- Rated: Not Rated
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 1 hours, 20 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: June 5, 2001
- Originally Released: 1961
- Label: MGM (Video & DVD)
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 2.35
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 2.35
- Dolby Digital Mono - English
- Dolby Digital Mono - French
- Dolby Digital Mono - Spanish
- Additional Release Material:
- Introduction: Original Theatrical Prologue
- Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer
- Audio Commentary: Roger Corman - Director
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Memorable Quotes and Dialog:
"I shall not dwell upon the history of this blasphemous chamber. Suffice it that the blood of a thousand men and women was spilled within these walls--limbs twisted and broken, eyes gouged from bloody sockets, flesh burned black."
- Nicholas (Vincent Price) to Francis (John Kerr)
"Thus the condition of man: bound on an island from which he can never escape, surrounded by the waiting pit of Hell."
- Nicholas to Francis
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2004
"Full of shimmering flashbacks and discordant music, it has an eerie quality..."
A.V. Club - 10/30/2013
"Price's imperial authority and poise are right at home within Corman's gothic cinemascope settings..."
In 16th-century Spain, Francis Bonnard (John Kerr) visits the gloomy castle of his late sister's husband, Nicholas (Vincent Price), in order to discern the reason for her death. It seems Nicholas is terrified that wife Elizabeth (Barbara Steele) is not really dead and that her spirit wanders the halls at night. It turns out Nicholas's father was a feared leader of the Spanish Inquisition, and as a child he saw him torture his mother and then bury her alive. He's now convinced Elizabeth has suffered a similar fate, even though his doctor (Antony Carbone) disagrees. Meanwhile, his father's torture chamber is still down in the basement, just waiting to get back into service.
There are twisted twists and gristly surprises aplenty in this, the second in a series of color Edgar Allan Poe adaptations made by Roger Corman in the 1960s. Benefits include a mournfully eerie, atonal score by Les Baxter, the presence of European horror star Steele, and Price at his most floridly hammy. Nice costumes, atmospheric cinematography, and good dialogue from screenwriter Richard Matheson make this one of the best of the series, as well as one of the most disturbing. Luana Anders costars as Nicholas's concerned sister.
Ghastly secrets are divulged when a young man searches for the truth about his sister's death. Evil schemes and torture are included in this famous Edgar Allan Poe chiller from Roger Corman.
- British actress Barbara Steele made her American film debut with PIT AND THE PENDULUM.
- Made in 15 days on a budget of $200,000, PIT AND THE PENDULUM went on to gross almost $2 million.
- Corman optically speeded up the descent of the pendulum by cutting out frames in the film.