Theatrical Release: October 23rd, 1981
Blu-Ray Release: October 18th, 2016
Directed by Lew Lehman
Review by Craig Sorensen
A true oddity from a time in genre filmmaking that seemed to create oddities at an alarming rate, The Pit is a one of a kind viewing experience. Surreally mixing horror tropes, comedy, sappy family-film music and a healthy dose of sleaze, the film defies conventional ideas of tone and genre to create a mind bending trip of a film. Sure, it’s not scary and when it tries to be funny it doesn’t really work but there’s just something about it that lingers.
Sammy Sniders (Huckleberry Finn and His Friends) plays Jamie, a young boy with no friends, a terrarium and a habit of sending librarians naked lady pictures cut out of books. Obviously he’s got a few issues. His parents need a damn vacation so they hire Sandy (Jeannie Elias of Sledge Hammer!) to look after him. Of course Jamie develops a crush on his pretty new babysitter. Between her football player boyfriend, mean old ladies and terrible little girls Jamie is having a rough year. Good thing he’s got a pit full of bloodthirsty troglodytes (or trolologs as Jamie calls them) to feed his enemies to.
The film shifts from psychological horror to monster movie to black comedy frequently and contains so many what-the-fuck-just-happened moments that conventional viewing isn’t really recommended. You really should have some friends and some alcohol handy when viewing The Pit. You’ll want someone there to help hold on to your waining sanity. And you’ll need a friend who understands when you call someone ‘clumsy stupid’.
Kino Lorber’s new 2K scan of The Pit looks gorgeous. I’ve grown up with this film through late night TV viewings to VHS to DVD. It’s never looked this good. The colors really pop here and they have maintained a nice sheen of grain that maintains a great filmic look. I have nothing but praise for this transfer. Audio is similarly good. I have no complaints at all. And holy shit, they produced extras for this disc! First, you get a very informative commentary track with Paul Corupe and Jason Pichonsky that details the history and production of the film. They get a few interviews with people who lived in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin in there so they did do their research. Also included are video interviews with stars Sammy Sniders and Jeannie Elias, an interview with composer Victor Davies and a final, bitter interview with screenwriter Ian Stuart. Unfortunately there isn’t a trailer included (was there ever one produced?).