Thursday, November 8, 2007

"The Pit"(1981)d/Lew Lehman

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The only horror movie ever filmed in Beaver Dam,Wisconsin(let's not mince words,it was probably the ONLY movie ever filmed there),The Pit is chock full o' exploitation weirdness that any cult film enthusiast could appreciate viewing at least once.Though it pretty much flew undetected under the radar when released back in the slasher heyday of 1981,I still occasionally throw it in on a random rainy Wednesday afternoon,entertained by its antisocial tones,nipple slips,and talking teddy bear(!).
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A weirdo(Sammy Snyders) and his talking,pyschotic teddy bear.
Jamie is a annoying little weirdo.It's not his dutch boy haircut,the fact that he's twelve years old and still has a teddy bear,or the fact he enjoys peeping on and sexually harrassing middle-aged ladies...okay,well it's all of that.Jamie's parents go through potential babysitters like Donna Pescow went through horny paisans in the back seat during "Saturday Night Fever".Along comes Sandy(Jeannie Elias),a comely collegiate lass looking to earn some extra money through babysitting,the latest in a long line to tackle Jamie's plethora of mental problems.She's cool with his bear,she's cool with his cutting out of nudes from art books at the library,hell,she's even cool washing his back when he takes a tubby(just like his mother does...blech).It's when Jamie starts lifting samoleans out of her purse that Sandy begins to wonder what she's gotten into.
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My undercarriage is particularly dirty today,Sandy.
See,Teddy tells Jamie what to do(in Jamie's voice through an echo chamber,naturally),looks at naked polaroids he's taken of the local old biddy,and instructs him in the fine art of revenge when the boy discovers a pit out in the woods,inhabited by hairy,little creatures Jamie calls tra-la-logs.Once he's established the beasts don't eat candy bars,he's throwing huge packages of butcher's meat down the hole,which the tra-la-logs voraciously eat.When he runs out of money he begins stealing his babysitter's money to pay for the meat,and when she catches him in the act...he's got to improvise the pit-dwellers' potential meals.Pretty soon anyone who's ever slighted the little creep becomes tra-la-log yum yums.The little girl who played a trick on him with her broken bike,the older boy who socked him in the gob,the old lady in a wheelchair who was mean to him,even Sandy's jock boyfriend dives for a pass into the hole when Jamie starts taking a shine for his babysitter,who takes showers with the bathroom door open and sleeps with her nipples hanging out.
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"I don't appreciate you staring at my soapy nipples in the shower,Jamie."
He tries to show Sandy his discovery out in the woods one day,and when she accidentally falls victim to the tra-la-logs,he decides to fashion a rope to one of the nearby trees and throw the other end down into the pit,freeing the creatures to secure their own meals,dammit.The flesh-starved monsters go on a kill-crazy rampage before being put down by a spirited local posse's bullets.Jamie moves to another neighborhood,meets a young girl who isn't too creeped out to play with him,and she takes him off into the woods to show him HER little secret...Another pit full of tra-la-logs.She pushes him in.Score one for the fairer sex.
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Meat's meat,and tra-la-logs gotta eat.
Screenwriter Ian Stuart(NO,not THAT Ian Stuart,you maniacs...)distanced himself from this picture,protesting that the trogs should never be shown on camera,and looking back in retrospect,the guy was probably right.Whoever was responsible for the creature effects here should be dragged off into the nearest dark alley and pummelled with multiple aluminum tee ball bats until he comes out of the coma and swears off latex and light up plastic eyes for life.That being said,this movie is STILL a bit of fun,especially if you've got a warped sense of humor and twisted outlook on life.You know,like I do.
Two out of four B.W.'s


William said...

The PIT is a gem by all accounts. Rarely before have I witnessed such sights and such grandeur all in one little film about a sexually psychotic adolescent, his bear, and a hole full of trolologs.

The acting is nothing short of Oscar worthy and the direction leaves me scratching my head wondering why Dear Lew did not pursue a full time gig crafting yet more deliciously artful films.

This one is best enjoyed as the opening feature for a double bill with THE CHILDREN, MIDNIGHT, or perhaps PIECES.

"Careful, Jamie...careful..."

beedubelhue said...

The only thing missing was the "Hairstyles by Moe Howard" credit.Glad you like it!


Ragemanchoo said...

Apparently the Jamie character is supposed to be autistic. I remember seeing this on the shelf in VHS at the American Family Video back around 2000. This was right before they started to sell off their VHS tapes. I'm impressed it actually got transfered to DVD, even if it is sharing it with some other movie, ala a "Double feature". Netflix has the DVD, too, which is impressive due to their poor history of offering even things that have been on DVD for years ("X The Man with X-Ray Eyes", anyone?)

beedubelhue said...

Interesting factoid about the autism,I can totally see that being the case now.I first saw it in a 1981 issue of Variety as an upcoming release,and the poster artwork caught my eye.I created my own "backup" dvd copy complete with custom sleeve and interactive menus long before it was sentenced to double feature hell,probably because I was too impatient for the official probablys about it,actually,I definitely was.Glad to see some other people appreciating the sleepers!


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