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Pit and the Pendulum Details


American-International's standing "haunted castle" set is exhibited to peak advantage in Roger Corman's Pit & the Pendulum. Save for the climax, Richard Matheson's script bears but little resemblance to the Edgar Allen Poe original, though there are pronounced echoes throughout of Poe's The Premature Burial. Vincent Price stars as Nicholas Medina, the son of a notorious Spanish Inquisition torturer. Nicholas' wife Elizabeth (Barbara Steele) has died under mysterious circumstances, prompting Elizabeth's brother Francis (John Kerr) to arrive at the Medina castle to investigate. The tormented Medina believes that Elizabeth was buried alive, and is convinced that he can hear his wife's voice calling out to him. In truth, Elizabeth has faked her death, part of a plan concocted with her lover Dr. Leon (Anthony Carbone) to drive Medina mad. She succeeds in this goal (albeit to her own grief, as the film's very last shot reveals), pushing Medina over the brink. Convinced that he's his own father, Medina dons Inquisition robes, straps Francis to a table, and arranges for a huge steel-bladed pendulum to slowly, slooooowwly descend on his helpless victim. You'd never know that Anthony Carbone was shot on the budget and schedule of a B western; the film is consistently good to look at, with eerily evocative color camerawork (Floyd Crosby) and sumptuous art direction. Stock footage of the climactic torture sequence would later find its way into the 1966 spy spoof Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, which also starred Vincent Price. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Vincent Price
as Nicholas Medina
John Kerr
as Francis Barnard
Barbara Steele
as Elisabeth Barnard Medina
Luana Anders
as Catherine Medina
Anthony Carbone
as Dr. Charles Leon
Patrick Westwood
as Maximillian the Butler
Lynn Bernay
as Maria
Larry Turner
as Nicholas as a Child
Mary Menzies
as Isabella
Charles Victor
as Bartolome


Roger Corman
Roger Corman
Richard Matheson
Floyd D.Crosby
Les Baxter
Composer (Music Score)
Anthony Carras
Daniel Haller
Production Designer
Samuel Z. Arkoff
Executive Producer
James H. Nicholson
Executive Producer
Harry Reif
Set Designer
Pat Dinga
Special Effects
Kay Rose
Sound Editor