The Pit (1981) Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review



Creepy and entertaining for the most part but it loses its luster as the story progresses and becomes more of a comedy than a horror.

Synopsis: A solitary and strange preteen boy wreaks revenge on his harassers when he makes a disturbing discovery in the depth of a forest.

Review: There’s a kid on the block everyone tries to avoid and he’s the subject of whispers and rumors for every mother in the know. His name is Jamie (Sammy Snyders), a gangly 12 year-old boy, and he’s basically a sexual predator in the making. He steals nudie photography books from the library and cuts out photos and sends the cutouts to teachers he has crushes on, only photos of their heads are cut and pasted on the bodies. He’s a creep. He gets beat up at school and mocked and derided, and so when he comes across a pit in the woods and finds a tribe of troglodytes (he calls them “trollologs”), he sees what he thinks is his salvation. He lures bullies to the woods and pushes them in the pit, feeding them to the creatures within, but it doesn’t stop there: He also takes mean old ladies who make fun of him and chucks them overboard, and anyone else who crosses him. When his new babysitter (Jeannie Elias) tries her hardest to understand him and sympathize with his oddness, he falls into a dangerous obsession with her, and he confesses to her that he feeds a band of creatures in a pit in the nearby woods. She doesn’t believe him at first, and so he goes out of his way to prove to her that the pit exists …

For a while, The Pit is a creepy, true original of a horror film with some off-kilter coming of age themes, but then it ventures into outright comedy territory as the pit in question becomes a garbage disposal for Jamie’s unwanted relationships. The film greatly succeeds with the committed (and very weird) performance by Snyders, who at 14 when he shot this was required to get involved with some very inappropriate looking scenes with some of his costars, namely Elias, who plays his babysitter. If you’re a fan of bizarre exploitation horror movies (this one is from Canada), The Pit should do the trick. Directed by Lew Lehman, who never made another feature.

Just in time for the spooky season, Kino Lorber has just released a nice looking Blu-ray, newly re-mastered in HD, of The Pit. Long unavailable on DVD (Anchor Bay released it over a decade ago), this film has never looked better, and Kino’s release comes stocked with special features, including an audio commentary by several film historians and specialists, newly filmed interviews with the stars and other members of the production, and a trailer gallery. Kino’s release is a worthwhile purchase for collectors and purveyors of fun horror films.