The Pit and the Pendulum [reviewed by the Drudgeon]

The Pit and the Pendulum97 min., 1991
Directed by Stuart Gordon
My rating: Zero Stars (The Skull)
IMDBNetflix

With a cast a good as this, how did it fail so much?

* * *

The movie starts with Maria (Rona De Ricci) and her husband Antonio (Jonathan Fuller).  They are making bread, but she is a bit too horny and wants to make out instead.  Antonio is too concerned with the bread burning to continue.  After gathering the bread and starting to sell it, some kids steal some and a chase ensues.  Maria and Antonio end up being forced to the area where they perform executions and this time it’s for a witch.  While the witch is being prepared for execution her son breaks from the crowd shouting to save his mom.  He starts to get whipped and Maria decides to try and help.  Torquemada (Lance Henriksen), who is the main man that decides who is guilty and should die, steps up and ends up declaring Maria a witch, because he has a vision.  So begins the escapade of torture, nudity and bad acting.

There is one thing about the acting that everyone falls victim to.  Everyone tends to overact in this one.  I’m not talking about the arm flailing type of overacting, but the face contorting during every scene where there is supposed to be some emotion.  In some movies it comes off as fun, but in this one it’s just more annoying than anything else.  Lance Henriksen and Rona De Ricci are the two main criminals when it comes to this.  I understand that Lance’s character is supposed to be a little over the top, but there is no real need to be that over the top.  Every line is delivered as though it was going to be his last and he really needed to make an impression so no one would forget him.  Rona De Ricci is an actress that obviously has no actual acting skill (and just ‘cause you are attractive doesn’t mean you get a pass on acting).  She takes one expression and goes about ten steps too far with it.  She was just terrible.  The only real shining light when it comes to the acting was Jeffrey Combs as Francisco.  He actually underplayed the character and made the other actors look like fools, even though he was the one that had a very silly character.  I also enjoyed Tom Towles as Don Carlos, but that’s for a different reason, he always made me laugh whenever he was on screen.  Was he good?  Not really, just fun to watch his annoyance as the movie progressed.

The effects of the movie are actually pretty silly.  I realize that it’s Full Moon, but even for them the effects are really lame.  Most of them aren’t even laugh-worthy, it’s more of the groan type.  On the other side, the locations are actually pretty good.  They look nice but aren’t used very much.

As a whole this movie is a fail.  With a cast as good as this, it’s actually a big surprise that it’s this terrible.  Everyone overacts and instead of me having a good laugh at the overacting I was bored and annoyed.  Pretty much every scene I was just waiting for it to be over.  There is very little in the movie that is worth watching, even the torture is pretty pathetic, and I’m not comparing it to the modern day torture movies, it’s just really boring.  Lance Henriksen should have been the saving grace of the movie, but this proves that even with a big name like his, a shitty movie is just that.

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About The Drudgeon

I don't remember my real name or where I came from. All I know is that I'm traped in an underground cave with nothing but a TV, DVD player and a notebook and pen. They keep calling me The Drudgeon, I don't even know what that means. Someone keeps dropping horror movies in and yelling at me to watch them and write about what I watch. Then I eat the DVD and case, because they tell me if I consume the horror I will understand the horror. I think there are three of them. So if you are reading this right now, HELP ME!!!!!!! OUCH!!!! Someone just poked me with a sea urchin attacked to a pool cue, what the fuck is going on?
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