The second of what would eventually become a series of Edgar Allen Poe adaptations by American International Pictures, The Pit and the Pendulum received the steelbook treatment this week and is packed with enough extras to satiate any lover of these camp, mystical movies. Starring Vincent Price in a typically hammy, melodramatic role and made for just $300k, Pit has a wonderfully homegrown feel to it, with AIP’s ever-resourceful creative team making a lot out of a little. Though billed as a horror, the movie is light on shocks yet rich in atmosphere, with an aura of morbidity intensifying as the central mysteries surrounding Elizabeth’s death become more complex. It’s a well delivered and genuinely intriguing Gothic story that gives the movie an effortless drive towards its iconic climax, and is a stylistic influence to numerous horror directors such as Mario Bava and Dario Argento.
The Pit and the Pendulum was directed by Roger Corman, written by Richard Matheson (based on “The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allen Poe) and stars Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, John Kerr and Luana Anders. It lasts for 80 minutes and is distributed in the UK by Arrow. Originally released in 1961.