Every weekend we're watching movies together...whether you're in Pennsylvania USA, or Sydney Australia. It's a throwback! Back to the days when you had the anticipation for waiting till the weekend to see the classic horror or science fiction film that was listed in the TV Guide. The plan is to watch a movie at 7:30PM on Saturday night in your own time zone. Or, if you can't Saturday night...anytime during the weekend. Then, we'll all get together and e-mail our thoughts on the film...a few paragraphs...or simply a sentence if you'd like. They after-viewing reviews appear on our Creepy Classics/Monster Bash News Page. See the latest thoughts posted by viewers ther now.

Concept submitted by Mike Adams of Carteret, New Jeresey.

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Creepy Classics Spotlight Movie Last Weekend - THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961)

Every week, readers here are selecting a movie to view...then we all try to watch it together utilizing our DVD/video library. This past Saturday night, many of us watched THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961). This was suggested by by John Pace, Miami, FL. Details about movie nights to come are HERE. Please include your name and location after your comments, so we can see how we're all joining together from diffeent locals around the globe! Let's all Synch-Up Saturday nights at 7:30PM, or catch it sometime over the weekend!

This was the period where Roger Corman really cranked it up a notch. While his 1950s films were (and are so much fun), he really took his movies to another level with the look and feel on the Poe films. This was the second of his Poe flicks (HOUSE OF USHER was the first). This is one of my favorites of the Corman-Poe movies. You get to see Price in full meltdown mode, the lovely (and evil) Barbara Steele and the way out, trippy dream/memory sequences. I was watching this with my buddy Bob Pellegrino and my daughter Paisley when it occurred to me that this was the first movie I taped off of TV on a VCR way back in the early 1980s. One of those yellow/amber Kodak VHS blank tapes. It was actually quite exciting to be able to actually save something from TV. Previously, you could only hope for a cut-down 8mm film.

At any rate, this is a chilling slice of Poe meets the 1960s with Corman at his best....and Price too. Really great.

-Ron Adams, Ligonier, PA

Great Roger Corman film starring Vincent Price as a man slowly driven insane by his wife, played by the lovely Barbara Steele.
Price handles the role with excellence and I cannot say enough how I love this film.
Corman knew how to shoot the ending for maximum effectiveness and it works beautifully. Another great classic horror.
Kevin Coon, Twins Falls, ID

I probably should have made sure I had some root beer and pretzels on hand
because that was my snack of choice in the good old days staying up late
to watch films like this on the late show.

Watching it now I realize that the film is mostly a mystery, a
"who-dunnit?" or "what is it" story line. The horror is mostly in the
dreading what might be waiting for you, at least until the climax which
throws all kinds of nasties your way. Vincent Price goes into full blown
psycho mode at the end, and what a delight to watch, he's so incredibly
un-hinged and deranged.

Barbara Steele is deliciously evil as he taunts
the supposedly dead Nicholas. The colors and the strange paintings on the
wall make this one way out film visually. But It's really Vincent Price's
show all the way. From his weary, worried character at the beginning to
the twisted torturer at the end, it's a completely over the top and
wonderful performance. The ending may seem a little hokey but I remember
loving that kind of thing when I first saw it. As if the whole experience
was torture enough, we're going to throw one more thing out to let you
know she's really going to be sorry for what she's done!

This has to be my favorite of the Poe-Price films, I'm always glad to
watch it again.
-Kevin Slick, Colorado

"You are about to enter...Hell." I cant get enough of Corman's Poe epics!
Atmosphere in these films parallel the feeling of the old Universals. The
lighting...the sets, a great Les Baxter score come together in this great
late night, lights out popcorn flick!

To me, Price did Poe like Olivier did
Shakespeare, and here, he's deliciously maniacal! Barbara Steele is, as
always, a delight. And you cant have a Corman Poe film without a color
tinted, tilted camera, slow motion flashback sequence! I cant help to feel
that John Kerr was slightly mis-cast in this one. While he seems a little
'dry,' the performance does not take away from the film.

I also think of the
cover of Famous Monsters # 14 whenever this film is mentioned. Love it!!

-John P., Miami, FL

Hey Synchers!
Just 13 days left till the Bash! I am doing my synching earlier this week as Saturday I am off to Hollywood to see a Ray Harryhausen exhibit in the Academy of MPAS.
It has been a while since I have seen Pit and The Pendulum, so I am excited to see it once again. Price and Corman, always a great combination.
Strange psychedelic images, weird music, groovy!
Cool matte shot of the castle.
Another fantastic matte shot on the main title.
The all too American accents seem out of place with these costumes and names.
Mr. Kerr is a bit wooden, I must say.
Vincent! Great entrance!
Mr. Kerr´s hesitant line reading is awful! How did he get this job?
The sets are nice.
The atmosphere is heavy in here.
Interesting transition from picture to fire to dining room.
¨Absorbing the miasma (?) of barbarity which permeates these walls.¨
I´ll have to look that word up!
The beautiful Barbara Steele.
Barbara Steele exhumed - not so pretty!
Noone does crazy like Vincent. Hammy but fun!
Finally, the star of the show...the Pendulum,
Great atmosphere, sets, matte shots, music, OK script, but done in by some cheesy acting.
The Devil Bat is next, see you then!
-Ken Blose, Mexico

Hey John (Great Vincent Price Pick Flick, Sir!), my good friend(s) Ron Adams and Bob Pelligrino, Paisley, and all other Poe Synchmasters out there in horror literature/film heaven, I watched "The Pit And The Pendulum" (1961) directed by the great "King Of The B`s" himself, the one and only supreme director himself, Roger Corman, not ONCE but TWICE this last SUNDAY afternoon ! (The second time with the audio commentary with Roger himself running on it!) and there is no doubt that this is one of the BEST of the Roger Corman/Edgar Allan Poe/Vincent Price collaborations of the 1960`s made under the A.I.P. banner! (film critics often state that the "Tomb Of Ligea" {1964} is the best in the series) But in my honest opinion many of them are SOLIDLY enjoyable in an equal manner.The financial success of "The Fall Of The House Of Usher" (1960) the year before enabled Roger Corman to spin off a whole series of films which deal with the issues of betrayal, revenge, madness, premature burial and murder.

