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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 »

Director:

Stuart Gordon

Writers:

Edgar Allan Poe (story), Dennis Paoli
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1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lance Henriksen ... Torquemada
Stephen Lee ... Gomez
William Norris William Norris ... Dr. Huesos (as William J. Norris)
Mark Margolis ... Mendoza
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon ... Contessa D'Alba Molina
Barbara Bocci Barbara Bocci ... Contessa's Son
Benito Stefanelli Benito Stefanelli ... Executioner
Jeffrey Combs ... Francisco
Tom Towles ... Don Carlos
Rona De Ricci ... Maria
Jonathan Fuller ... Antonio
Geoffrey Copleston Geoffrey Copleston ... Butcher
Larry Dolgin Larry Dolgin ... Sergeant of the Guards
Tunny Piras Tunny Piras ... Guard
Fabio Carfora 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Italy

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 June 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pit & the Pendulum See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,443, 2 June 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,331
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Savini made frequent visits to the set mainly to visit actor Tom Towels, whom Savini worked with on the 1990 Night of the Living Dead remake. 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

Cardinal: No!
Gomez: No!
Cardinal: No, I tell you, I havea de seal of de Pope!
Gomez: Oh! He hasa de seal of de Pope!
Cardinal: NO! Help me!
Gomez: Help me!
Cardinal: Someone help me!
Gomez: Someone help me!
Cardinal: No! No, I tell you! No, Help me! Help me someone!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Available in both R and unrated versions. See more »

Connections

Version of The Pit and the Pendulum (1913) See more »

Soundtracks

Emendemus in Melius
Composed by Cristobal De Morales
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not as good as the Vincent Price version.
11 April 2017 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

When his wife Maria (Rona De Ricci) is accused of being a witch by Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor (Lance Henriksen), distraught Antonio attempts a daring rescue mission, breaking into the Inquisition's headquarters. Soon enough, he too finds himself a prisoner, and faces Torquemada's latest torture device: The Pendulum.

I have a lot of time for director Stuart Gordon, but I do feel like he fumbled the ball slightly with The Pit and the Pendulum. When dealing with weighty historical subjects such as witch trials, torture and the Spanish Inquisition, I feel like gritty realism is the best approach; comedy should not be allowed to dilute the horror (unless, of course, you're Monty Python). Gordon, however, imbues his adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's short story with a degree of levity that is completely at odds with the horrifying topic at hand. At best, it's mildly distracting; at worst, it's bloody silly (the worst example being when baker Antonio is sat on a metal chair over a fire and makes a quip about 'burning his buns').

It's not all bad news though: the film open with an inspired scene that effectively illustrates the sheer lunacy of the Inquisition, with the posthumous flogging of a crumbling corpse; Henriksen is wonderfully evil throughout, relishing every bonkers moment; Gordon regular Jeffrey Combs has a memorable supporting role as Torquemada's assistant; Ollie Reed knocks back some booze before being walled up alive; and De Ricci is delicious, the lovely lady baring all for her art. There's also one wonderfully OTT scene that is hard not to enjoy, no matter how daft it is: Esmerelda, a real witch, swallows gunpowder on the way to the stake, exploding when she is set alight, her bones impaling those in the crowd.


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