Pin (1988)

pin poster 1988 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting : 6/10
Visual: 7/10

Odd story and tone, psychological aspect

Older psychology, so-so acting and visuals

Movie Info

Movie Name: Pin

Studio: Malofilms Group

Genre(s): Drama

Release Date(s):  May 16, 1988 (Cannes)/November 25, 1988 (Canada)/January 27, 1989 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

pin anatomical model creepy doctor

I’m feeling a little naked and exposed here…

Leon (David Hewelett) and his sister Ursula (Cynthia Preston) are the son and daughter of a controlling mother (Browen Mantel) and the town’s primary doctor (Terry O’Quinn).  Growing up Leon felt isolated while Ursula acted out.  Dr. Linden’s practice used a medical dummy named Pin and a trick of ventriloquism to talk to younger patients…but he did too good of job with Leon who truly believes Pin is alive.  With a mental decline, Leon’s obsession with Pin is getting dangerous and Ursula realizes her brother’s sickness is greater than she ever imaged.

Written and directed by Sandor Stern, Pin (also called Pin:  A Plastic Nightmare) is a Canadian psychological horror movie.  The film premiered at Cannes and was later released in Canada.  The movie was well received when released and gained a cult following over the years.

pin anatomical model sex scene

Well not a lot of horror movies have people having sex with an anatomical doll…it has that going for it

I saw Pin in college and on TV.  I watched it half-heartedly and remember questioning…what am I watching?  The strange movie was a real oddity and deserved more focus.  Watching Pin again, it is more in line with a Hitchcock film rather than the typical horror movie it was marketed as.

The movie’s entire tone is odd.  It is actually presented as a flashback, so if you are a horror-suspense aficionado, you have a good guess of what is going to happen by the time you are partially into the movie.  The movie has a slow burn with Leon getting more and more unhinged.  Despite this, everyone around him seems to think it is better to keep up the illusion that Pin is alive…which of course doesn’t go well.

Part of Pin’s drawback and Pin’s success is that the acting is questionable.  The acting is all over the top, and in scenes where the acting doesn’t turn to yelling, David Hewlett and Cynthia Preston feel very flat when delivering their lines.  The weird cadence of the actors kind of feeds into the odd nature of the movie.  It is also good to see Terry O’Quinn pop up in a movie and it is also notable that Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul alum Jonathan Banks provides the voice of Pin.

pin clothes anatomical doll

It is about time that Pin put some clothes on…and a face

The film itself also has a cheapness to its basic look.  That being said, I do find the life-size anatomic Pin model to be extremely disturbing.  I think the unclothed, skinless Pin is creepy, but the made-up Pin model also has its own imposing nature with its dead eyes.

Pin is worth seeking out in the fact that it is just a really odd movie.  It has its faults, but it also has a style that is different than most horror movies you have seen.  The fact that it is primarily a psychological horror film raises the bar on some of the acting and visuals and improves upon what easily could have been a so-so movie.  With movies like Magic and Pin, I can see more modern takes on the story with improved psychology and better plotting…but sticking to the original will also make Pin happy.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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