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  • 1991movierewind

Episode #24: The Pit and the Pendulum

Listen to Episode 24 of the Podcast here while you enjoy the show notes.

SUMMARY - The Pit and the Pendulum takes place in Toledo Spain in the year 1492. The Spanish Inquisition has a stronghold on the town, led by the monk Torquemada (played by Lance Henriksen). While a woman is being punished for being a witch, bakers Maria and Antonio attempt to stop the punishment. Maria is arrested on the spot for being a witch who may have put Torquemada under her spell.

Screenplay by Dennis Paoli; Directed by Stuart Gordon, and released on May 31, 1991.


Dealing with the Spanish Inquisition, religion plays a central role in this version. Nikki helps to compare this movie to the Edgar Allan Poe story.

We also spend a little time comparing it to the 1961 version starring Vincent Price, which is much different.

We were hoping that this movie would go farther with the gore.

Instead there's a lot of PG-like sequences (in terms of violence, not subject matter) and showcasing how the church has gone mad.

PG stuff like when the baker tries to rescue his wife, he uses a ladle to fend off the army.

Side note, this lackey on the left made absolutely no effort to act like he was in the 1400s and it was hilariously bad.

Maria meets a real witch and she helps her escape to a magic land in her mind while being tortured.

Later, the witch helps get us back on track by eating gunpowder on the way to her burning.

Goes boom

And starts the gore train.

Eventually we get to the pit and the pendulum sequence. The painted walls were nice, but the whole movie has the vibe of a local haunted house rather than a professional film shoot.

We talk a bit about the production company Full Moon Productions as it relates to that and briefly hit historical bullet points.

We also expected this movie to be funnier than it was (unintentionally, of course). Besides the witch explosion, the closest we got was when the bones reformed from dust and came alive.

Torquemada is haunted by his past, so everyone comes back including the director's wife. Say cheese!

No spoilers on what it looks like, but yes, the pit does get fresh meat.

Awards Talk - We talk about Stuart Gordon and Lance Henriksen's Fangoria Hall of Fame awards.


This week we skip the crime segment (we talked about the inquisition enough) and went right into music.

To change things up, Nikki talked about the albums released in late May 1991.

Seal's debut album, "Seal" - May 24 1991 - featuring "Crazy"

The Smashing Pumpkins released "Gish" - May 28 1991 - featuring "Siva" among others.

NWA put out their second album (the first without Ice Cube) - "N*****4Life" - May 28 1991 - featuring Alwayz Into Somethin'

On the TV side, we watched the final episode of "To Tell The Truth" hosted by Alex Trebek which aired on May 31, 1991.

Your Judges: Ron Masak, Mother Love, Orson Bean, and of course, Kitty Carlyle

The first segment was about Don McLeod who was in 1991 movies, Naked Gun 2 ½ and Hook. You can read more about him in the links below.

CORRECTION: Classic Concentration does not have only 45 episodes as we stated. We got that info from IMDB that only credits that amount to Alex Trebek. It is likely that low because the individual episodes have not been logged on the site to give him credit for each one. The show had 4 seasons, all hosted by Trebek.


Nikki 1-5 star scale - 1 out of 5

Jon 0-4 star scale - 1 out of 4

Would you watch it again? - Yeah, kinda. It would be alright to watch with a group that can appreciate some of the goofy fun, but we still wish there were more of those moments that you would expect from a Full Moon release.

If you want to watch The Pit and the Pendulum, as of this recording in July 2021, it’s available on Tubi, PlutoTV, Digital Rental, VHS, DVD. Check your local listings.


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Join us next time for Sólo con tu pareja available on Prime, Digital Purchase, DVD


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