Wednesday, December 8, 2010

80s Trash: The Dead Pit

Zombies.  Zombies.  I feel like I've seen this one before.  Is it a Fulci film?  No.  Does it star Jeffrey Combs?  No.  Is it at least Italian?  No.  Okay, so why do I care?  Oh right- it's obscure.  Yes, this movie is not that famous, which instantly attracts me to the film.  It's an addiction- I'm telling you!  The movie tells the tale of a young woman who ends up at an Asylum, only to discover that it hides the titular dead pit.  Why does it have one?  It's a lot to get into, so I'll save it for the review.  What is there to look forward to?  Lots of crazy people, very few zombies and glowing eyes.  I hope that's enough for you.  Get out your magic ring/plot device for my review of...

The film begins in the '60s with a doctor doing some bad experiments.  He takes a man from his room and through a secret door.  Who builds one of those in a mental asylum?!?  The lead doctor follows him and discovers that he has been messing with people's brains!  Oh yeah, he also has a pit full of dead bodies of those who he already worked on.  Besides being the title, this won't come into play for about an hour.  He confronts the evil doctor and shoots him right in the head.  I guess I won't see you ever again.  We jump to 20 years later and see a woman being taken to the Asylum.  Apparently, she has lost her memory.  Actually, she claims that it was stolen from her, as opposed to having amnesia.  Yes, because they would think that you're crazy if you had amnesia.  She meets up with all of the patients, including a British guy who appears to be fairly sane, an old lady that thinks she's a nun and others.  Most of these people just stand in the background and make random gestures/wander around.  Ah, the joy of being an extra.  Our heroine has issues too, as she begins to see visions of a dead doctor wandering around.  By the way, random earthquake.  The point of this: to set open the secret door.  Okay then.

As time goes by, our heroine starts to bond with the British guy.  Other than sort of being nice, he really has no character to speak of.  The bigger news is that people start dying.  First it's the kindly black nurse who actually was beginning to have a personality.  Time to die, bitch!  A bit later, one of the orderlies goes over to the abandoned wing of the hospital...for some reason.  He gets chased around a bit by the evil, undead doctor until he gets his throat cut (see below).  While all of that intrigue is going on, our heroine is getting therapy sessions from the lead doctor.  She apparently has a lot of repressed memories involving her mother and her father.  Of course, the movie is to cheap to display these memories, so we just get her talking about them.  God forbid you be creative, guys!  Therapy turns a bit dark when the young woman makes a reference to something that reminds the doctor of his arch-rival from twenty years ago.  British guy gets upset when nobody can explain the absence of the black nurse and puts up a fuss.  You're upset, but you might want to focus on what is to come still...

Ever wonder where the zombies are in this zombie film?  Well, after a lot of teases, they finally show up.  Why?  It has something to do with our heroine having unexplained psychic powers that allowed the zombie doctor to show up.  I can't really explain this, so let's just move on.  The zombies wreak havoc, leading to just our heroine, the British guy and the doctor on the run.  They run into the crazy nun lady who throws holy water on one of the zombies, causing it to melt.  Yes, they melt.  I could ask why the lady who just THINKS that she is nun can do this, but whatever.  The group splits up to enact their extremely-silly plan.  Basically, they're going to have the nun lady consecrate the water reservoir and then blow up the supports, causing it to spill into the building and kill the zombies.  Unfortunately, the doctor is killed and tortured by the evil, zombie doctor before this can happen.  They manage to take out the zombies, but one of them is left: the zombie doctor.  He confronts our heroine, stopping to explain that he is her father and the source of her nightmares.  Before you can decipher the obvious, the man is killed.  In the end, the young woman puts on the doctor's ring and gets evil, glowing eyes just like him.  The End.

This movie is not good.  I know that cult classics are supposed to be easy to love, but this one was not.  The plot is kind of stupid, with a weird idea behind it.  They don't give any real context to the whole idea.  The doctor tortured his daughter and stole her memories?  How?  It's not like he has Adamantium bullets or anything!  The big thing is this: they aren't that many zombies.  The film was obviously made on a low-budget and it's hard to get past that.  The actual zombies are kind of cool-looking, but nothing special.  With so many damn zombie films- especially in this time-period- you have to really try something new to stand out.  Remember Tar-Man?  How about the torso zombies from Return of the Living Dead, Part II?  Many of you may hate that movie- I don't get it, but whatever- but you can't deny how unique that effect is.  This movie is a lot of build-up to something we've all seen before.  In 1981, there weren't as many zombie films, but this is still kind of generic.  Plus, why did you have to mix the 'evil doctor killing people' plot with the 'zombies attack' plot?  Either one is perfectly-sufficient on it's own!  The bottom line: you can do far worse than this movie, but also far better. 

Next up, I finally tap into a market that I've ignored- Skunk Ape Horror.  Naturally, I pick one of the worst one possible.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I only like select moments in the film, but overall it is a real mess. The VHS had glowing eyes, that was my fondest memory of it.