Wednesday 14 May 2014

"The Pit and the Pendulum" - UK BD review

Arrow films were nice enough to send me another one of their Blu-Rays to review. This time its their release of the classic Vincent Price, Roger Corman film “Pit and the Pendulum”.
This 1961 adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s short story takes place in Spain during the 16th century, where Englishman Francis Barnard (John Kerr) has come to visit the old castle of his brother in law, Nicholas Medina (played by horror icon Vincent Price), to find out what’s happened to his sister Elizabeth.
It turns out that she quite literally died of fright whilst exploring the old castle. Seems the old place has a very bad history, as it was previously used by the Spanish Inquisition and still has its own torture chamber in the cellars. The devices where also used by Nicholas’s father to kill his mother and uncle, after he caught them having an affair. An act that still haunts him to this day.
However, they get the impression that Elizabeth (played by fellow horror veteran Barbara Steele) might have made a ghostly return as Nicholas claims he can hear her voice in the night and strange music can be heard in parts of the castle. Could this have something to do with the castle’s grisly past, or is some elaborate trickery afoot?
Intended as a follow up of sorts to "Fall of the House of Usher", both of which being based on stories by Edgar Allen Poe, directed by Roger Corman and starringVincent Price. The film is your classic gothic horror tale and is definitely one for lovers of older horror films. 
This is the first time the film has been released to Blu-Ray in the UK, which has been given a new hi-definition (1080p) transfer from original film elements.
Extras wise, the disc comes packed with the usual slew of goodies found on Arrow releases. Including…
2x Audio commentary tracks that accompany the main feature. The first, with director Roger Corman. The second, with film critic Tim Lucas.
“Behind the Swinging Blade” feature, in which Roger Corman and Barbara Steele discuss the making of the movie. Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria shares her memories of her fathers time on set and fellow director Brian Yuzna discusses his love of the film and his 1991 version of the story.
Additional TV scene. An extraneous 5 minute scene shot to pad the film’s running time for its showing on the US TV networks, which features star Luana Andrews.
“An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe” feature. Arguably my favourite feature on the disc, which is 52 minute TV special in which Vincent Price reads various Edgar Allen Poe stories in front of a live audience. Including The Tell-Tale Heart, The Sphinx, The Cask of Amontillado and (of course) The Pit and the Pendulum.
Also included is the original theatrical trailer and you can also listen to the films music score and special effects on a separate audio track.
The case also contains a full colour collectors booklet, containing linear notes on the film by gothic horror author Johnathon Rigby, illustrated throughout with original stills and promotional artwork. 
The film is available in both a standard BD case, which contains reversible sleeve artwork, with the original theatrical poster art on one side and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx on the other. And in a limited edition Steelbook case.
So if you’re a Vincent Price fan, or you love Edgar Allen Poe adaptations, this one is definitely worth picking up. Makes an excellent companion piece to “Fall of the House of Usher” (also available from Arrow films).
Buy the UK BD from
Buy the UK BD Steelbook from

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