The Pit and the Pendulum (2006) – By Duane L. Martin

 Director Marc Lougee wrote to me a while back and presented me with an interesting request.  He wanted me to review a short he made.  It was Edgar Allan Poe’s, The Pit and the Pendulum.  "Hey awesome!" I thought.  "I absolutely love Edgar Allan Poe!  This should be great!"  What really made me flip out though is that not only is this a stop motion, animated film, but one of the executive producers is none other than Ray Harryhausen himself!  The godfather of stop motion animation!

Those of you who know my personal classic b-movie review site, B-Movie Central, know that I absolutely love classic films, I prefer real effects and animation over CGI, and I highly respect those who continue to maintain the values of the old days in their modern day productions.  Such is the case with The Pit and the Pendulum.

This film faithfully brings all the dark and horrific imagery of the classic Edgar Allan Poe story to life in stop motion, and although it’s only seven minutes long, it manages to to be creepy, sinister and downright frightening.  The facial expressions and sounds made by the main character really present the impression of terror.  I’ve seen live actors who could never pull off as much of a feeling of terror as the animated character in this film did.

Marc Lougee has created something truly brilliant with this film, plus he’s avoided committing the cardinal sin of using CGI to present a classic tale.  It’s just my opinion, but stories like this should always use real animation, whether it be stop motion or hand drawn.  Somehow, using modern techniques to tell a classic story always seems to ruin the experience for me.  The craftsmanship and creativity shown in this production is just brilliant, and I guess my only wish is that it had been longer.  For me it felt a bit too condensed at seven minutes, but it did present the main points of the story brilliantly.

This film is just an incredible piece of work, and if you’d like to find out more about it, you can check out the film’s website at http://www.thepitandthependulumshortfilm.com.  If you’re a lover of great animation, be sure to check it out.