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Pit and the Pendulum [Blu-ray]

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  • Pit and the Pendulum [Blu-ray]
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Product details

  • Actors: Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, John Kerr
  • Directors: Roger Corman
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Arrow Video
  • DVD Release Date: 19 May 2014
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00IJE1QL6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,203 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

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 Pit and the Pendulum, the second of Roger Corman s celebrated 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, to uncover the cause of her untimely demise. A distraught, grief-stricken Nicholas (Price) can offer only the vaguest explanations as to Elizabeth s death at first citing something in her blood , but later asserting that she quite literally died of fright . What sort of unspeakable horrors are buried within the walls of this castle that could cause one s heart to stop so? With Francis determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, the terrible truth will not stay buried for long.

Right from its brooding kaleidoscopic opening titles, Pit and Pendulum draws you into its world of cobwebs, secret passageways and dusty suits of armour. All the necessary elements are present and correct and, along with one of Vincent Price s most tortured performances, make Pit and the Pendulum every inch the Gothic melodrama.


  • High Definition digital transfer
  • Newly created exclusive content
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned
  • Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film, archive content and more!
  • More to be announced closer to the release date
  • From

    The success of The Fall of the House of Usher in 1960 spurred American International Pictures to quickly launch another production based on an Edgar Allan Poe story. While producer-director Roger Corman had hoped to next adapt "The Masque of the Red Death" (which wasn't produced until 1964), Pit and the Pendulum (the on-screen title) became the second in AIP's long-running Poe series. Set in post-Inquisition Spain, the film stars John Kerr as a young Englishman who travels to the seaside castle of his brother-in-law (Vincent Price) to uncover the circumstances behind the death of his sister (a dubbed Barbara Steele). Price is tormented by memories of his mother's premature burial by his inquisitor father (also Price) and fears that this sadistic legacy has contributed to Steele's demise. Furthermore, he believes that Steele was also buried alive--a belief compounded by the mysterious destruction of her room, and the sound of her harpsichord playing in the night...

    Structured almost identically to Usher, Richard Matheson's script fleshes out the brief original text with a fast-paced and twist-filled plot that never loses sight of the psychological themes of Poe's work. It also provides Price with the richest of his many AIP/Poe roles, a sympathetic, deeply emotional man who is unhinged by the sins of his father. Corman's direction is equally driven and fluid, and features some impressive quasi-psychedelic visuals in the tense climax. Also noteworthy is art director's Daniel Haller's impressive design of the title set piece. --Paul Gaita, --This text refers to the DVD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. E. Ward Davies on 16 Aug. 2006
Format: DVD
like most of roger corman's films based on edgar allan poe, there isn't much taken and used from poe's original stories.

however, that doesn't make a lot of difference as corman's work with vincent price is some of the best i've seen in horror films.

this, their second film together, is a specially written screenplay that only includes a reference to poe at the end with the swinging pendulum. a marvellous and imaginative scene.

the plot is a conspiracy to drive vincent price insane by convincing him that his wife isn't quite so dead after all. over the course of the film, you will witness price give one of his definitive performances. as the supporting cast don't add up to much, it is left to vincent price to carry the film acting wise and he does so effortlessly.

the film certainly has a low budget look to it, but that is partly due to the popularity of these films just like the hammer films.

the film sets used are very good and quite spooky.

this is my second favourite corman-price film after "the raven."
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Redfearn TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Oct. 2004
Format: DVD
This 43 years old classic makes a welcome addition the the DVD catalogue of classic movies. A typical Roger Corman low budget flick which succeeds admirably. The story which has little to do with the original Poe classic which was more surreal than anything, concerns an Englishman Francis Bernard(woodenly played by John Kerr) who is investigating the death of his sister Elizabeth (Barbara Steel). He finds a lot more than he bargains for in the gloomy castle of Dom Nicholas Medina (played by the wonderful Vincent Price who hams it up superbly) the tormented son of Sebastian Medina once leader of the Spanish Inquisition. I dont really want to say too much about this film really because it is worth seeing. The sets are wonderful; particularly the torture chamber. And the final scenes are very good indeed. As for the picture quality, it is quite good showing much detail in the dark scenes. Sound is only adequate though which is understandable bearing in mind the film's age. Worth adding to anyones collection.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 28 Aug. 2004
Format: DVD
After the success of "House of Usher," American International asked director Roger Corman to "adapt" another Edgar Allen Poe work to the screen. "The Pit and the Pendulum" seemed the logical choice, although the story itself is essentially unfilmable. Fortunately, screenwriter Richard Matheson (who did some of his best work for Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone") simply reused the "House of Usher" story line and tacked on "The Pit and the Pendulum" as the climatic scene. As long as Vincent Price was engaged in his celebrated over the top performance as Nicholas Medina, neither horror fans nor American lit majors were going to notice in this 1961 film.
The film is set in 16th century Spain as young Francis Barnard (John Kerr) arrives at the castle of Don Nicholas Medina (Price) to investigate the death of his sister, Elizabeth (Barbara Steele), the Don's wife. But all Francis gets from Nicholas is a lame story about Elizabeth dying from "something in her blood." The young man investigates further and discovers that Nicholas had driven Elizabeth over the edge. It seems that Nicholas's father Sebastian was a leader of the Spanish Inquisition, had killed hundreds of people in the castle's crypts and had caught his wife in adultery with his brother. Young Nicholas watched his father bury his mother alive in a wall (sound familiar Poe fans?) and ended up scarred for life (you think?). Meanwhile, Nicholas is being haunted by ghostly going ons and becomes convinced he has buried his wife alive and she has returned to haunt him.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Crossman on 14 May 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Due to ordering direct from Arrow I have received this several days early.
It's another class package from Arrow who really do treat their releases with love and affection.
The transfer itself is superb. There is some grain, which I am pleased to see, and some very minor scratches to the print. However, this is the best I have ever seen the film and that includes several viewings on television, VHS and DVD.
The extras are a joy to behold. The best of them all is 'An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe'. This is where Vincent Price reads a selection of Poe stories before a live studio audience. I have seen this previously on the MGM Midnite Movies label (Region 1 DVD) where it was paired with Tomb of Ligeia. Suffice to say I am delighted it has been included on this disc. I would have happily paid for this on it's own. We are also treated to two audio commentaries. The first by Roger Corman himself and the second by Video Watchdog editor and owner Tim Lucas. Both are informative and interesting. There is a documentary called 'Behind The Swinging Blade' plus an extra scene which was inserted into the TV version to pad out the running time. The original trailer is also included and all this is rounded off with a delightful booklet.
The film itself is worth buying this blu ray for but the extras really are the star of the show in my opinion.
The only question is; Do you go for the standard release with the double sleeve or the beautiful steel book?
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