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The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)

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 ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Gomez
William J. Norris ...
Dr. Huesos
...
Mendoza
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon ...
Contessa D'Alba Molina
Barbara Bocci ...
Contessa's Son
Benito Stefanelli ...
Executioner
...
Francisco
...
Don Carlos
Rona De Ricci ...
Maria
...
Antonio
Geoffrey Copleston ...
Butcher
Larry Dolgin ...
Sergeant of the Guards
Tunny Piras ...
Guard
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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

27 June 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Inquisitor  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming was originally to have taken place in England, and Romania was also considered for a shooting location, before it was re-located to Italy. 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

Francisco: I'm sorry, mistress, that you weren't properly able to confess. There just wasn't enough time to torture you.
Esmeralda: Thanks anyway.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Emendemus in Melius
Composed by Cristobal De Morales
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User Reviews

 
Stuart Gordon's Lesser Classic
5 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Roman Catholic Church has begun to turn away from the Inquisition, finding its methods and motives more than just a little bit suspect. But the Grand Inquisitor of Spain (Lance Henriksen) has other plans... he is his own authority, allegedly guided by God Himself. A baker and his wife end up on the wrong side of the law -- his law -- when they protest an execution and she is accused of witchcraft.

Lance Henriksen has a bad habit of appearing in many low budget horror films, so much so that any credibility he gained as Bishop from "Aliens" or Frank Black from "Millenium" is overshadowed by his constant self-degradation. Did we really need so many Pumpkinhead films? But "Pit and the Pendulum" is one of those rare films that is both lower budget and yet still good, today maybe even carrying on well as a timeless classic.

Unlike other Full Moon films, this one has a steady plot and interesting characters -- and a decent cast. Mark Margolis shows up and Jeffrey Combs has a relatively small, but crucial, role to play. (Combs, like Henriksen, has sold out in recent years.... but his very presence makes a film better.) There is excessive -- but not gratuitous -- nudity, bloody torture devices (but not to the point of exploitation like "Saw", just for entertainment). This is a fun film in the vein of, say, the original "Troll" (but not "Troll 2").

Stuart Gordon is best known for "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond", but if there is a third third of his that deserves recognition, this is it. Gordon (and writer Dennis Paoli) found a way to work within the budget of Full Moon and still make things worth watching rather than poor excuses for "movies".

Now out on Blu-ray, the film looks better than ever (as much as it can). There is no audio commentary for some inexplicable reason, but there is a very short making-of featurette. Somehow Tom Towles got his name spelled wrong on the credits (a true disgrace). Blu-ray.com notes that the "transfer isn't masterful, but it's certainly more than capable" and gives the disc 3 of 5 stars. But if the price is right this film is worth getting.


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