1692 in Toledo, Spain at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. The beautiful and kind-hearted Maria Alvarez is arrested as a witch when she inadvertently cries out in horror at the public whipping of a child.
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Lance Henriksen's intensity in this film as the head inquisitor is phenomenal as he obsesses on beautiful women or whips his sins away for God. It is marginally based upon Poe's short story but a good Inquisition horror movie anyhow with black humor and a very beautiful leading actress. I love the Italian locations that give a feel of realism and realism that one don't get in a studio, but the hero is forgettable.
Lance Henriksen is reasonable enough as the titular Inquisitor yet everything else about The Pit and the Pendulum feels bland and one-dimensional. The protagonists in Maria and Antonio especially happen to be two of the most obnoxious leads I've ever witnessed in celluloid form. Perhaps I'd be granted a little more perspective had I read Poe's story but this film is woefully dull when put in plain terms.