The Pit and the Pendulum is narrated by the anonymous victim. He is dragged before black-robed inquisitors on trumped up charges. Once he is found guilty, he is taken into the dungeons where death surely awaits him. He awakens with his head locked in a metal helmet (an inspired addition to the original story); in the room is the pit of the title. When he survives that, his captors drug him and he is moved to the next room; this room contains the pendulum. Now, this is a short, and I cannot give away everything, but you are probably already familiar with the details anyway. This is definitely Poe, just stripped down to its essence.
Stop motion has a strange other-worldly feel to it, what with the exaggerated movements and decidedly unrealistic look of the figures. Lougee has used the style to great effect here, with the cadaver-like wax faces, the nice use of light and shadow, and the stylized movements. Another aspect that really drove everything home was the music and sound design by Philip Stranger. The music adds just the right touch of eeriness and dread.
Bottom line. This a fantastic short. In its brief runtime it has condensed the Poe story to its bare minimum, and has done so in singular style. Marc Lougee continues the grand tradition of stop motion animation and displays a high level of skill that makes me look forward to what he has up his sleeve next.