Saturday, October 24, 2009

Poe Fridays (on Saturday)

This week we read the supremely freaky short story, The Pit and the Pendulum. You can read the full text here.

So basically, this is the story of a guy who has been captured by the Spanish Inquisition and thrown into a pitch black room. As he begins to inspect the room, he realizes there is a huge pit in the middle of the room, and blacks out. When he wakes up, he is strapped down, and a giant, scythe-like pendulum is swinging over him, getting closer and closer to his chest. He manages to escape, but the walls start to burn and close in, making him move closer and closer to the pit.

Yeeks! This story seriously pushes the limits of how much scary I can tolerate. Poe does a masterful job of creating fear without any supernatural intervention - all of the terror comes from the narrator's completely real situation. The tension increases throughout the story, so by the end I was holding my breath, waiting for the inevitable demise. Here's a sample of what I mean:

"Down -- certainly, relentlessly down! It vibrated within three inches of my bosom! I struggled violently -- furiously -- to free my left arm. This was free only from the elbow to the hand. I could reach the latter, from the platter beside me to my mouth with great effort, but no farther. Could I have broken the fastenings above the elbow, I would have seized and attempted to arrest the pendulum. I might as well have attempted to arrest an avalanche!"

And, just to creep myself out a little more, I found the following short film of the story - seriously, don't watch this in the dark!

The Pit and the Pendulum by Bravo!FACT

Creepy, Creepy. Kristen, if I have nightmares, I am totally holding you responsible!

Poe Fridays is hosted by Kristen at WeBeReading.

1 comment:

Kristen M. said...

Yes, this is probably not a good one to read right before bed. ;) This might be the most heart-pounding story Poe wrote!