Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

Approved  |   |  Horror  |  12 August 1961 (USA)
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Reviews: 92 user | 110 critic

Francis Barnard goes to Spain, when he hears his sister Elizabeth has died. Her husband Nicholas Medina, the son of the brutest torturer of the Spanish Inquisition, tells him she has died ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Francis Barnard
Catherine Medina
Antony Carbone ...
Doctor Charles Leon
Patrick Westwood ...
Lynette Bernay ...
Maria (as Lynne Bernay)
Larry Turner ...
Mary Menzies ...
Charles Victor ...


Francis Barnard goes to Spain, when he hears his sister Elizabeth has died. Her husband Nicholas Medina, the son of the brutest torturer of the Spanish Inquisition, tells him she has died of a blood disease, but Francis finds this hard to believe. After some investigating he finds out that it was extreme fear that was fatal to his sister and that she may have been buried alive! Strange things then start to happen in the Medina castle. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She was enslaved by evil in a terror haunted castle. See more »




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Release Date:

12 August 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Edgar Allan Poe's Pit and the Pendulum  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Ryder Sound Services)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Actor John Kerr was worried about being strapped down to the table with the pendulum above him for the movie's climax. In order to demonstrate that it was perfectly safe, director Roger Corman stood in for Kerr while the scene was being set up. See more »


The film is based in the 16th century, however Francis has an American accent. I don't believe the Americans were in England during this time. See more »


Doctor Leon: [after Nicholas has fallen down the stairs and appears to have died] I told you to wait.
Elizabeth: I couldn't.
[she and Dr. Leon kiss]
Elizabeth: What about my brother?
Doctor Leon: He's supposed to leave in the morning , but now... why couldn't you wait one more day?
Elizabeth: I've waited too long already.
Elizabeth: [goes down to where Nicholas is laying] And now, my dear Nicholas, I have you exactly as I want you - helpless.
Doctor Leon: Elizabeth, there is no time for this.
Elizabeth: I've waited an eternity for this moment. There has to be time. Is it not ironical, my ...
See more »


Version of The Pit and the Pendulum (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the Best Roger Corman's Movies
6 February 2014 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

After the mysterious death of Elizabeth Barnard Medina (Barbara Steele), her brother Francis Barnard (John Kerr) travels from London to Spain and without previous notice he arrives at the castle of her husband Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price). He is received by Nicholas' sister Catherine Medina (Luana Anders) that invites Francis to have dinner with her brother and her.

Francis learns that their father Sebastian Medina was a cruel torturer of the Spanish Inquisition and Nicholas is a traumatized man that has witnessed the murder of his uncle Bartolome (Charles Victor) and his adulterer mother Isabella (Mary Menzies) being tortured and killed by his father when he was a kid. During the dinner, the family's friend Doctor Charles Leon (Antony Carbone) unexpectedly arrives and Francis discovers that his sister died of heart attack after visiting the torture chamber in the dungeons. Soon the place is haunted by strange events and Nicholas suspects of his servants Maximillian (Patrick Westwood) and Maria (Lynette Bernay) but Francis is convinced that Nicholas is the responsible for the death of his sister.

"Pit and the Pendulum" is one of the best Roger Corman's movies despite the poor scenario that shakes in many scenes. The last time that I saw this movie was on 16 November 1999 on cable television and today I have just watched it again on DVD. The creepy story of Edgar Allan Poe is still engaging even when the viewer watches more than two times. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "A Mansão do Terror" ("The Manor of Horror")

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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