Tuesday, February 2, 2010
THE PIT (1981)
A Canadian film shot in Wisconsin, THE PIT centers around the pre-teen exploits of Jamie Benjamin, who may be autistic but seems more like a bullied introverted pervert than a child suffering a neurodevelopment disorder. Jamie likes naked women and peeping. He talks to his teddy bear, Teddy, who tells him to feed not nice people to the furry little monsters that inhabit a pit out in the woods by a field. He has a hot baby-sitter/nanny hired by his parents because they’re going to Seattle to set things up for their impending move. She bears the brunt of his sickness for most of the running time until Jamie decides to quit feeding people to the “tra-la-logs” and helps them escape. Then THE PIT turns into somewhat of a slasher film for 15 minutes or so before the whole thing ends rather stupidly.
THE PIT boasts excellent filmmaking chops and is heads above most films of its time period. The acting ranges from amateurish to competent and the gore is almost nil but somehow there’s a loopy charm to this low-budget shocker stemming from promises unfulfilled. There’s obviously more going on than what made it to the screen which makes the film seem as if it was heavily edited. However, various internet sources that include an interview with the film’s writer, Ian Stuart, claim that director Lew Lehman eschewed the more dark and controversial issues contained in the script for a more commercial tits and horror combination popular at the time. That said Lehman seems to have shot some of those darker moments from Stuart’s original script as the dialogue sets up scenes, character motivation and drama that never comes.
Anchor Bay’s 2004 DVD release of the film (paired with the mind-numbing 1989 William Levy helmed HELLGATE) returns THE PIT to widescreen glory and showcases the talent behind the camera. The print used is near flawless to my undiscriminating eyes thus making THE PIT even more of a guilty pleasure.
It won’t change your life but THE PIT is a strange and effective time-killer that wouldn’t be a waste of space in your Netflix queue.
INTERVIEW WITH WRITER IAN STUART AT BADMOVIES.ORG.
REVIEW OF "THE PIT" AT CANUXPLOITATION.
THE PIT IMDB ENTRY HERE.
"PIT" STAR SAMMY SNYDERS DOING WHAT HE DOES TODAY.