Hidden Horror Gems: Pin (1988)

It's not too often, but every once in a while, a small Canadian horror film comes along that offers a fresh innovative spin on the horror genre. Films like 'Black Christmas', 'The Changeling', and 'Videodrome', are but a few examples, and joining these illustrious titles is the unassuming little flick 'Pin'. Directed by TV veteran Sander Sterns, who previously had amassed some fame from scripting the original 'Amityville horror', with this  being his first and only theatrical movie.
In a small town, two children - Leon (David Hewlett) and Ursula (Cynthia Preston) - are being raised by their oppressively perfectionist parents, who don’t allow them to interact with other children or play outdoors. Desperately lonely, the boy Leon befriends, Pin, a life-size anatomically correct medical dummy residing in his father's office. Using ventriloquism Dr. Linden (Terry O'Quinn) makes it seem as though Pin is talking. Using the dummy he explains differnt bodily functions and sex acts to the children, in a way that might otherwise be embarrassing.

As they get older Ursula realises that Pin isn’t speaking, but Leon truly believes he is alive, even making him talk in the absence of his controlling father. Just as it seems he might finally escape his obsession by leaving for college, his parents are killed in a car accident. With his parents gone, Leon is now free to bring Pin home, even dressing it in his father’s clothes and sitting it at the table. But this is just the beginning of Leon's dangerous compulsion with Pin, for soon his obsession will eventually lead to murder.
A slight sombre little movie that exists somewhere between horror and thriller, 'Pin' utilises its strengths well. From the strange dummy used throughout, to David Hewlettas fantastically committed performance as the troubled Leon. Hewlettas affords even the most potentially humorous scenes with a quiet, eerie menace that really enhances the film. 'Pin' will doubtless be hated more than loved, but for those who can appreciate a different take on the worn out conventions of the  horror genre this will be a great surprise. Noticeably, this has aged better than a lot of other '80s fare, largely thanks to its minimalistic locations, actors and music which result in a sort of timeless feel.