Crypt of Curiosities: Pits and Pendulums – A Look Back at the Film Adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe’s Seminal Short Story

Out of all of Poe’s works, few have had as big of an impact on me as “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Like many youngsters with an interest in the macabre, it was the first to immediately grab my attention, its title conjuring images of a massive, swinging blade cutting a poor sap wide open. Of course, there’s more to the poem than that—it’s focused less on the titular blade and more on the paranoia it creates, as well as painting a portrait of the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. It also has, quite infamously, one of the most frustrating deus ex machinas of all time, where the French army stops the swinging pendulum mere seconds before it can bisect our bound protagonist, much to the disappointment of English students the world over. While it’s hardly Poe’s best work, it’s certainly among his most iconic,
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