Movie of the Week: The Pit (1981)

More like movie of the year. Did I say year? Nay, Movie of the 20th Century. Ah, Pit, where have you been all my life? I only discovered you a few weeks ago, but it seems like we've been together forever.

This 1981 aberration is a Canadian production shot in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and as you'll often find with Canadian horror, it sustains a surreal and uncomfortable-yet-irresistible vibe throughout. The whole movie is from the perspective of little Sammy, who looks like an average 12-year old boy, but has the voice of a 50-year old alcoholic midget. Plus he likes to play sadistic psychosexual games with grown women. He talks to his teddy bear, but it's not so weird, because the bear talks back (and, in a sequence that I find to be very scary for its sheer oddity, it also moves when the kid isn't around). Plus there's the titular pit, which Sammy uses to dispose of people he doesn't like. Plus there are troglodytes (whom the kid affectionately refers to as "Tra-la-logs") living in the pit, eating anyone who is pushed in. Plus a lot of other things happen.

Call it a conflation of The Bad Seed, Private Lessons, Child's Play and C.H.U.D. In other words, call it the best movie you've probably never heard of before. You're welcome.

(a minor note: my one complaint with this superlative work of cinema is the first three minutes, a flash-forward that is entirely replayed later anyway. I recommend skipping ahead to the title at 3:07. And the teacher in the opening scene is Bianca O'Blivion, from Cronenberg's Videodrome).

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