Most Helpful First | Newest First
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top class from Arrow,
This review is from: Pit and the Pendulum [Blu-ray] (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?
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars isn't related to poe's story but still great.,
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."
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vincent Price hams it up perfectly,
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.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vincent Price goes over the top with his toy in the crypt,
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. When Elizabeth apparently rises from her tomb to confront him, Nicholas's mind snaps and he is driven into a homicidal dementia, which ends up with Francis being confronted with the title's instrument of torture as the film makes its way to the requisite
"The Pit and the Pendulum" improves slightly on the first film in the AIP Poe series. Certainly the visual elements by art director Daniel Haller are a vast improvement, from the eighteen-foot long one-ton pendulum to Medina's castle for which Haller gutted an entire soundstage and dressed all the way up to the roof to great effect. The Freudian implications beloved by Corman have to do with Nicholas's feelings for his mother instead of the brother-sister vibes we get in "House of Usher." Price is gloriously over the top but John Kerr does nothing with his role as Francis and for some reason Barbara Steele's performance is marred by the fact her voice has been redubbed. For me, what makes "The Pit and the Pendulum" memorable is the unforgettable final shot. Irony can be both just and horrible at the same time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just the perfect horror movie,
After the very good (albeit imperfect) "House of Usher", the Corman-Price tandem hit its stride in this remarkable "Pit and the Pendulum", the second (and not far from best) effort in their Poe series. While in my review of "Usher" I had regretted some minor flaws that tempered with the enjoyment of the movie, these flaws have essentially disappeared here. First the acting alongside Vincent Price is, this time, top notch. Barbara Steele, "stealing" every second she has on screen (while her part is not very long), had been an overnight succcess in the US since the release of Bava's The Mask of the Demon. Needless to say she is superb. Actor John Kerr is also extremely solid, and so are Luana Anders and Anthony Carbone. As for Price, his portrayal of Don Nicholas is both tragic and extremely scary: a great performance all-round. Another advantage versus the last film: the music does not invade the plot with ridiculous romantic overtones, and the score is lean, mean and quite spooky at times. Lastly, the set design is simply magnificent and the technicolor makes the movie looks very lush, while it probably did cost peanuts to make. Add to this the perenial sense of pace of Corman, some genuinely distrubing scenes and a razor-sharp script by Richard Matheson, and we have a masterpiece of the 1960s horror movies: well done Corman!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Price, Corman and Matheson, Gothic splendour.,
Upon hearing of his sister Elizabeth's death, Francis Barnard travels to Spain to find out just exactly how she met her end. Arriving at the Medina castle, he finds the Medina family deeply suspicious characters and the castle itself a foreboding place harnessing a deadly past.
The Pit And The Pendulum is the second film in the series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations that director Roger Corman tackled, it's also easily one of the best. Part horror, part dreamy thriller, and of course little dashes of humour, it all comes together so really very well. We open with a beach approach to the Medina castle, a big monolithic structure hulking on a cliff edge, we know from this moment on that unease is about to become our middle name. Once inside the castle it's evident that it is a major player in our story, roaring fireplaces and secret chambers all excellently framed by Corman and his team. A story of madness, deceit and sadistic ancestry then plays out to the full to make The Pit And The Pendulum one of the genres leading lights.
Enlisting the brilliant Richard Matheson to flesh out, and extend the Poe short story, the final result is close to being a Gothic masterpiece. Corman again uses Vincent Price as his leading man and he's rewarded with a quite delicious performance from the big man, camp and burgeoning madness going hand in hand like they were always meant to be a team. The rest of the cast are naturally trailing in the shadow of Price's greatness, but a noteworthy mention must go to the good work from Barbara Steele as Elizabeth. Floyd Crosby is again on board for cinematography duties, beautifully realising the lush colour and the doom laden feel of the Medina castle. Corman himself puts in some of his best work here, brilliant use of the camera really adds to the creeping unease that flows within the piece, a stunning POV victim sequence of the pendulum of the title is just one of the many technical highlights on show.
A truly smashing and creepy film. 8/10
5.0 out of 5 stars Great service,
This review is from: Pit and the Pendulum Steelbook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I was delighted to receive this item before its due date. And the price was very fairly reduced. I'd been looking forward to seeing this classic in blu-ray form and it by no means disappointed. A marvellous buy.
4.0 out of 5 stars An Impressive Poe Adaptation and a Glourious Climax,
Another Poe story, Corman directing again and right at the front of it all there he is, Mr Vincent Price.
The setting is gothic Spain, the costumes, tone and atmosphere are all set up for this devilish film which contains a super twist, spoiled by the blurb on the DVD box and plots all over the internet.
Really if you were able to go into this fresh this would be a jaw dropping film, instead everywhere you look the first 60 mins of the film are explained in reviews/ DVD blurb and elsewhere. So if you can stay away until you see the film.
Onto the film- Price is as always brilliant, probably too good as he overshines the other characters in the film that come across a little paper thin in my opinon. And apart from the odd hammy editing Roger Corman has directed very well. You can see that Price and Corman are fans of Poe's work and put everything into making this a well thought out story.
The final quarter of an hour is just excellent, the tension and menace are trapped on film for all to see.
Finally I believe the Stuart Gordon effort is a good compendium to this film as it serves as some kind of a prequel.
It's worth checking the Gordon effort out- sure it is more violent and gory, but it's a good film.
5.0 out of 5 stars Price at his best!,
Roger Corman films of this era always seem to follow a similar path. However the pit and the pendulum had such an intriguing story that i think others (like the fall of the house of usher) didn't quite have. People always use the phrase 'Price hams it up' when describing Vincent Price's various portrayals of troubled men. However I always felt this did a disservice to Price's acting as he always drew the viewer in to his creepy, trouble persona without feeling he was, so called, 'ham acting'. The pit and the pendulum offers a tale of betrayal and has a neat twist at the end. It reminds me of house on haunted hill as it's got a great story to go with all the spooks and creepiness. I also like that Barbara Steele is in it as I really loved her performance in Black Sabbath and it's no less effective here (even if, sadly, she has been dubbed again). It's a great one for Halloween.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great old movie.,
Loved everything about this movie. The hammy acting, everything! i first seen this film years ago when I was about 12 and it scared me then. Funny how over time things change"
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Pit and the Pendulum Steelbook [Blu-ray] by Roger Corman (Blu-ray - 2014)