Director – Lew Lehman
Cast – Sammy Snyders, Jeannie Elias, Sonja Smits, Laura Hollingsworth, John Auten, Laura Press, Paul Grisham, Wendy Schmidt, Andrea Swartz, Edith Bedker, Lillian Graham, Richard Alden
Release Year – 1981
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This is a lesser-known early 80s horror flick that I came across randomly one day and after giving the plot a quick read decided that its strong vengeance element satisfied me enough to grant it a watch. While the end result was not as favorable as I expected, we do get some pretty cool elements thrown into this one that make it a mediocre watch in the end.
The Pit follows Jamie Benjamin, a young autistic kid constantly picked on by the kids around him in his new town. One day while exploring the neighboring woods he comes across a large pit in the ground filled with bloodthirsty creatures. Jamie has realized that he has had enough from those who constantly pick on him, and one by one he lures them to the pit and feeds his new friends.
I loved the idea of a “special needs” child getting revenge on those who have wronged or picked on him, and that is the biggest reason behind why I gave this one a watch. Vengeance themed films have always pleased me heavily, and thankfully the vengeance theme in this watch is bountiful and gave me most of what I wanted to see.
This is obviously a low-budget effort, and in the end it does tend to show a bit. I really wanted to see more of the kill scenes involving the kids Jamie would toss into the pit, but we were not shown any of them unless it was an adult that he threw in. I am not saying I “enjoy” watching kids get killed, but in fact the kids in this film were more ruthless than the adults were, so naturally they deserved “it” more, plus I like a film with guts, and showing such scenes requires guts, end of story. Thankfully, director Lew Lehman did what he could with what little was available, and the kill scenes we do get on screen were satisfying and sweet to watch. I loved the look of the creatures, and while they are obviously just people in cheap suit’s their glowing eyes provided a cheezy yet creepy look to them. The overall execution of the film is a bit cheezy, but for an early 80s low-budget horror film would you expect anything else?
Story-wise the film gets the job done, but it also consists of my biggest fault with the film. As I mentioned earlier, I loved the vengeance theme thrown into the film, but for some reason it seems the film lost its primary focus during the third act, which given it consists of the closing sequences this is an act that things cannot fall apart during. The film lost focus of Jamie, and seemed to focus more on lesser characters trying to do away with the beasts living in the pit. The scenes themselves were not all that bad, but they were just out of place because they did not involve our lead who seemed to have disappeared for a good 15 minutes during such sequences. The rest of the storyline is OK though, and we get a good amount of character conflict from Jamie and his inability to deal with people, which does not necessarily come off as his fault. He was born a troubled child, and coupling that with him being constantly bombarded in life by people who only look to bring him down does not help his situation. While some may find it silly, I thought it was pretty cool that Jamie was so psychologically disturbed that his teddy bear, named “Teddy”, would advise him on how to solve his problems with people. Fans of psychological turmoil in horror should find this element satisfying, especially those who like Jamie…had a teddy bear who told them to do evil things when they were little.
Overall, this is a decent watch that brings on a fulfilling vengeance theme, some sweet creatures, and some good cheeze that only suffers at times from a low-budget. The story tends to lose focus towards the end of the film, but if you have nothing else to watch this may not be a bad choice.