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skeleton painted on ceiling weird mechanism b&w Bosch inspired sculpture normal props
To day that this might just be one of Jan Svankmajer's most horrifying films is no small thing, as MOST of this stop-motion films are mega-creepy and would frighten many viewers! It's based on the Edgar Allen Poe short story, "The Pit and the Pendulum" but Svankmajer manages to make the material even scarier than Poe did thanks to a bizarre imagination. This is not meant as criticism, as his distinctive style really brings the story to life and heightens the sense of foreboding.
The film begins with some poor sap being sentenced to die in the pit. Now this pendulum mechanism inside the pit as well as all the props used in the film are not the usual objects Svankmajer uses. Usually, his films are full of stop-motion involving everyday objects as props. Here, stop motion is rarely employed AND the film must have cost significantly more to make, as it looks like they built this sick underground torture chamber for the film! In addition to the clockwork pendulum, you see the most amazing Svankmajer prop I can recall--a robotic killing device that looks as if it was made by Hieronymous Bosch! You just have to see the film to see what I am talking about. It is super-scary, rather sick and amazing all at the same time. Wow...is this creepy!!
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