Pit, The


Sep 24, 2008

The Plot: Jamie is your average kid. He wants a bicycle of his own, doesn’t get along too well with his little girl neighbor who is a total brat, oh and he talks to his psychotic teddy bear who instructs him to collect pornography for its own selfish reasons… So maybe he’s not the MOST average kid, but what are you going to do? When Jamie’s parents leave town for a while though they entrust him to their babysitter Sandy who moves in temporarily and looks after little crazy Jamie. Jamie, who absolutely loves collecting pets, has found something new that he wants to share with Sandy… other than his sexual organ. No, I’m talking about Trogs. Troglodytes that is, or Tro-La-Logs as Jamie refers to them. These little furry monsters that live in a pit within the woods near Jamie’s house. Sandy of course doesn’t believe old Jamie, but she will, they all will! When Jamie finally figures out what his pet Trogs enjoy eating, meat, doom is spelled out for everyone that has ever given the young man any trouble!

The Review: Thank goodness for the internet, right? I mean, without it how many of us could have found that little known horror movie we stumbled upon in the late hours of the night on basic cable as a kid? I’m not alone in that search, I know, I’ve replied to enough forum topics called “Anyone seen this movie?” in my time and chances are you’ve at least run into a few yourself. If not started a few of them. I’m still looking for that one flick that looks like it took place on a summer camp where everyone in the cafeteria somehow had their tongues ripped out… but I digress. Amidst my childhood searching of cable and the many, many hours I spent watching random movies played on the Fox affiliate, TBS or any other station willing to provide a young boy with decent programming – at some point I ran into The Pit. This might have even played on Morgus Presents, I can’t say for sure. No one remembers how they ran into the films, just those moments that really caught their fascination. What I remember most about The Pit are the Trogs, the Troglodyte-esque monster characters that live in the hole in the woods. I don’t remember if they scared me or not, but this film about this child feeding other living humans to these beasts… well, it left an impact on me. Sometimes when violence is played up as something that isn’t disturbing, it simply makes the acts that much more horrific. While watching The Pit as an adult I realized this. Seeing an elderly woman being pushed in her wheelchair through the woods then dumped into a pit for these monstrous little evil ewok looking creatures to devour alive – I can definitely say it left me a little disturbed as a child. As an adult I watch it and I see that the filmmakers wanted you to see this old lady as being bitter and mean, and although not deserving of death she certainly doesn’t evoke a massive amount of sympathy. The same goes for all of the mean people dumped into the pit, but as a kid, that stuff really doesn’t matter. I’m sure as a kid a lot of older people seemed mean to me, but I surely wasn’t hoping for their deaths in a painful and excruciating manner. I felt the same way about Speed Racer in a lot of ways, as a kid I loved the show but how messed up is it for a kid watching reruns on Nickelodeon to see these other racers flying off of mountains and exploding into a hail of fire and debris? There’s no way those guys survived that! Hard for a kid to digest, but as an adult you look back and say “Wicked!”. Funny how time changes, but I sure am not going to say it’s a maturity thing. Really, after thinking about this paragraph and thinking that the same child disturbed by The Pit and Speed Racer grew up to be a gorehound horror fanatic – I’m beginning to think I digressed in the Maturity department!

All this talk about Nostalgia and my personal childhood, and I haven’t even talked up the movie yet? You’re probably sick of that by now, which is why I’m going to talk about my teenage years!… no, I kid. The Pit, as an adult, turns out as a slightly confused film that shows its modest budget most of the time – but still has an atmosphere of invention and a willingness to try something new. Those facts don’t exactly save this from being a b-horror movie with many glaring flaws; but like many low budget horror flicks from the eighties you’ll find a lot of heart here. There’s also some nudity and at least one scene of gore, so, yeah! Just thought I’d throw that in there to get some interest out there. The Pit kind of reminds me of Goosebumps the TV show with an R rating. That same attempt of writer R.L. Stein to capture youthful intrigue and throw it out there into a dark and hopefully scary world is found here, but with slightly darker tones of sexual obsession and a leading child who is for all purposes pretty dark and scary himself. The character of Jamie suffers from some pretty traumatic mental disorders in the film, his willingness to kill only being the start of them. He also spends much of the film talking to his Teddy Bear, who talks back to him in his mind. Why he does this is never really explained. Apparently from what I have read is that the original script for the film was going to be more of a psychological study of an autistic boy and all of the supernatural bits would only be in his mind, focusing more on the boy and how his mental illness causes him to stretch out and do horrible things. I assume he would have been the one committing the murders as opposed to the Trogs, that film definitely sounds more honest and professional – but if the director Lew Lehman wouldn’t have come onboard and completely bastardized the script with its strange plot twists that now lead to nowhere and given the film all of its b-movie quirks; would we still be here talking about? Truthfully, probably not. The original script looks like it would have probably explained just what has corrupted this little boy’s mind and lead him into this world of stealing money, collecting pornography and committing murder all at behest of his teddy bear. Now it seems there are only hints at this script, with Jamie being washed by his babysitter and asking the ominous “Do you know why my mommy washes me so much?” that goes absolutely nowhere because when we meet Jamie’s parents they seem as normal as could be expected. With no visual link and only one audible one from a psychotic little boy – we are left scratching our heads as to why this little boy would do this.

In the end, is The Pit a likable movie? I think the answer is a definite yes. You’ll have to excuse a whole lot and keep the proper frame of mind because you’re not dealing with a flick that has all of its bearings – but in the end if you’re open to having fun with dumbed down flicks that simply deliver some new and strange devices this one shouldn’t disappoint. Remember though, you’re still in definitely B-Movie territory here and a flick that only partially makes any sense at all. It’s a shame that we’ll never get to see what the film was originally intended to be; but for a ‘pre-teen who goes out killing people’ type of flick this one is a lot of stupid fun. It’s still a three out of five rating, which means it’s decent but do yourself the favor and rent it first to see if this one tickles your fancy like it did me.