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Movie Posters We Love: The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)


From the second of Roger Corman’s Poe Series… a Vincent Price classic!

Before James Wan came around with his nasty tricks and traps with his Saw movies, Roger Corman brought us The Pit and the Pendulum, and a castle full of torture devices. (And an iron maiden as a bonus!)  And, of course, before Corman there was Edgar Allan Poe.  The poster provides us with the promise of that big ol’ blade doesn’t arrive until the end of the third act, as it slowly descends and threatens to slice Frances Barnard (John Kerr) in half.  Vincent Price returns for the second of Corman’s Poe series, the first film was The House of Usher, a surprise hit from the year before. Eventually, Corman would produce and direct eight Poe stories, and Price would be featured in seven of them.

Corman’s production house American International Pictures (AIP) was, with Hammer Productions in England, trying to bring the terror back to horror films. Horror movies in the Eisenhower safe 50’s had turned into kids fare, and the attitude for scary films started to turn around with the edgier 60’s.  This film went on to influence the Italian masters, Mario Bava and Dario Argento, a decade later. Worth seeing just to see if the promise of the big swinging blade pays off.  I won’t spoil it for you…

Pit and the Pendulum

 

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