Monday, September 1, 2014

The Pit (1981)

The Pit (1981, directed by Lew Lehman, screenplay by Ian A. Stuart)

Review By Goat Scrote

     Give some respect to pint-sized homicide. Killer-kid movies have brought us countless hours of good times on the screen. The prototype of course is “The Bad Seed” (1956) and wicked Rhoda Penmark played by Patty McCormack. "You better give me those shoes..." If you haven't seen it, well, change that. Then there are the prepubescent savages of “Lord of the Flies” (1963 and 1990), the vicious little lunatics of “Devil Times Five” (1974), Michael Myers’ first kill in “Halloween” (1978), the evil trio from “Bloody Birthday” (1981), “The Children of the Corn” (1984 and 2009),  sociopath Henry Evans in “The Good Son” (1993), and the children in “The Children” (2008). My wounded inner child watches these movies and roots for the little psychopaths, of course, while my no-fun inner grown-up wags his finger in disapproval.

Starring a pre-pubescent Mark Arm in a whimsical role

     In “The Pit” we meet elaborately fucked-up tween Jamie (Sammy Snyders). When he stumbles on a foolproof method for disposing of people he doesn’t like, he does what any normal 12-year-old boy would do and goes on a killing spree. By coincidence, it happens that he’s also an accomplished junior pervert. He’s like a child prodigy at stalking and voyeurism.

     The movie is badly made schlock (surprise!) but it has a ridiculous and somewhat grimy appeal. His mentor in evil is a talking teddy bear. Jamie’s murder weapon? A pit full of shaggy monsters who resemble balls of hair with glowing eyes. “They don’t eat chocolate bars. You know what they eat?” He’s got a long list of antagonists: Nosy old ladies; A bunch of other kids who are nearly as horrible as he is; All the super-hot MILFs who don’t appreciate his sexual advances; And the ghost of a sexy co-ed babysitter. When they made this early-80s Canadian relic, they threw a lot of shit at the wall just to see what would stick. None of it actually works very well but there’s some pretty good entertainment value from watching the whole terrible mess slide toward the floor.

It's an ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT human meat buffet!

     Jamie is having a pretty rough puberty. He sexually fixates on his much older teacher Mrs. Lynde (Sonja Smits, or Bianca O'Blivian from Videodrome, Crank the ed.) in a big-time creepy way. He cuts up naked pictures of women and pastes them together with her face, then sends his arts-and-crafts project to her as a sign of his interest in her lady parts. He is totally bummed out when this weird love note doesn’t result in some kind of sexy “Dear Penthouse, I never thought it would happen to me…” scenario.

He's got all the lurid charm of a junior Ed Gein

     The day isn’t a total waste for Jamie, though. He gets a new babysitter, Sandy (Jeannie Elias), and she quickly gets added to his list of sexual fixations. Jamie’s evil talking teddy bear tells him how to get a glimpse of some babysitter skin at bedtime, but she can see right through his crude ploy and it gives her the creeps. She’s afraid to fall asleep with Jamie around, and rightly so! Later he tells her about a pit in the woods, and the monsters who live inside. He calls them “trollogs”. She assumes that he is talking about imaginary friends so she plays along.

You're getting very...sleeeeppy

     Teddy cajoles Jamie into doing things that he definitely shouldn’t, and then rationalizes the behavior for him afterwards. Maybe the visions Jamie sees (other than the pit-monsters) are figments of his disturbed imagination, but maybe Teddy is supposed to be a demon-possessed toy and the ghost later on is not just Jamie's guilty conscience talking. Who knows.

     His advances toward his babysitter get more and more invasive and inappropriate, and when she tries to get him to stop he just asks if he can have a photograph of her. Sandy, take the hint and get outta there, girl.

It's high time for a restraining order!

     Eventually he gets to see his teacher naked despite his failure to woo her with pornographic collage. Imagine this: Some little kid on the phone wants you to take off your clothes in front of the window and he says he has kidnapped your niece. The obvious thing to do is... obey without question??? Okay, that's not the course of action I would have started with, personally. She's pretty gullible for a schoolteacher. Abergail the niece (Andrea Swartz) comes home and catches Aunt mid-strip-tease. The poor lady finally figures out that she has been pranked, but she’s simply way too dumb to figure out which neighborhood 12-year-old is so obsessed with her naked body that he would do such a crazy thing.

Please deposit another nickel so I can do the "Filthy Hully Gully" 

     Jamie’s first murder victim is Abergail, for the sin of refusing to let him ride her bike. She’s actually rather nasty so she’d be a perfect love-match for Jamie, but he only has eyes for older women it seems. After he figures out that the trollogs eat raw meat, he lures Abergail into the woods and convinces her to walk right up to the edge of the pit… whoopsie.

Need a cheap graveyard to dump those pesky relatives?

     Next in line to become trollog chow is Miss Oliphant (Lillian Graham), an elderly wheelchair-bound lady. She tattled on Jamie and therefore must die. He hijacks her wheelchair and takes her for a cross-country ride. She screams and waves her arms the entire way to the pit. That was my favorite part of the whole movie.

     Soon the babysitter’s boyfriend and a couple of school bullies join the feast, too. Sandy suspects Jamie has something to do with the disappearances. She slaps the kid (not nearly hard enough) but then apologizes and agrees to go see the trollogs. When she discovers they are real, she wants to let the world know so they can be studied. Then Sandy slips, completely by accident, and the creatures drag her down. The kid is heartbroken as the trollogs tear Sandy apart and eat her bloody remains in front of him.

     Now even his parents think he might have had something to do with the disappearances, but he makes up a story for the cops about a man with a mustache in a car that was yellow... or maybe green. His dead babysitter appears and tries to convince him to tell the truth. It turns out that Jamie has a plan. The cops follow a short trail of clues and discover all of Jamie’s murder souvenirs stashed in a car that belongs to a guy with a mustache, including part of a child's ballerina costume, nudie polaroids of Mrs. Lynde the teacher, and Miss Oliphant’s wheelchair. What a frame job! I can’t help but be impressed with Jamie's unmistakable talent for unwholesome crimes. I bet Teddy helped out.

OK, round up every Girl Scout selling Tra La Las in for questioning just in case!

     Jamie figures out that he should quit while he is ahead. He feels he has run out of bad people to kill (already???) so he lowers a rope into the pit and tells the trollogs to take care of themselves. Sandy’s ghost appears again and gets mad at him, but the damage is done.

In life I was your unhealthy fixation, but now I just wanna know how to get these stains out!

     The next part of the movie just kind of wanders off and forgets that Jamie was ever there. The trollogs stalk and slay townsfolk in troll-o-vision. The cops start finding bloody bodies strewn around the county and witnesses report small hairy deformed people. The killing spree continues with some entertaining puppet mayhem. The trollogs take a plentiful supply of fresh bodies to the pit. Unfortunately, a posse follows the trail of blood to their lair, guns the trollogs down, and fills in the pit with a bulldozer. Sheesh, wasn’t anyone other than the dead co-ed even a little bit curious about this incredible discovery?

You gotta pay the Troll Toll, Ach you know the rest!

     In the final scene, Jamie’s family has moved to a new town and he meets his “step-cousin” Alicia. Finally, somebody is being nice to him for a change! She leads him into the woods and shows him the big old pit that she found. Jamie stares into it in shock. “They’re trollogs, they eat people!” he says. “Yes, I know,” she responds, as she slips up behind Jamie... whoopsie!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...