Pin Movie Review
Written and Directed by Sandor Stern
1988, 98 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Release Date: 28th October 2013
David Hewlett as Leon
Cynthia Preston as Ursula
Terry O’Quinn by Dr Linden
Bronwen Mantel as Mrs Linden
John Pyper-Ferguson as Stan Fraker
Arrow Films has brought the classic 1980s horror Pin back to life as part of its sub-label, ArrowDrome.
Brother and sister Leon (David Hewlett) and Ursula (Cynthia Preston) are left to live on their own after the sudden death of their parents. That’s until Leon brings home a wooden life-size dummy called ‘Pin’ from his father’s (Terry O’Quinn) doctor surgery, which he used to help guide them through their child lives with ventriloquism. But when Leon subconsciously starts transferring his dangerous alter-ego into Pin - treating him as a member of the family and dressing him in his father’s clothes - Ursula turns to her boyfriend Stan (John Pyper-Ferhuson) for help with her brother’s apparent sanity. And that’s something Pin and Leon don’t like at all.
Adapted from Andrew Neiderman’s novel, Pin is a sinister thriller that both compels and disturbs in its exploration of psychological fragmentation and moral deviation. The journey starts when Leon and Ursula are children, being innocently ‘guided’ and ‘befriended’ by Pin during their visits to see their father at work. Leon is a loner at school and we gradually see him start feeling more connected to the mannequin behind his father’s back. It’s an interesting psyche to observe as it develops into Leon’s adult stage, and one that’s been understandably likened to Hitchcock’s dysfunctional Normal Bates in Psycho. Hewlett convincingly communicates the twisted characteristics, which provokes a lasting curiosity until the end.
Its effect on Ursula, too, grows from pity to sincere concern, and her increasing struggle to play along with his games while secretly seeking help elsewhere keeps the tension between the three main characters brimming throughout. It may be a slow burner, but that’s essential to unveiling the complexity of the film’s dark undertones, as well as providing an unnerving climax.
It’s clear why Arrow Films has chosen to re-release this title. The cult classic dummy horrors of the 20th century, like Magic and Dead of Night, undoubtedly retain much of their creepiness thirty years on. And it’s no different with Pin. The ominous, lingering shots of Pin’s blank expression are just as menacing as Leon’s convincing ventriloquism. Perhaps this is why a remake is on the cards. Either way, this bona fide classic is a must-see for genre fans.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.
Want to comment on this review? You can leave one below or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.