The Pit (film)
|Directed by||Lew Lehman|
|Produced by||Bennet Fode/John F. Bassett (executive producer)|
|Written by||Ian A. Stuart|
|Music by||Victor Davies|
|Edited by||Rik Morden|
|Distributed by||Amulet Pictures/Ambassador Film Distributors/New World Pictures/Embassy Home Entertainment|
|Release dates||October 23, 1981|
|Running time||92 min.|
Jamie Benjamin is a misfit 12-year-old boy, whipping boy of his classmates, of the other kids of the city, and of the grandmothers who live in his small town. When he encounters other people, they tease and ridicule him. His only friend is a stuffed bear named Teddy, with whom he regularly holds conversations. The audience hears Teddy's voice as he talks to Jamie.
On the cusp of puberty, Jamie develops an unhealthy obsession with girls. Thus, when his parents go away on a business trip and leave the attractive psychology student Sandy O'Reilly to babysit him, he falls completely in love with her. His lust for her is first revealed when he drops his napkin at the dinner table and when he reaches for it, he uses the opportunity to look at Sandy's panties.
During one of his conversations with Sandy, Jamie asks her if she can keep a secret. Jamie reveals that in the forest, he has found a pit full of mysterious creatures, which he calls "Tra-la-logs", which he takes care of by feeding them raw meat. He steals money from Sandy's purse in order to obtain meat for the creatures. Teddy suggests feeding the people who tormented him to the Tra-la-logs, and Jamie takes his advice. After he runs out of people, he takes Sandy to the pit, where she accidentally falls in and is eaten by the monsters. Heartbroken and angry, Jamie lowers a rope into the pit, and the Tra-la-logs escape. After rampaging through the town, they are shot by the local militia and buried in the pit. In order to avoid panic, the killings are blamed on "wild dogs". Jamie goes to live with his grandparents, where meets a girl who knows of another pit in the woods. She promptly pushes him in.
- Sammy Snyders as Jamie Benjamin
- Jeannie Elias as Sandy O'Reilly
- Sonja Smits as Mrs. Lynde
- Laura Hollingsworth as Marg Livingstone
- John Auten as Library Janitor
- Laura Press as Mrs. Benjamin
- Paul Grisham as Freddy
- Wendy Schmidt as Christina
Ian A. Stuart's original screenplay was considerably different from the final film. In his screenplay, Jamie was 8 or 9 years old, and the Tra-la-logs were figments of his imagination. When Lew Lehman signed on to direct, he made Jamie older, the monsters real, and added more humor to the original script. Stuart has expressed dissatisfaction with the final result.
The film received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave at the film 42% critical who liked watch the movie. He was shot in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and released in theatres in 1981. Due to its unusual premise and Sammy Snyders' effective performance, it has retained a small cult following.
Teddy by John Gault is a novelization of the film published in 1980. It appears to be adhere closer to Ian A. Stuart's original screenplay than the finished film, containing more character development and a far darker tone.