The Return of the Midnight Rec: The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

What is a Midnight Rec? It's the perfect entertainment choice for a late night viewing on a Saturday night.

Long before I became interested in film, even before I was born if we're getting technical, it was not uncommon for a smaller, independent cinema to hold a midnight screening of a cheaper horror/sci-fi/exploitation film on a weekend in the 1970s. Prior to that, it was early television broadcasts in the 1950s. From my research, it normally happened on Saturday nights. Midnight Recs are my attempt to pay tribute to this grand tradition that has faded to near-obscurity.

Every Saturday, I will try to remember to post a recommendation for a great off-beat film to be watched at night with the lights out. It might be campy, it might be scary, it might be just plain bizarre. It's a great diversion for a night where you just don't want to go out and have nothing better to do.

To relaunch the feature, I'm going with one of the best Poe adaptations from the man who became one of the best Poe adapters: Roger Corman's The Pit and the Pendulum (1961). Starring horror icons Vincent Price and Barbara Steele, this gorgeous gothic chiller is filled with atmosphere, style, and suspense. Roger Corman, the man who brought us some of the true classics cult cinema (A Bucket of Blood, The Little Shop of Horrors, Creature from the Haunted Sea) began developing a sumptuous approach to the master of American horror, Edgar Allan Poe. Roger Corman would eventually find his true place in film when he shifted his focus to producing and distributing independent films. He was awarded an honorary Oscar just a few months ago for that contribution to the art of the motion picture. While The Pit and the Pendulum is neither Poe or Corman's best work, it is a little seen film currently available for streaming online through Hulu. I wanted the return Midnight Rec to be easily accessible, and have embedded the full film below the jump. Please to enjoy Poe's implausible tale of terror.