Pit and the Pendulum

Synopsis: Francis Barnard goes to Spain, when he hears his sister Elizabeth has died. Her husband Nicholas Medina, the son of the brutest torturer of the Spanish Inquisition, tells him she has died of a blood disease, but Francis finds this hard to believe. After some investigating he finds out that it was extreme fear that was fatal to his sister and that she may have been buried alive! Strange things then start to happen in the Medina castle.
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Director(s): Roger Corman
Production: American International Pictures (AIP)
Rotten Tomatoes:
80 min

- Yes? | - I wish to see don Medina.

- Yes? | - I wish to see don Medina.

- My name... | - I'm sorry.

Don Medina is not receiving | visitors at present.

You will announce that | Mr. Francis Barnard...

...has come from England | to see him.

What do you think you're doing?

Remove your hand, sir.


What is it ?

This gentleman demands | to be admitted, Dona.

- I've told him... | - You are Dona Medina?

I am.

I am Francis Barnard, | Elizabeth's brother.

Oh, I'm sorry.

Won't you come in, Mr. Barnard?

Please forgive me. | I'm Catherine Medina.


Would you not spend the night | Mr. Barnard?

I am certain | my brother would wish it.

Perhaps Dona. May I see your | brother now?

He is resting.

He has not been well | since the death.

I see. When may I see him?

Perhaps at supper...

...if you will do us the honor.

I will... supper.

May I visit my sister's | grave, now?


I presume there is one.

Not as such, Mister Barnard.

She is interred below.

A family custom, | Mr. Barnard.

I see.

If we may go there then?

Please follow me.

When did she die?

Your brother's letter made | no mention of the day.

About three months ago.

Three months? Why wasn't I | notified sooner?

I'm afraid I...

How did she die?

I know very little of the | details, Mr. Barnard.

This is no longer my home, | you see?

I left it several months before...

...Nicholas married | your sister.

Meaning you don't even...

Damn Heaven!

What's that noise?

Please follow me, Mr. Barnard.

Not that way, Mr. Barnard!

Who are you?

This is Mr. Barnard, Nicholas.

Elizabeth's brother.

Oh, yes.

You are welcome, mister.

Resting, dona Medina?


I told Mr. Barnard | that you were resting, Nicholas.

I thought that you were.

That noise, sir.

This is an apparatus...

...that must be kept | in constant repair.

What brings you to us?

Elizabeth was my sister, | don Medina.

I received your report | of her untimely death...

...the report that was | utterly devoid of detail.

what should I have done, | remained in England?

Yes, you are quite right. | My apology, sir.

Shock and grief...

...restrained me from | more adequate communication.

You have every right | to be provoked.

Perhaps you will show me my | sister's place of interment now.

I told him it would be | alright, Nicholas.

Yes, of course.

Now perhaps you'll be good enough | to tell me how my sister died.

In the illness of | some duration, sir.

And was this illness diagnosed?

- Yes. | - By whom?

Dr. Leon, the physician | of repute.

And he decided?

Something in her blood.


That's all?

Just something in her blood?

I'm afraid so.

And I'm afraid that does not | satisfy me, sir.

Follow me.

May we go now, Mr. Barnard?

This is very painful | for my brother.

And for me...as well.

This form of burial...

...is our family custom, | Mr. Barnard.

Will you stay the night | with us?

The night...

...and more, sir.

Until I know exactly | what has happened to her.

Thank you.


I trust that you will be | comfortable here.

Is this you?


No, that is my father, | Sebastian Medina.

Sebastian Medina, yes.

The resemblance is remarkable.


And the other is my | uncle Bartholomew.

Mr. Barnard, I am aware, | painfully aware...

...of your distrust regarding | Elizabeth's death.

Her death was, and is, | anguish to me.

I beg of you do not | add to it...

I'm sorry, don Medina, but | your word is not enough.

Too many things need | fuller explanation...

...before I can be satisfied | that what you say is true.

Fuller explanation?


Come with me.

Please, come.

The atmosphere is heavy in here.

Why have you brought me here?

