Brief History: Once, a long time ago in a land called the United States, Edgar Allan Poe was reading a very historically inaccurate book about the Spanish Inquisition and thought, “I’m going to put that in a story.” The tale's unnamed narrator describes his trial as a blur and without much detail. The reader does not even learn of what crime he's accused. A majority of the story takes place within his cell, his own private torture chamber. Each time he passes out he discovers new horrors have been added, leading up to the titular pit and the pendulum.
Analysis: This was a horror story not because it was supernatural or spooky, but because Poe described each and every emotion the narrator experienced with such truth. The situation is terrifying the reader experiences the situation alongside the tortured man. Also. . . rats. Rats are gross.
Blame it on the Victorians: This was written in the earliest years of the Victorian era, yet it should be pointed out that this time period was both extremely morbid and not interested in historical accuracy. Poe's people.
Last Thoughts: The Roger Corman movie version written by Richard Matheson and starring Vincent Price really has nothing to do with the original story. . . But I loves it!
Remember: Nobody expects a Spanish Inquisition!