42 user 47 critic

The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)

R | | Horror, Romance | April 1991 (USA)
Horror film set in 1492 Toledo, Spain, depicting the cruel deeds of a monk named Torquemada, Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition.


Stuart Gordon


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




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 ... 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


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


A bizarre descent into hell from the creator of Re-Animator.


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 »

Did You Know?


Shot in three and a half weeks, from 17 September 1990 - 12 October 1990. See more »


Being carted away for burial. Maria is obviously breathing, which should have been noticed by the people around the cart. See more »


Mendoza: What exactly are we looking for, surgeon.
Dr. Heusos: Oh, hidden charms, poisons, a third nipple where Satan may suck. Any blemish may be a witch's mark. It could be as small as a pinprick.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Available in both R and unrated versions. See more »


Featured in Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever (2012) See more »


Emendemus in Melius
Composed by Cristobal De Morales
See more »

User Reviews

Very good smut....
13 October 2002 | by LapinBlanchSee all my reviews

Before viewing this film one should note that the director, Mr. Gordon, believes in taking his films far beyond the lines of common decency.This film is fantastic, but a little much...then again, Gordon's motto is "More is More," The Brilliant (and very hot,) Lance Henderson is amazing as Torquemada, the sado-masochistic inquisitor... I suggest that you watch his hands, every gesture is perfectly placed. Lance is a truly great Method actor, and he has every aspect of that evil man down... He alone would have made this one of my favorite films , but every performance was near-perfect. (the only bad acting I can recall was committed by a guard who has one line in the first seven minutes of the film) and the script is great.. The Young actress who portrays Maria is so truly beautiful, and her performance is captivating. (She's also naked for much of the film, so that's good for the dudes) She's hot, she acts, it's good. Her Name is Rona De Ricci and she hasn't done anything else, which is sad... The first time I watched this film I was convinced that this was a film to be watched alone, as it takes you far beyond the boundaries of comfort, and I just thought it would be weird to watch with anyone else (Parents would be the worst possible people to watch this one with...) But some of my friends spent the night before last with me for a HORROR-FEST and the film went over really well... It pretty much covers every aspect of the horror genre, blood for the gore hounds, ultra dark humor, the list goes on, but I think You get the idea. In conclusion, This is a great film, thought it isn't Citizen Cain, and it's not one for the weak, the wounded.

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USA | Italy



Release Date:

April 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pit & the Pendulum See more »


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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