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December 30, 2010

Midnight Movie of the Week #52 - The Pit

It's a scientific fact that people are incapable of paying attention to where they are in relation to other items.  Don't believe me? Go to your nearest place of retail, and look at the people in the parking lot and in the aisles.  watch them bump each other, or awkwardly react to each other, or crowd each other away from the items they're trying to buy.  Heck, earlier tonight I almost hit a dude with my car because he wasn't looking and then almost crashed into him 12 seconds later while walking into the store when he decided to just plain stop in the middle of the entrance.  For whatever reason, us humans don't react well to things that get in our path, and we thus put ourselves in danger's way.  It's like that horrible movie Crash, but without an Oscar for Best Picture.

Which brings us to our Midnight Movie of the Week (which is certainly not the celluloid hemorrhoid known as Crash), The Pit.  I offer the previous bit of scientific evidence only because one has to consider this when figuring out how our main character, a 12-year old weirdo named Jamie, manages to trick a slew of mean people into propelling themselves into a blatantly humongous hole that is at least the size of a late '70s Pinto. 
The pit that I speak of contains a few troglodytes (or "tra-la-logs", according to Jamie) which feed upon those whose spatial recognition could use a workout.  Jamie has good intentions, at least as far as he can tell, because he just wants to keep the cute little trogs alive and well fed while he makes the moves on his college-aged babysitter and the leotard-bound librarian down the street.  The bad intentions belong to his friendly teddy bear - appropriately named Teddy - who sounds a lot like young Jamie but has button eyes.
You would guess that that about sums up The Pit, as I'm sure you all followed that jumbled mess of plot points and bad analogies.  But it doesn't.  There's abuse of the handicapped elderly, there's creepy 12 year old stalker watching naked ladies moments, and there's even a bit of "college" dude with a perm/creepy mustache combo.  And at the center of it all is young Sammy Snyders (who previously played Tom Sawyer on TV) as Jamie who is as uneasy a character we've seen in horror.  This kid worries me, because he's basically the Rain Man of kids who trick people they don't like into falling into a really obvious hole.
Offsetting Snyders' Jamie is Jeannie Elias as Sandy, his collegiate babysitter who quickly understands that the boy (and his bear) have eyes for her despite their age difference.  Jeannie would go on to be the voice of Princess Toadstool in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, so it's easy to see why Jamie would be so intrigued by her.  There also has to be significance to the fact that Ms. Elias would later be the reason a plumber jumped over gaps, yet in The Pit is the reason why people are tricked into not jumping over gaps...but I have no idea what that would be.  On topic, Elias's performance is a great counterbalance to the awkward Mr. Snyders, and the strange dynamic between the two provides for some of the film's weirdest moments. 
You can probably tell by now that The Pit is one heck of an odd story.  There's the whole trogpit thing going on, and there's the whole 12 year old lusting after naked women and stalking them thing at the same time.  It's certainly never dull, because director Lew Lehman keeps the goofy thing rolling with something new coming on screen at every turn.  I'd probably never call this a smart film, but it smacks you over the head with its ridiculous ideas and never lets up.  And I dig that, all the way through the weird ghost images and the implausible ending.
So, if you haven't seen The Pit, you should seek it out as soon as possible.  It's got that '80s charm mixed with wacky twists, red-eyed monsters, and enough voyeurism to make Brian De Palma smile.  It's one of the most unique cheesy horror films I've ever seen.  If nothing else, you'll see an old lady in a wheelchair pushed into a pit of monsters.  Sure, that might not make you believe that the rest of these people would be so silly that they would unknowingly slip into a hole the size of a Dairy Queen...but I already told you about that.  It's science!


Morgan said...

Great review! I have been meaning to see this movie for quite awhile now. That little boy seriously creeps me out. Must be that bob cut.

The Mike said...

I have a feeling you'd love it, Morgan! It's so much fun.

Thanks for readin'!