In this film, the story revolves around a young man (played by an acceptable John Kerr) who travels to a Spanish castle from his home in London to learn about the mysterious and macabre death of his sister (played by the wonderful Barbara Steele in her first American film!- Although SHE was DUBBED here!) In the process, he meets up with his brother-in-law, Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price) who is suffering in complete emotional agony over the (supposed!) death of his wife and Catherine Medina (Nicholas`s sister) played wonderfully by the under-rated Luana Anders (who also starred in the horror films "Dementia 13" {1963} directed by Francis Ford Coppola (his debut feature) and "Night Tide" {1961} with the late, great Dennis Hopper. Luana Anders, in my opinion, gives the most UNDERRATED performance in this film and interestingly, after retiring from acting, would become an successful scriptwriter! (ROGER TALKS ABOUT THIS IN HIS COMMENTARY TRACK!) Roger Corman stock player Antony Carbone rounds out our supporting cast of interest (he plays the "good" Dr.Charles Leon -who proves to be partially behind the whole dastardly series of events--along with Nicholas`s "supposedly" dead wife {WHOSE SLOW RISING FROM THE GRAVE TO TERRORIZE AND DRIVE NICHOLAS MAD IS A DEFINITE HIGHLIGHT OF THIS FILM!!!) Of course, they come to regret their actions, for Nicholas is not only not dead from his fall and from their terrorizing him, but they manage to drive him MAD and he proceeds to kill the good doctor (he falls into the pit) imprison his harlot wife, and then proceeds to chain up Francis Barnard (John Kerr) before trying to cut him to ribbons with the ultimate device of torture- THE PENDULUM!!

Of course, our heroes save the day (Catherine and a servant), Nicholas is killed and Francis is saved from a most ghastly fate!! ---Problem is- What happened to the good ol` cheating wifey??? There she is- trapped in the torture chest!!! - I LOVE THE ENDING OF THIS MOVIE, FOLKS! (THE CHEATING WIFE GETS HER JUST DESERTS) and the last line is quite chilling!!! (with the camera panning down to show Steele`s agonized eyes- knowing she is REALLY IN TROUBLE AT THIS POINT!) --"NO ONE MUST EVER ENTER THIS ROOM AGAIN" Other Great aspects of this production include the great creepy, evocative music score by Les Baxter, the great production/art direction by Daniel Haller (LOVE THOSE MONK CEILING PAINTINGS SHOWN DURING THE BRUTAL CLIMAX!) and the super matte shots of the castle (during the beginning) and of the torture chamber (near the film`s end) As far as Roger Corman`s direction is concerned- What more can be said ?- He really does a nice job here with various close-ups and zoom shots -and seems to let his actors carry the film (ESPECIALLY VINCENT PRICE!) - From an acting standpoint, there is no question that , in my opinion, this is one of Vincent`s "SHINING HOURS" and he is fantastic in his role here- a man tortured by his evil, unfaithful wife and corrupt doctor who ultimately succumbs to madness and then becomes the spitting image of his late, sadistic father (the very thing he was trying NOT TO BE!!)---Themes very prevelant in all of Poe`s dark literature.

My rating for this wonderful film: 4/5 stars. So Until Next Time, Fellow Poe Addicts, "Sleep NeverMore" and remember, There are only 11 days `Til "Monster Bash Weekend" ----See You Soon Everybody! - Dan Brenneis- Monster Bash Staff Member And Lifetime FilmFan Extroadinairre.


Here are my thoughts and observations on The Pit And The Pendulum.
1. The great matte painting of the castle by matte artist Albert Whitlock. It's so great, in fact, that it's used over and over again in the film. If I'm not
mistaken, the matte shot of the castle was used in a lot of Corman films.
2. There is a strange noise behind a door. The hero, played by John Kerr, reaches to open it. It suddenly flings open and there is a great close-up of
Vincent Price's anguished face. There is no doubt as to the ability of Vincent Price as an actor. He knew when a role called to be over-played and
when it called to be subtle. With this role, he maintains a fine balancing act.
3. The inside of the castle seemed very familiar to me. As good as the Poe/Corman films were, there lies over the films a grand sense of deja vu. The
furniture may be different, but the rooms remain the same.
4. To me, the most memorable sequences in the film are the flashbacks. The first one deals with Vincent Price's wife played by Barbara Steele. In
the film she looks like Luna from the film Mark Of The Vampire. Vincent Price talks about his wife's slow descent into madness caused by the
"miasma of barbarity" that permeated the castle. The sequence was filmed in a bluish tint. The other sequence showed his father's cruelty when
he killed his wife and his brother. The sequence was filmed as if shot on a fun-house mirror. The colors of the sequence were of different shades of
5. I love Vincent Price's reaction when he is given "proof" that his wife was buried alive. You can tell just by looking at his face, when the doctor was
trying to calm him down, that his mind was gone.
6. Justifiably, the last shot of the film is scary. My only question is couldn't she scream.
With the Poe films, Roger Corman and Val Lewton could be used in the same sentence. Both their sets of films proved that intelligent horror films wasn't a contradiction in terms.
Kirk Smith
Manito, Illinois

You can get the MGM DVD of THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961) in the Complete DVD Catalog in-line at Creepy Classics.


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