The Pit (1981)

I have no idea what mania exists within Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, but that’s where this movie comes from and man, you know how people say that movies feel like transmissions from another dimension? They only think they know what they’re talking about and really wish that they had seen this movie.

Everybody in town hates Jamie Benjamin. The kids in school, other kids who don’t go to school with him, eben old ladies, everyone he meets either makes fun of him or abuses him. His only friend is Teddy, his stuffed bear, which may be sort of strange, as he’s twelve. And yeah, he’s starting to get into girls thanks to puberty, including his babysitter, who he soon takes to show one more secret.

You see, Jamie has a pit in the woods filled with Trogs that he feeds with raw meat. Teddy suggests feeding everyone who treats him badly to these monsters and Jamie agrees, but then Sandy gets knocked into the pit and gets devoured. A bitter Jamie allows the Trogs to escape and they attack the town before a militia kills them and he’s sent to live with his grandparents.

Is puberty a pit filled with hairy beasts that love to destroy human beings? This film believes that. It’s also a movie that has no interest in the thing you call real life. I mean, the original script definitely felt that way, as the Trogs were only in the mind of Jamie and not real.

This is the only movie Lew Lehman ever directed. He did write several films — Phobia — and for the Police Surgeon series, a TV show he also was worked on as the music supervisor. His wife wouldn’t allow him to shoot the nude scenes, so the story goes that the screenwriter shot them instead. The only shot involving nudity that Lehman was allowed to film was the skinny dipping scene and only because the actress was his daughter Jennifer, adding one more bit of weirdness to an odd movie.

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