Movie Review: The Pit and the Pendulum

Back to the order I had originally laid out, here we go, let’s get right to this one: The Pit and the Pendulum. I watched the version marked “REMASTERED” because it was free with my Full Moon subscription.

In the quest to save souls, the Spanish Inquisition will stop at nothing and knows no boundaries for its evil. Maria must find the power to save her husband from the ultimate machine of torture: the razor-sharp pendulum poised over the pit of hell under the direction of Torquemada the Grand Inquisitor of Spain!

Yes, basically, the bad guys in this movie are over-zealous Catholics. As someone who used to go to a Baptist Church this would be nightmare fuel if I hadn’t gotten away from that askew view they have of the Catholic Church.

This isn’t a bad movie, but it isn’t a particularly good movie, either. Most of the film surrounds the main bad guy being a psychotic jerk, and when he isn’t, his henchmen are being regular jerks. There’s just not a whole lot of joy in that sort of movie to me: too heavy on the torture. It’s just too depressing. Especially given the actual fact of the way men like Torquemada behaved. So that was a big downer through the movie.

Other than my problems with the torture, which shouldn’t count against the movie just because that isn’t my thing, the movie does what it sets out to do. It’s a solid movie — not a typical B-movie, really — it just isn’t my thing. Unlike film critics, I’m not going to hold “not my thing” against a movie.

Through the movie there’s a deep sense of foreboding that develops mostly because of how outright nutty and evil Torquemada is. At no point does he seems like a decent person, which perhaps takes away from his character development. He goes from being a psychotic freak to a lecherous freak, and then finally ends the movie as a vengeful freak. Clearly, they didn’t like Torquemada when they wrote this script, and it shows. Not that there’s anything wrong with disliking that guy.

As mentioned, at times the torture seems to be too much. What nudity there is in the movie is also nearly completely gratuitous — although it mostly feels that way because of the odd flashbacks that re-use the scene. I don’t have a problem with movie nudity but I do keep track of it for these reviews because some folks might.

The acting shines, though — Mark Margolis is in the movie, and he’s great from start to end. Lance Henrikson isn’t bad by any means, but he’s stifled by his character being one-dimensional.

Over all, if it is your type of movie, this is a solid “B-Movie”. It’s not my cup of tea, though.

Still, it’s better than Seedpeople. That said, I might watch Seedpeople over this because nobody gets tortured in Seedpeople other than the audience.

Running Time: One hour, thirty-six minutes..
Acting: Better than I expected.
Effects: Pretty good for the time period.
Violence: Oh yes. Mostly in a torture sort of way.
Gun Use:: None, so I can’t judge them.
Gore: Kind of. It wasn’t really gore-filled but the torture made me feel about as bad as gore does.
Creepy? No, not really.
Monster Type? Catholics.
Funny? A little at the start.
Nudity: Yes. Gratuitous.
Pacing: It was a never ending build, the pacing was one of the best parts.

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