Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pin (1988)


Written & Directed by Sandor Stern
Based on the novel by Andrew Neiderman

Dr. Linden...Terry O'Quinn
Mrs. Linden..Bronwen Mantel
Leon...David Hewlett
Ursula...Cynthia Preston

Physician Frank Linden (played by Mr. Lost himself, Terry O'Quinn) is the patriarch of a rather strange family. His wife is a neat freak bordering on the obsessive, his young daughter Ursula is a sexually-curious child wo reads nudie mags and says she can't wait until she's old enough to have sex because she thinks she's "really going to like it", and his son Leon is a slightly creepy and withdrawn boy who is definitely the product of his unorthodox upbringing. Frank himself isn't exactly the Father of the Year type, either. Rather than have important conversations with his children, he instead pawns them off on Pin, an anotomically correct medical dummy that he makes speak via ventriloquism. This isn't merely some oddball parenting tactic, like using sock puppets to act out morality plays. The children are raised to believe that Pin is a very real person, a family friend even, to the extent that they even receive gifts from him on holidays.

As time goes on, Ursula realizes that Pin is just another of those curious fallacies that parents tell their children, like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Leon, on the other hand, only sinks deeper into the illusion until he is controlling Pin without even realizing it.

It is, at one point in the movie, revealed that Pin is a diminuitive of Pinnochio, which makes sense. It would be easy to view this film as a post-modern, psychological version of that old fable, in which Gepetto is in fact a very sick man. And perhaps that was the filmmaker's intention, but to me this seemed more like a Psycho variation, with a medical dummy standing in for Norman Bates' mother. Like her, Pin sits immobile in a chair looking out of a second story window, and the two even speak in strikingly similar voices. And both films are pop psychology profiles of men driven to action in the guise of an individual that no longer--or never did--exist.

It's a bizarre, sick and guiltily pleasurable shocker that deserves a cult status that I don't believe it currently has.  Well worth a look, you twisted puppies, you!

Rated R
103 Minutes
Canada, eh?



  1. Hmmm... weird. I vaguely remember this title from the video store shelves back in the day but never knew anything about it. So I have nothing constructive to say. :)

    Stay J.

  2. Yes, I recall this on video shelves in the late '80s too but never rented it. It is, however, now on Netflix's Instant Watch. Time to give it a shot!

  3. The creepiest part of Pin was the incestuous subtext between Leon and Ursula.

  4. Other J: That's okay, brother. Very few of my comments are constructive, either. Hell, very few of my posts are constructive! And I am staying J like a motherfucker.

    Will: Instant Watch is where I recently watched it. I hope you give it a view, and let me know what you thought.

    Andy: There are so many creepy parts to this film, but you're right. The incestuous subtext is pretty damn high on the list.

  5. This one looks awesome....
    Thanks for pointing it out to me.

  6. Andrew: If I can contaminate just one more mind with this sick little flick, then I can safely say that I have done my job.

  7. I'd like to find that Niederman novel, too.

  8. a great film. Glad others really dig it.


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