PIT AND THE PENDULUM
1961, Park Circus/MGM, 80 min, USA, Dir: Roger Corman

One of Edgar Allan Poe’s greatest tales of terror gets the AIP treatment in this atmospheric chiller starring Vincent Price as Nicholas Medina, whose father was part of the Spanish Inquisition. When news spreads that Medina’s wife (Barbara Steele) is dead, her brother (John Kerr) investigates, only to discover that torture runs in the Medina family. Among the best of the Price-Corman collaborations, with a deliciously diabolical screenplay by Richard Matheson.


DEMENTIA 13
1963, Park Circus/MGM, 75 min, USA, Dir: Francis Ford Coppola

Director Francis Ford Coppola’s low-budget feature debut was one of the few pictures to effectively meld a contemporary PSYCHO-type scenario with Gothic horror motifs. When John dies of a heart attack, his wife Louise (Luana Anders) knows she won’t get any part of his mother’s inheritance if the family finds out he’s dead. She travels to the family castle in Ireland to finagle her way into a fortune, but must deal with John’s artist brother (William Campbell), his new wife (Mary Mitchel), younger brother Billy (Bart Patton) and a still-alive matriarch. Then someone starts chopping people up with an ax! Fast-moving, with a memorably great score by Ronald Stein and an uncredited Les Baxter. Produced by Roger Corman. “Francis Ford Coppola's first mainstream feature…is a little gem of Gothic horror, stylishly helmed on a shoestring budget.” - TV Guide


UNTAMED YOUTH
1957, Warner Bros., 80 min, USA, Dir: Howard W. Koch

Sexpot Mamie Van Doren and Lori Nelson play sisters convicted of hitchhiking and skinny-dipping and sent to a correctional farm - whose owner dates the local judge to ensure a steady supply of inmate labor. Like any good juvenile delinquent flick, UNTAMED YOUTH includes cool tunes; along with incidental music from Les Baxter, Mamie gets to wail a few numbers, and rock ‘n’ roll great Eddie Cochran chimes in as fellow inmate Bong. As ’50s film pleasures go, we find this one “guilty”!


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