Pin (film)

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Directed by Sandor Stern
Produced by Pierre David
Rene Malo
Screenplay by Sandor Stern
Based on Pin 
by Andrew Neiderman
Starring David Hewlett
Cynthia Preston
Terry O'Quinn
Music by Peter Manning Robinson
Release date(s) United States January 27, 1989[1]
Japan January 6, 1990
Running time 102 minutes
Language English

Pin is a Canadian cult film starring David Hewlett, Cynthia Preston and Terry O'Quinn, directed by Sandor Stern. The film was released in Canada with the title Pin, A Plastic Nightmare. It was released direct-to-video in the USA on January 27, 1989 and in Japan on January 6, 1990. The running time is 102 minutes. It is based on the novel of the same name by Andrew Neiderman.


Dr. Frank Linden (Terry O'Quinn) has a life-size anatomically correct medical dummy in his office which he calls "Pin." Via ventriloquism, Pin explains to Dr. Linden's children Leon (David Hewlett) and Ursula (Cynthia Preston) bodily functions and how the body works in a way children can relate to, without it being awkward.

Unknown to Dr. Linden, Leon, an undiagnosed schizophrenic with traits of disassociative personality disorder, begins to believe the dummy is alive. Since Leon doesn't have any real friends (thanks in part to his mother's obsessive compulsive disorder, who discourages Leon from playing outdoors or bringing anyone home), he believes Pin to be alive, since he's the only thing closest to a friend. He's further traumatized when he secretly witnesses his father's nurse use Pin as a sex toy.

When Leon turns 18, Dr. Linden, having come back to retrieve case studies for a speech, catches him having a conversation with Pin (via ventriloquism, which Leon had learned). Realizing the extent of Leon's psychosis, Dr. Linden takes Pin away to use as a visual aid for a speech with the intention of leaving Pin at the medical school. As Dr. and Mrs. Linden speed to the hall (Dr. Linden hating being late), they get into a car crash caused by either Dr. Linden's recklessness or Pin (it's left to interpretation) with both being killed instantly which results in Leon and Ursula being left orphaned. Later as Ursula sits in the back of a police car, crying, Leon secretly retrieves Pin from the scene.

Leon and Ursula, though grieving, enjoy their newfound freedom until Mrs. Linden's sister, Aunt Dorothy moves in. She encourages Ursula to take a job at the library, which Leon is against. Believing that she is influencing Ursula and after talking it over with Pin, Leon causes Aunt Dorothy to die from a heart attack by using Pin to frighten her. However, Ursula continues to work at the library, where she meets handsome jock Stan Fraker and falls in love. Meanwhile, Leon takes his fixation with Pin to pathological extremes, first by dressing him in Dr. Linden's clothes and finally fitting him with latex skin and a wig.

Leon believes that Stan is only interested in Ursula's inheritance and that he wants to put Leon in a sanitarium. He invites Stan over under the guise of discussing a surprise birthday party for Ursula. Leon drugs Stan's drink and when Stan fights back, Leon bludgeons Stan with a wooden sculpture. Following Pin's instructions, he puts Stan in a bag and plans to dump him in the river, which is interrupted by a call from Ursula saying she intends to come home early. Leon quickly hides Stan's body in a woodpile outside the house and cleans up the blood.

Leon concocts a story about Stan visiting a sick friend out of town to placate a worried Ursula, who believes him until she discovers the digital watch she had given to Stan as a gift under a chair when it beeps. She also discovers the wet spot on the carpet where Leon had cleaned the blood. When she confronts Leon, he attempts to blame it on Pin, causing her to run out of the house in hysterics. Leon asks Pin why he wouldn't help him. Pin responds by saying that he has never lied to him or lied for him and that despite his stating that Leon was doing it for Ursula, Pin rightly says that he's only doing it for himself. Ursula returns with an axe, which she raises ready to strike and the screen goes white as Leon screams and cowers.

The police find Stan's body; to their amazement, he is still alive. Some time later, Ursula and Stan return to the house to visit Pin. Ursula tells him that she's going on a trip with Stan. Pin inquires as to whether she's heard from Leon. Ursula replies "No." Pin says that he misses him a great deal. Ursula agrees, and it's discovered that she's actually talking to Leon, in Pin's clothes and wig, sitting catatonic in a wheelchair.

When the dummy was destroyed, Leon had a psychotic break, leaving the Pin side of his personality to completely take over while presumably leaving Leon's original consciousness catatonic or permanently suppressed.


Actor Role
David Hewlett Leon Linden
Cynthia Preston Ursula Linden
Terry O'Quinn Dr. Frank Linden
Bronwen Mantel Mrs. Linden
John Pyper-Ferguson Stan Fraker
Jonathan Banks Pin (voice)


Pin was released on DVD on April 24, 2001 in Widescreen Anamorphic and has commentary by director Sandor Stern and journalist Ted Newsom.


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