Film Review: Pin (1988) – 7/10

‘I will not have my sister as a tramp…’

I read Andrew Neiderman’s weirdo classic Pin in one fevered sitting during a particularly dark night of the soul (I’d woken up at 2am and couldn’t get back to sleep). When considering how bizarre that novel is, it’s pretty crazy that there has been any kind of film adaptation, never mind one that almost received a cinematic release (it was eventually released straight-to-video after the production company went bust). And yet, here we are…

Leon (David Hewlett) becomes mentally deranged after witnessing his mother engaged in sexual congress with an anatomy doll from his father’s doctor’s office. Following the death of his parents in a car crash, Leon lives a strange existence with the doll (who the family have named Pin) and Leon’s younger sister Ursula (Cynthia Preston). When the latter starts dating a nice young man (John Ferguson) with an absolutely massive side parting, this causes Leon’s mental health to diminish even further leading to disaster.

Pin isn’t a book that screams film adaptation. There is a constant undercurrent of incest in both the text and the subtext. And yet Canadian director Sandor Stern does a solid job in sanding off the unfilmable edges whilst still keeping the spirit of the source material intact. It’s an odd adaptation of an odd book but there is also something charming about it. Worth seeking out.