Author: Edgar Allen Poe
Publication Date: 1843
Review Score: 7/10
Set during the Spanish Inquisition, the story begins with an unnamed narrator facing a panel of sinister judges who condemn him to death. The narrator then finds himself in a pitch black cell, which he discovers, through feeling his way around, is a cylinder with a giant pit in the middle of the room.
Although food and water sometimes mysteriously appears it seems as if death is the only possible outcome in this cell. At one point he awakes to find himself strapped down with a giant pendulum coming ever closer to his body and promising certain death.
The narrator manages to free himself but his mind is torn, death seems a certainty, but what will be less painful, a fall into an unknown abyss or the knife edge of the giant pendulum?
Before he can decide the walls start to burn red hot and push him closer towards the edge of the abyss, it seems his fate is decided, or is it?
Published in 1842, The Pit and the Pendulum is still as dark, twisted and bone chilling as I can imagine it was when first released. The ideas seem to come from a somewhat disturbed mind and although only a short story the level of description is fantastic, dragging you in as if you are right beside the unnamed man as he discovers his fate.
I have not read much of Edgar Allen Poe but this is by far my favourite of the stories I have read. The ideas that Poe comes up with in this story are bizarre and chilling even by today’s standards and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys horror novels.