"The Pit And The Pendulum (1991/Blu-ray/Full Moon Features)" Review

Review: Typically when I hear the title "The Pit And The Pendulum" I think of the classic Vincent Price film from 1961
which is a great watch. The second thing I think of is this very film from 1991 that was directed by Stuart Gordon (one of my favorite directors) who was still on a roll during this time and making some of his best films. This adaptation of the classic Poe tale is much more brutal and dark than the 1961 film. Now I will not be comparing these films in this review because I see each one as being it's own unique viewing experience and enjoyable on different levels. Let the autopsy begin!

The Pit and the Pendulum follows a baker and his wife as they are swept up by a crowd that is on their way to go watch a witch being killed. When trying to leave they are stopped and forced to watch the unjust killing. After Maria has had enough she tries to stop the killing which causes her and her husband Antonio to be brought into the clutches of the sadistic Torquemada. They must fight for their lives and hope to come out in one piece. That is basically the plot of the film which is excellent. The film starts off at a decent pace to let you get to know each of the characters and then goes into brutal spiral down into hell. Aside from showing the couples struggle it also shows the dark side of Torquemada which is filled with sadomasochism.
This film really shows how when someone takes their beliefs to an extreme it can cause nothing but bad things to happen to innocent people. I can truly say that as the film got further and further along that I was just waiting and hoping that Torquemada and his very depraved associates would get what they truly deserve. Needless to say the ending was very satisfying and was a great way to end such a fantastic film. The look of the film was perfect and having such a dark and ominous feel really added to the film so much. Everything looked very much of the time is was supposed to and the costumes were authentic as well. The production value of this film was quite high even if it was made on a smaller budget. This of course was done during the time when Full Moon was making lots of money from the home video market so they had more to spend on their films.
Aside from the look of the film the other thing that really made it for me was the incredible cast that was used. There is so much great talent from the likes of Lance Henriksen (Pumpkinhead), Jeffrey Combs (Castle Freak), Tom Towles (Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer), Mark Margolis (Ace Ventura), Frances Bay (Happy Gilmore) and Carolyn Purdy-Gordon (Re-Animator) to name a few. Each one contributed quite greatly to the film. I especially liked what Lance Henriksen did as Torquemada, he brought the character truly to life and even though I hated what that character was doing I still found myself blown away by him. The acting was very good and way better than most film they release today. I think fans of the horror genre and even others who love film would be quite surprised about how good this film is if they give it a chance. It's got drama, suspsense, horror, gore, T&A, and damn good story telling like most of Stuart Gordon's films do. Overall this is a damn good film!
The presentation that you get on this blu-ray release is quite good. The picture is clear with the occasional debris which I didn't see as distracting at all. The blacks are deep and dark and the colors are good as well even through there is not much color outside of earth tones for much of the film. The sound quality is good as well even though it seems to be from what I have gathered to be normal and not in HD. To me this does not affect the watch-ability of this release even though some audiophiles will complain about it. Along the side of the great presentation you get a total of four special features that include: "Behind the Pit and the Pendulum: The Inquisition of Stuart Gordon", Original Pit and the Pendulum VideoZone, Rare Blooper Reel, and Full Moon Trailers. The special features are about what I expected and are awesome to watch! In the end I think it's worth the upgrade!

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: Stuart Gordon
Genre: Horror
Blu-ray Release Year: 2013
Home Video Release Year:1991

Time Length: 97 mins.
Company: Full Moon Features
Website: www.fullmoondirect.com