again asks about his sister's death. Dr. Leon tells him that his sister had died of massive heart failure, literally "dying of fright". Francis demands to be shown where Elizabeth died. Nicholas takes him to the castle's torture chamber. Nicholas reveals that Elizabeth, under the influence of the castle's "heavy atmosphere", became obsessed with the chamber's torture devices. After becoming progressively unbalanced, one day she locked herself into an iron maiden, and died after whispering the name "Sebastian". Francis refuses to believe Nicholas's story. Francis tells Catherine that Nicholas appears to feel "definite guilt" regarding Elizabeth's death. In response, Catherine...
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