The Pit and the Pendulum
<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5Rate this
Time Out saysA gruesome adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's classic horror story which, while lacking the subtlety of Richard Matheson's script for Roger Corman's 1961 version, lays on the cruelty and horror with relish. During the Spanish Inquisition, the pious fiancée of a baker attends an auto-da-fe and unwittingly incurs the wrath of Henriksen's ruthless Grand Inquisitor. While Maria is interrogated and tortured, her lover sneaks into the castle and tries to rescue her, only to end up on the wrong end of a razor-sharp pendulum. The scene in which inquisitor Henriksen willingly surrenders himself to a whipping by a man he previously crucified as a heretic - meanwhile enjoying erotic visions of the Virgin Mary's face superimposed onto the heroine's voluptuous body - is especially memorable, perversely combining violent spectacle, religious asceticism, masochism and blasphemy. Sadly, Gordon throws away the poorly staged pendulum scene at the end, resulting in a slight anti-climax.