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.


WAR OF THE SATELLITES
1958, New Horizons Picture Corp., 72 min, USA, Dir: Roger Corman

Satellites and sputniks were all the rage in late 1950s headlines. When the first satellites launched, Corman promised his backers he could get a film with the word “satellite” in the title into theaters within 60 days. Given the go-ahead, he rapidly conjured this imaginative, lightning-paced and ultra-low-budget thriller about an alien spaceship intent on blowing up every Earth satellite entering the interstellar ether. Dick Miller and Susan Cabot are the heroic couple doing battle with the space villains, most notably incarnated in the takeover of pioneering scientist Dr. Van Ponder (the magnificent Richard Devon who played Satan in Corman’s THE UNDEAD).


A BUCKET OF BLOOD
1959, Park Circus/MGM, 66 min, USA, Dir: Roger Corman

After LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, this ranks as probably director Roger Corman’s most famous early effort, with a wonderful Dick Miller as mentally challenged Walter Paisley, a waiter at a beatnik café jealous of the artistic types who make up the clientele. When Walter accidentally kills his landlady’s cat, on a whim he covers it in clay. Passing it off at the cafe as a genuine sculpture, he is proclaimed an artistic genius. But he soon realizes he will have to produce more “works of art” if he is to hold onto his cherished new reputation. Soon Walter resorts to aping Vincent Price in HOUSE OF WAX, killing people and covering them in clay to serve as his newest creations. With more appearances by Corman regulars Barboura Morris, Antony Carbone and Ed Nelson. And look for future game show host Bert Convy as a doomed narc!


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