Still Crazy After All These Years – The Dead Pit (1989)

The 1989 picture, The Dead Pit is a splatterfest of blood, gore and horror that begins from the opening scene and continues to its very last, a movie filled with many a vile thing which is exactly what makes it so good. It concerns a demented and very mad scientist who has no qualms about experimenting upon the patients of the hospital where he works and when discovered, he is killed and laid to rest with the rest of his victims in the pit beneath the institution. A person has to wonder just why it is or what it is that drives so many scientists and doctors to go so mad that they want to experiment on other human beings, but be that as it may, it is the perfect fodder for many a film that would end up gracing the big screen. That ends up being only the beginning though as the said madman is soon walking the earth once again, ready to pick up where he left off.

For those that like a very visceral horror movie, The Dead Pit will satisfy in every way, there being absolutely no shortage of carnage throughout. From experiments on the brain to dismemberments and killings of every manner, the blood flows profusely and it rarely stops. Starring Cheryl Lawson as Jane Doe, she is more than believable as the woman in peril, a woman who has a secret buried deep within her consciousness that just so happens to play into the return of the villainous Dr. Ramzi. Danny Gochnauer stars as the crazed doctor returned from the dead, though just how he returns is never explained and one of the plot holes to be found within the film. Was it some sort of chemical exposure deep within the earth that somehow infected him and those that died by his hand or something else entirely? It is not as if the filmmakers leave a lot of room for thought on the subject as the pace moves the picture forward quite briskly, but it does cross the mind of the viewer at least a couple of times when Ramzi is carving his way through the hospital.

Also starring Jeremy Slate as the man who originally put Ramzi in the ground as well as being Jane’s doctor, he eventually meets his end which is almost choreographed to happen from the start of the film and does just as such quite gruesomely. There is almost a dark humour about everything, though it was more than likely not intentional as there is nothing actually funny about any of this, but there are moments where the acting by Gochnauer is a little ridiculous as well as a few of the chase scenes, but it is a minor thing in the larger scope of the picture.

At the end of it all, the movie does what few actually manage to do and bucks the trend by having an ending that does not portend very well for the good guys, there being no happiness present and no hands raised in victory. The Dead Pit is definitely one of the those vastly overlooked films that more need to see if a horror fan in the slightest, a movie that apologises to no one and revels in its excesses.

3.5 out of 5

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