A lecherous pre-teen loner finds and feeds the mysterious creatures that reside in a hidden pit in the wilderness.
This movie is fucking awesome. I have heard a lot of people talk shit about this film – suggesting that it’s stupid, boring, doesn’t make sense, ridiculous, etc. I’m here to tell you once and for all that this flick is well worth the 97 minute investment. I know you fucks have blasted hundreds of brain cells doing keg stands with some asshole that you don’t even like just cause you were hard up for something to do and it’s easier to get drunk than it is to sit alone quietly with your own thoughts because you’re a fucking pussy. Whoa. Where did that come from? (This is why I have no friends) Ok, ok.
First of all, the lead character, 12yr old Jaime (played most effectively by Sammy Snyders) is an unfortunate little misfit that no one seems to like and/or understand. He’s in that oh-so-enjoyable pubescent period of being totally obsessed with girls but simultaneously being socially maladjusted; so much so that his only real friend is “Teddy” his stuffed bear who actually does talk back.
There were a lot of almost shocking elements to this that made it intensely enjoyable to those of us who are decidedly fucked in the head and primarily perk up only to the sleazier/more dysfunctional aspects of the human condition. For instance, there is a scene where Jaime manipulates his babysitter into washing his back while discussing with her how often his Mom washes him all over even when he isn’t dirty, then he eagerly inquires as to whether or not she enjoys washing him as well.
*shiver, shudder, shiver…FUCK YEA, HOT MOMMY INCEST*
Jaime and his talking Teddy were the highlights of the movie, without a doubt. You couldn’t help but feel for a kid who routinely tried his ass off (to no avail) to make friends and whose own parents seemed to fluctuate between hostile and indifferent if not molest-y. His social ineptitude served to brand him with a scarlet FREAK across his chest to not only his peers but to the townsfolk as well. Not that he didn’t earn a bit of that on his own. Keep your eyes peeled for a brilliant scene where Jaime and Teddy play a nasty trick on the librarian. I will be quoting this movie for years to come. …”that’s a good Mrs. Livingstone…” That scene alone is worth the price of admission. I can’t quite figure out if it’s meant to be as funny as it occasionally is considering the subject matter, but it’s a real treat to watch if you have a bit of a twisted sense of humor.
For an early 80s Canadian horror movie (it repels the overt bacon-y stench by being filmed in Wisconsin) the pacing is pretty perfect. You’re invested in a unique, solid story and Sammy Snyders is a fucking dream to watch. He perfectly conveys a pre-teen pseudo-sociopath with a perpetual hard-on for older women. At times seeming misunderstood you can identify with the disappointed loner because come on, aren’t we all to some degree?
The creatures in the titular pit aren’t shown too much until later in the film and when we do get a decent look at them it’s not nearly as bad as it could’ve been. Little people running around in part boar/killer shrew/mini-bigfoot costumes aren’t exactly terrifying, but it’s effective enough. There’s a bit of blood and a handful of tits but regardless; there’s an overall profoundly creepy vibe present throughout thanks to a warped and openly sexually curious child. It definitely delivers in more of a mental-sleaze sense.
I detest spoilers so I am going to let this little-known treasure unfold before your very own bloodshot eyes. Trust me, I’ve given you plenty of reasons to watch this already and my word is fucking BOND, yo.
Come on though, guys. It’s a fucking movie about creatures in a pit and an awesomely creepy kid who exacts a little revenge. What the fuck do you think happens?
If you need any more reason to check it out and you happen to be a hardcore Cronenberg nerd; it’s the film debut of Sonja Smits. (Bianca O’Blivion fromVideodrome)
I know Anchor Bay put out a double shot DVD with The Pit and Hellgate which is actually on the collectible side right now. If you are as cool as I am you own it on VHS because you used to work at a video store that you routinely ripped off over a 5 year span.
If you can track this film down, please do! It’s funny, creepy, well-acted, original and that’s saying a lot for a Canadian/American one-shot horror film starring virtual unknowns from 1981.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.