Pin (film)

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Pin Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySandor Stern
Written bySandor Stern
Based onPin (April 1981)
by Andrew Neiderman
Produced by
CinematographyGuy Dufaux
Edited byPatrick Dodd
Music byPeter Manning Robinson
Distributed byNew World Pictures
Release date
  • May 16, 1988 (May 16, 1988)[1]
Running time
102 minutes

Pin (stylized as PIN...) fully titled as Pin: A Plastic Nightmare is a 1988 Canadian horror film directed by Sandor Stern and starring David Hewlett, Cynthia Preston and Terry O'Quinn. It is based on the novel of the same name by Andrew Neiderman. The film was released direct-to-video in the United States on January 27, 1989.


Dr. Frank Linden has a life-size, anatomically correct medical dummy in his office which he calls "Pin". Via ventriloquism, Dr. Linden uses Pin to teach his children, Leon and Ursula about bodily functions and how the body works in a way the children can relate to without it being awkward. Dr. Linden's interactions with the children are otherwise cold and emotionally distant, and his ventriloquism act is the only sign of a more warm and playful side to his nature. Unknown to Dr. Linden, Leon is mentally ill and has come to believe that Pin is alive. Due in part to his mother, who discourages Leon from playing outdoors or bringing anyone home, Leon has no real friends and sees Pin as the closest analogue. Leon is further traumatized when he secretly witnesses his father's nurse use Pin as a masturbatory sex doll. From that day on, he hates women with large breasts or promiscuity.

When Leon turns eighteen, 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 and that his son is mentally ill, 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, they get into a car crash caused by either Dr. Linden's recklessness or Pin; the Lindens are both killed instantly. Later, as Ursula sits in the back of a police car, crying, Leon secretly retrieves Pin from the scene.

Leon and Ursula, though grieving and orphaned, 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 athlete 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. Leon is interrupted by a call from Ursula, who says she intends to come home early. Leon quickly hides Stan's body in a woodpile outside the house and cleans up the blood.

To calm her, Leon tells Ursula that Stan is visiting a sick friend out of town; she believes him until she discovers a gift she gave Stan and a wet spot on the carpet. When she confronts Leon, he blames it on Pin, which causes her to run out of the house in hysterics. Leon asks Pin why he would not help him. Pin states that he has never lied to or for him, and that it’ll be useless for the need to lie anyway because they both have no idea how to. Leon, desperate and out of schemes, blamed his motives on Ursula, Pin also pointed out that he was lying again, and that everything was by his own selfish motives. Ursula returns with double-bit axe, which she raises ready to strike; 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. As the story ends, it is revealed that Ursula is talking to Leon, who has taken Pin's persona. After Ursula destroyed her brother’s only companion with an axe, Leon had a psychotic break, which left only the dummy’s side of his personality to completely take over. Leon has essentially become Pin, in the flesh.



The film was shot in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1987. Produced by Rene Malo and Pierre David. Directed by Sandor Stern. Stars include David Hewlett, Cyndy Preston, Terry O'Quinn, Bronwen Nantel and John Ferguson.[2]


Pin was released on VHS on May 28, 1989,[3] and DVD on April 24, 2001, in Widescreen Anamorphic. The DVD has commentary by director Sandor Stern and journalist Ted Newsom.[citation needed]


Janet Maslin of The New York Times called it "a cool, bloodless, well-made thriller with a taste for the quietly bizarre."[1] Andrew Marshall of Starburst rated it 9/10 stars and wrote, "A low-key psychological horror produced at a time when the genre was swamped with interminable sagas of invincible otherworldly serial killers, Pin is subtle, disturbing, and brilliant."[4] Charles Tatum from awarded the film a very positive 5 out of 5 stars, praising the film's creepy music score, and direction, as well as Hewlett and Preston's performances.[5]


Pin was featured in Fangoria magazine's 101 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen.[6] It has since become a cult film,[4] and a remake, to be directed by Stern, was announced in 2011.[7]


  1. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (1991-12-04). "Pin (1988)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  2. ^ Pecchia, David (1987-08-23). "Films going into production". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  3. ^ "'Gunrunner' Has Crime, Corruption, Costner". Boca Raton News. 1989-05-28. p. 22W.
  4. ^ a b Marshall, Andrew (2013-11-16). "DVD Review: PIN (1988)". Starburst. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  5. ^ Tatum, Charles. "Movie Review - Pin... - eFilmCritic". Charles Tatum. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  6. ^ Lukeman, Adam (2003). Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-307-52347-1.
  7. ^ Miska, Brad (2011-01-11). "Original 'Pin' Director Returns for Remake". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2014-12-14.

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