Pit, The (1981)


Pit, The (1981)
: Sam Snyder, Jeannie Elias, Sonja Smits
Director: Lew Leham
Nutshell:  A sex obsessed 12 year old kid discovers some new friends in a Pit and kills to feed their appetite while exacting his own personal revenge.


Jamie is a 12-year-old boy with sex on the mind.  He is a clearly a bit of a loner who lives largely in a world of a his own.  He doesn’t have any friends other than a stuffed teddy bear who is in only confidante and companion.  His obsession with older women and sex and adult books lands him in trouble and his parents are fed up dealing with his embarrassing interest and are relieved to go away and leave Jamie in the hands of a new live-in baby sitter who will soon have to deal with Jamie’s carnal obsessions.  Teddy (Bear) advises Jamie in his attempts at playing Peeping Tom, a skill that he takes to with ease.

Jamie likes his new baby sitter enough to her about his secret about the “Tralalites” he has discovered living in a pit not far from where they live.  He has given them this name as an alternative to Troglodytes but Jamie’s excitement is met with total indifference from the baby sitter who doesn’t believe a word he says.  Little does she know that Jamie has indeed discovered a Pit inhabited by four strange ewok-like creatures with sharp teeth and glowing eyes and he is busy trying to befriend them as nobody else ever wants to be his friend.  In fact, most of the locals are pretty nasty to Jamie especially a neighbouring girl with a shiny yellow bike who is a total bitch as well as a wheel chair bound old lady who has nothing nice to say either.  The only solace and warmth Jamie has in his life comes from his Teddy, nobody else appears bothered.

Released in an era dominated by Slasher movies, The Pit rips up convention to deliver a truly oddball black horror comedy that is as entertaining as it is strange.  Jamie is both sympathetic and yet repulsive and clearly has an obsessive interest in sex and especially older women.  He kills ruthlessly but apologizes after committing the act like a good boy should and his kills are all for a good cause; to feed his furry friends, the Tralalites down in the pit.  As their meat consumption increases so does their size and eventually they emerge from the Pit much to the horror of the local community.

The film comes across as a warped little fairy story about the struggles and growing up pains of an underdog kid who doesn’t quite fit the label of “normality”.  It’s a goofy little horror movie with a weird sexual undercurrent and nasty monsters in a pit.  The film had a hard time finding distribution because of its sexual theme and the fact that the main protagonist is a 12-year old boy however the film never delves deeply into the sexual issues nor does it dwell on Jamie’s schizophrenic interaction with his Teddy Bear and nor does it care to explain how Jamie grew to become such a weirdo.

Overtly though, the film is a whimsical and warped little horror film about an evil misfit child with an obsession with sex who has discovered some creatures in a pit who he views as potential friends in a world where he is met with rejection at every turn.  It’s neither scary nor particularly gruesome but manages to remain mildly compelling throughout its running time largely due to Sammy Snyder’s rather compelling character and his effective acting.