It is her room, sir.

I've had it kept exactly | as she left it.

Look around you sir.

This room was furnished and | arranged with dedicated love.

Every article of furniture | every decorative detail...

...is the work of a master | craftsman...

...of Italy, of Spain or France.

Indeed every country in the | civilized world...

...is represented here.

It is unique room.

I did it all for her.

I wanted her to have | something that...


I beg your pardon, sir.

I was just cleaning up.

Oh, yes, yes of course.

You may go now.

Is this all you | meant to tell me?

You are an unyielding man, | Mr. Barnard.

I am forced to be, sir.

God is my witness | I worshipped your sister

I worship her still.

Without her, life | is meaningless.

She was that substance of | loveliness.

I tried to capture it...

...but it was the way she walked | and moved...

...her smile, her voice.

She sang like an angel.

And she could play | the harpsichord...

...as no other woman I've | ever known could play.

Every night after we | have dined...

...she would play for me.

Please, forgive me.

I have not intended to so | display myself.

| 156 | 00:
13:24,937 -- 00:13:26,871 | I pray...

I pray...

...I pray you leave me for awhile.

Please, go.

Do you live in London, Mr. Barnard?

Yes, and you?

In Barcelona, with an aunt.

And have you been here long?

A little over a week.

I came to be with | Nicholas because I...

Who would that be?


How are you, my friend?

You look pale.

Slept badly, have you?

Charles, we have a visitor.

Well, splendid, splendid.

- Exactly what you need. | - Charles.

It's Elizabeth's brother.

- You mean... | - Yes.

Dr. Charles Leon | at your service, sir.


You are I understand it | Elizabeth's brother.

The resemblance is clear.

The coloring, the same | configuration.

Beautiful woman your sister.

- Doctor. | - Ah, dear.

I interrupted your meal, I see.

Proper timing was never my | fault.

We have just finished. Won't | you join us in a glass of wine, Charles?


So, young gentleman, you've come | all the way from England, then?

That's right.

Terrible tragedy your | sister's death.

Appalling business.

How are things in Baztan, Charles?


Always, always, Nicholas...

...buying and selling | living and dying.

The weave of life.

Why did my sister die, | Dr. Leon?

Have you not been told?

- Of course he has. | - Well then?.

I want to hear it from you doctor.

Her death was inevitable, | I fear...

...under the circumstances.

This castle, this odious atmosphere.

What has the castle to do with it?

What has the castle...?

It's too late now, Charles.

I did not want him to know.

Know what?

Your sister's death was caused | by failure of the heart, sir...

...due to total shock.

Literally, she died of fright.

- Why did you not tell me? | - I thought to spare you, sir.

You thought to deceive me!

- That is not true. | - What is all this?

Show me where it happened.

- Very well. | - No, Nicholas.

There is no other way, my dear.

We were wrong, very wrong to have | kept the truth from Mr. Barnard.

Now we are doubly suspect | in his eyes.



Nicholas, you should not be | doing this, you know.

- You are not well. | - It cannot be avoided, Charles.



Torture chamber?

Yes, Mr. Barnard.

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Richard Matheson

Richard Burton Matheson (February 20, 1926 – June 23, 2013) was an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. He is best known as the author of I Am Legend, a 1954 science fiction horror vampire novel that has been adapted for the screen four times, as well as the movie Somewhere In Time for which Matheson wrote the screenplay, based on his novel Bid Time Return. Matheson also wrote 16 television episodes of The Twilight Zone, including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and "Steel". He adapted his 1971 short story "Duel" as a screenplay directed by a young Steven Spielberg, for the television film of the same name that year. Seven more of his novels or short stories have been adapted as major motion pictures — The Shrinking Man, Hell House, What Dreams May Come, Bid Time Return (filmed as Somewhere in Time), A Stir of Echoes, Steel (filmed as Real Steel), and Button, Button. Lesser movies based on his work include two from his early noir novels — Cold Sweat, based on his novel Riding the Nightmare, and Les seins de glace (Icy Breasts), based on his novel Someone is Bleeding. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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