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Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit And The Pendulum

3.0 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Seven students arrive at a secluded mansion to participate in a scientific experiment conducted by JB Divay, a bizarre hypnotist with a dark past. At first the group dismisses JB’s eccentricities… until the students start disappearing. Directed by David DeCoteau

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Lorielle New, Stephen Hansen, Bart Voitila, Jason Stewart, Andrew Bowen
  • Directors: David DeCoteau
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: E1 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 9, 2010
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002VRNJ12
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,708 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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A dominatrix hypnotist, lesbians making out, a mad scientist who is an abusive father, classical music (Chopin I think), buff boys wrestling in their underwear, hundreds of ticking clocks and cactuses (excuse me JB - CACTI) lots and lots of cacti. These are the main ingredients in David Decoteau's THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, one of the most fascinating, beautiful and peculiar films it has ever been my pleasure to see. This one is really Decoteau at his absolute best, certainly one of the finest films of his career, ranking right up there with the original BROTHERHOOD and LEATHER JACKET LOVE STORY. This one wont be to everyones taste but if you are adventurous and love truly original film making this one is a genuine must see. The film has a great script and some really fine performances. How great to see Michael King back in a Decoteau film. He made quite an impression in WITCHES OF THE CARRIBEAN and he truly outdoes himself in this film (particularly in the aforementioned wrestling sequence). The music score is very good with selections from many different genres. Howard Wexler is once again the director of photography and the results he gets are astounding. This is a beautiful looking film, in fact I would dare say it is the most beautiful film Dave has made to this point (although BLONDE HEAVEN aka MORGANA is a close second). The shots of the lethal pendulum in action are breathtaking. / The mood of the film ranges from incredibly (almost hilariously) erotic to genuine suspense to high camp and under the skilled direction of Decoteau it all comes together quite nicely.Read more ›
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Decoteau's film has about as much to do with Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" as a Decoteau film has to do with "straight" characters.
First, the setting is the same house used in "House of Usher", though given the ludicrous and misconceived ending of the latter could make some sense given the ending of "Usher" which appeared to be a set up for a sequel. Second, there is no "pit" (except possibly in the minds of this film's characters who might feel that they are stuck in one). The only "pendulum" is, for the most part, and overlapping image of one in a number of scenes until the real one suddenly appears as part of the "grand finale". The real star is Lorielle New as an over the top health/hypnotist and daughter of the previous owner of what was once an asylum. She constantly swings a pocket watch which is supposed to be a symbolic pendulum (I guess) that instantly hypnotises her "patients" (a group of seven dual gender "eye candy") into doing things that prove to be self-destructive. If not, she literally gives them a hand in the process. In one instance, she performs one of the most perverse strip-tease acts ever seen on screen right after dispatching one of her initial patients. All the while, she has her brother tied up on a chair which is never quite explained and the only rationale for it has to do with the film's preposterous ending. Through most of the film we do get Decoteau's overt and subliminal homo-eroticism which mainly comes off as a questionable and laughable tease. In fact, Decoteau's more recent films (the 1313 series) mainly take place in the same house and are less erotic than an underwear commercial (even though he does constantly parade his male contingency around in their underwear).
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Edgar Allan Poe's story depicts at least two of the punishments inflicted on a prisoner during the Spanish Inquisition. Despite the title, the only connection this film has with Poe's short story is the presence of a dangerous pendulum.

The film begins with a flashback to a hypnotist, Professor Dimitri Divay (Jason Stuart), experimenting on two children to find a way to remove sensations, like pain and fatigue, in order to achieve life goals.

Thirty years later, an SUV filled with young adults drives up to Highgate Mansion in response to an ad placed by J.B. Divay (Lorielle New), the professor's daughter. The five young men and two young women want help in pursuing various athletic pursuits; J.B. says she can use hypnosis to remove the barriers safely. The young adults unpack and settle in.

There are scenes of (un)dressing, exercising, and sunning by J.B.'s new clients, interspersed with lectures and sales pitches from J.B. Two of the men and the two women develop relationships.

Still, rather rapidly, as individuals disappear, J.B. says they must not have been suited for the program. Groans are heard from afar. Since the SUV won't start, no one can leave the remote mansion. Cell phones are out. The client group gets more alarmed as it shrinks. Who will make it to the end?

There is nothing remarkable about the film, although the photography is good and the story is good enough. The most memorable actor is Lorielle New (J.B.), who projects a smarmy eroticism, although it goes over the top in a shirtless wrestling-match-to-the-death scene. All of the five male clients show skin. The only female who does so is J.B..
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