Thoughts from the Ledge: Lance Henriksen – horror legend

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The Pit and the Pendulum – Lance Henriksen – Courtesy of Empire Pictures (II), Full Moon Entertainment

The Pit and the Pendulum

Based on a short story by the master of macabre, Edgar Allan Poe, this is the terrifying tale of a dissident against the Spanish Inquisition. In the literary version, the narrator is male. However, in the film directed by the always interesting Stuart Gordon, the unfortunate victim is female.

The Inquisition was the attempt by Ferdinand and Isabella to unify Spain through religious means. Basically, the monarchs were using Catholicism to drive out other religions from the country. Unfortunately, the means with which they chose to perform this act were through torture and confessions under duress.

In this film, Maria (Rona De Ricci) speaks out against the hideous practices of Torquemada the grand inquisitor of Spain (Lance Henriksen). Most of Gordon’s films contain sexual undertones, and this one’s no exception. Torquemada finds himself desiring Maria and in order to purge himself of this lust, he tortures her.

Maria’s husband, Antonio (Jonathan Fuller) attempts to rescue her but is imprisoned for his effort. He ends up being the guinea pig for the new toy of pain, the pendulum. One of the reasons I enjoy this movie is even after 27 years, I remember it because it’s so disturbing.

Henriksen was effective as the conflicted Inquisitor. His was a deep and dark performance.

Color of Night

Color of Night – Lance Henriksen – Courtesy of Cinergi Pictures Entertainment, Hollywood Pictures

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This is clearly Bruce Willis’ film but Lance has a rather decent supporting role. Color of Night is a psychological thriller and the kind sticking with you after viewing it.

Bill Capa (Willis) leaves his psychoanalysis practice behind on the East Coast after a patient commits suicide. He flees to the left coast at the request of his friend, Bob (Scott Bakula) who is also a psychoanalyst. Unfortunately, he ends up getting murdered.

The suspects happen to be part of Bob’s therapy circle. Of course, Bill takes over in an attempt to find out who killed his friend. Henriksen plays Buck.

Buck is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome after he’s the lone survivor of a brutal attack killing his wife and daughter. Most of these patients suffer from various forms of mental illness ranging from nymphomania to OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

Bill ends up getting into a minor fender bender with a girl named Rose (Jane March). Things get pretty crazy with these two and of course, they start having a relationship. In a weird turn of events, several people including Buck end up meeting a young woman who sounds curiously like Rose and having flings with her.

Detective Hector Martinez (Ruben Blades) steers Bill in the direction of Buck because as it turns out Martinez was having an affair with Buck’s wife. This lead is a dead end. With the clock ticking and his life possibly in danger, Bill needs to solve this crime before more people become casualties.

The Road Ahead

Fans of Lance Henriksen are in luck because according to IMDb, the actor has several films in the pipeline. Legionnnaire’s Trail and the Unhealer are currently shooting. Also, he has two movies in pre-production.

If you live near Indianapolis, you can catch him in person at HorrorHound Weekend which runs from Aug. 24 through Aug. 26.

What are your favorite Lance Henriksen films? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.

Next: Bruce Campbell photo ops now available at HorrorHound

Susan Leighton can be found on Twitter and Facebook @SusanontheLedge as well as Instagram @convirgin. She is also featured on Friday Night Tights, the ultimate pop culture wrap up show at Nerdrotic Podcast every Friday night at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. You can catch her weekly coverage on IFC’s Brockmire at TV Series Hub.