Review: The Pit and the Pendulum

By Andreas Charalambous - 8th June 2014

Set in 16th Century Spain, Englishman Francis Barnard (John Kerr) visits a castle owned by his brother-in-law Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price) to investigate his sister Elizabeth’s (Barbara Steele) mysterious death. As you might expect, it is not long before strange things begin to occur, involving spectral sightings, violent deaths and horrific revelations that will shock the audience.

 

As Corman’s Poe adaptation series goes – there were eight film adaptations in total, made through American International Pictures (AIP)
from 1959 to 1964 –  this is definitely one of the best ones.

 

Vincent Price gives a truly powerful performance, as you would expect from the man who is synonymous with the AIP Poe releases, and Barbara Steele is also impressive – in her first film since her break-through role in Mario Bava’s Black Sunday.

 

The extras are also very impressive, which we’ve come to expect from any Arrow Video release now. The best of note is An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe  - a 52 minute extra where Vincent Price reads a selection of Poe tales to a live studio audience.

 

Other great extras include two audio commentaries – one of which is by Corman himself. The new documentary Behind the Swinging Blade, is an informative ‘making of’ feature, which is complimented nicely by the film’s extra scenes – inserted into a television version of the film – and the delightful collectible booklet which has become the norm for these great Arrow horror releases.

 

Other extras include the original trailer and other fascinating bits and pieces that will leave any fan of Poe, Corman or Price salivating.

 

Add to all of this, the option of buying either the standard release with the reversible sleeve – with gorgeous original and newly-commissioned artwork – or the wonderfully presented steelbook, and Arrow Video is really spoiling us!

 

The Pit and the Pendulum is available to buy now on UK Blu Ray.

Arrow Video does it again, with another glossy release that includes all the trimmings.

 

Roger Corman’s 1961 Poe adaptation is presented in crisp High Definition, with only a few very minor scratches – amazing considering that the film is over 50 years old.

 

The Pit and the Pendulum is penned by Richard Matheson and is based on Poe’s short story by the same title – and being the second of a series that Corman had adapted for the big screen.