Pin ... (2000) from Tuna

Pin ... (1988) is a forgotten Canadian low budget film advertised as Horror. It is as much or more a psychological drama. Written and directed by Sandor Stern, writer of The Amityville Horror, and well-known TV writer and director, it is based on a novel by Andrew Neiderman. 

It is the story of two siblings who grow up in what seems outwardly like a normal upper-middle class home. Daddy is an MD, and mommy is a domestic engineer. However, mommy is a controlling anal retentive bitch, and daddy is nearly emotionless, and views sex as something that is unavoidable but pretty distasteful. Daddy uses an anatomical dummy and his ability at ventriloquism to relate to his young patients and his own children. The dummy is named Pin, short for Pinocchio, a name conferred on him by the daughter. While the daughter catches on pretty quickly that Pin is just a dummy, and dad is doing the talking, her brother believes in Pin, and sees him as his only friend. As they grow up, the brother relies more and more on his friendship with Pin, and Pin actually starts to talk with him, even when daddy is not around.

After the death of their parents in an auto accident, a now grown Ursula (Cyndy Preston) is dating, and has found a handsome, sensitive jock. Leon (David Hewlett) is desperately trying to protect and possess the two things important to him, Ursula and Pin. There is something eerie about Pin, and there are three deaths (one a bloodless murder), giving something of the feel of a Stephen King horror film 


Helene Udy shows her breasts
It is really Leon's mental illness that is at the heart of the film, and leads to the disturbing ending. At one point, Leon, who has adopted his father's view toward sex, invites a coed known to be easy to his house to get even with Ursula for dating. The coed, played by Helene Udy, shows her breasts to Leon (which turns him off) and to us. In the interesting director's commentary on the DVD, Stern says this exposure is the one scene he regrets in the film, as it earned him an R, and was, he later realized, unnecessary and therefore gratuitous. At the time, he thought the audience should see what Leon was seeing.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen

  • no significant features 

The film, evidently, has some cult following. There are not many reviews on line, but the consensus is 2.5 stars. One of the comments at IMDB is especially good. Stern's background is medicine, and it was the psychological disorder on Leon and the fact that Leon and Ursula were raised in identical conditions but turned out so differently that attracted him to the book. These were the two elements that kept me interested in the film. 

Scoop's notes:

This is the only theatrical movie Sandor Stern ever directed, and he was already in his fifties at the time. He is probably best known as a writer who also had an active medical practice for a while, until he became the king of the miniseries and made for TV movies, and had to give up his practice because of the time demands.

The Critics Vote

  • No major reviews.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.6, quite high for a low budget film generally considered in the "horror" genre. 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, as horror, it is a C-, but as a psychological drama, it is a C+. 

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