“and then all is madness”: PIT AND THE PENDULUM (AIP 1961)


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How have I ignored Roger Corman here for so long, save for a short “Cleaning Out the DVR” review of THE TERROR ?  The King of the Low Budget Quickies has long been a favorite filmmaker of mine, and has probably had more impact on American cinema than people realize. Well, now that TCM is running its month-long salute to AIP, I’m about to rectify that oversight. (By the way, Corman himself is cohosting the retrospective every Thursday night along with TCM’s own Ben Mankiewicz!)

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American International Pictures scored a hit with 1960’s HOUSE OF USHER, an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation starring Vincent Price and directed by Corman. Studio honchos James Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff looked at the box office numbers and, realizing they had a cash cow on their hands, asked Corman to produce a follow-up.  Rapid Roger decided on PIT AND THE PENDULUM, shot in 15 days for less…

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A Tribute To Darwyn Cooke


Trash Film Guru

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The comics and animation worlds are reeling today with the announcement of the loss of Darwyn Cooke. At only 54 years of age, it’s a good-bye far too soon, and represents something of a “double-whammy” coming just a day after news of his fight with a very aggressive form of cancer had gone public. In a world where the term “visionary talent” is criminally overused, Cooke was exactly that, and reading through the many tributes to the man posted on social media by various comics creators, it’s uncanny how much they resemble the tone and substance of what many musicians had to say in the wake of Prince’s still-shocking passing a couple of weeks ago, essentially : he was the best of us.

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Cooke’s first foray into the world of comics was a brief one, with his artist’s “by-line” adorning a short story in DC’s New Talent Showcase #19 in…

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