Talking teddy bears, bullies, sexual obsessions with women, and monsters that live in the ground. Welcome to The Pit.
Every once in awhile, you’ll watch a horror movie that’s so strange, so bizarre that you not only don’t know what you’ve just watched, but you have no idea how to actually classify it. This happened to me with The Pit, which is sort of a horror movie, I guess? It’s may also be part social commentary and comedy.
The Pit isn’t part of my backlog, but I felt that I needed to write about it.
What is The Pit about?
The movie stars Sammy Snyders who plays 12-year-old named Jamie Benjamin, a social outcast. The boy is bullied by his classmates, older kids, and adults as well, due to being an oddball of sorts. Jamie’s only friend is a teddy bear named Teddy, who speaks to him when they’re alone, albeit in the boy’s voice.
When Jamie’s parents leave for a business trip, they hire a live-in babysitter, Sandy O’Reilly (Jeannie Elias) to look after him. He soon develops an unhealthy infatuation with her, asking the woman to rub his back while bathing and going as so far as to watch her sleep.
Besides Teddy, Jamie has another secret that no one else knows about. He appears to be the only person to know about a pit deep in the forest that is filled with monsters, or “Tra-la-logs” as he calls them. Jamie keeps visiting the pit, talking to the strange creatures as they stare back at him through the darkness with yellow eyes. After a few experiments with different foods, he finds out that the Tra-la-logs eat meat. Raw meat, of course.
One by one, Jamie lures the people who have tortured him to the pit. As they look over the gaping hole at the creatures below, he pushes them in to feed the monsters. Each time the act delights him, regardless of the age or sex of the victim.
Apart from his murderous actions, Jamie also embarrasses the local librarian, forcing her to stand naked at a window while he lies about holding her niece hostage.
Is The Pit a horror movie?
The Pit is a strange movie, the kind that could have only been created during the 80’s. At first glance, it appears to be a full-blown horror film with gory deaths, dark scenes, blood, and monsters hiding in the shadows. But calling it a horror isn’t exactly true.
The movie contains a ‘troubled child’ story that centres around Jamie. He’s a kid that while bullied, enacts his own deranged feelings on others. This is primarily conveyed with his obsession with the live-in babysitter, such as the things he says and does to her. To him, there’s an almost love relationship between them, which makes him possessive.
Apart from the above elements, the movie is also sprinkled with scenes of comedy and over the top acting that feels more awkward than anything else. As a whole, The Pit is jarring and truly bizarre, but at the same time, it’s captivating. To use an old cliche, it’s like a car crash that you can’t look away from.
According to the original screenwriter, Ian A. Stuart, the movie turned out quite differently to what he had written. Director Lew Lehman changed up some of the aspects, making Jamie older and the creatures real. The novelisation of the film, entitled Teddy and written by John Gault, is closer to Stuart’s original idea, though apparently misses the mark in several places.
Do I recommend The Pit?
That’s a bit of a difficult question to answer. While I found the movie fascinating to watch, almost mesmerising with its B-grade acting and the strange string of events, I did quite enjoy it. If you’re a fan of films like Castle Freak and obscure horrors, then you should give The Pit a watch. If not, or if you’re only into mainstream horror, then the movie is probably not for you.
The Pit isn’t available on Google Play Movies to rent, but you should be able to find it on DVD, Blu-ray, and YouTube as well.