The Dead Pit (1989)

The Dead Pit (1989)

The Dead Pit (1989)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Sociopathic doctor in a mental hospital finds fulfillment in torturing his patients until one day he is murdered and buried in the basement of that hospital for twenty years until an earthquake strikes the hospital causing the good doctor and many of his patients/victims to rise as the living dead and begin to torture and harass the new girl on the block.

Guessing from the fact that you did not stop me and that the nature of the review means that you literally could not stop me even if you wanted to means that The Dead Pit is probably not something you have seen before. Don’t change that.

The Dead Pit is the directorial debut of Brett Leonard (who was also the co-writer of the movie), who is probably most well known for directing a shitty Denzel Washington movie.

Despite the outlandish plot, the movie appears to crib a lot of its elements from Re-Animator – set in a medical building, glowing green stuff, though it is light in the case of this movie, a crazed doctor performing even more crazed experiments – but sadly it does nothing interesting with these elements.

The movie’s love for Re-Animator is even more apparent when you find out that the film was released in France under the alternative title ‘Re-Animator Hospital‘ and even used a similar font for the cover – check out the posters here to see what we mean.

The Dead Pit

The doctor will see you now

Anyway, back to the movie……The direction is the epitome of bland, with the camera barely moving and the compositions consisting mostly of just actors framed against a wall or a window. Granted, when one of those actors is Cheryl Lawson, who is one of the sexiest women ever to run around a mental ward in a crop top and Brazilian-cut panties, it is understandable, in a kind of gross way.

Here we have, again, a zombie movie where the zombies are hardly a feature. Much of Lawson’s character’s torture comes in the forms of dreams or visions of actual torture. When we actually see the main zombie, the evil doctor from the opening of the movie, we see that his skin is a little grey, the bullet hole is still in his head, and his eyes are a fluorescent red. I’ve seen many an interpretation of zombies in my day, but glowing red eyes has to be a first.

The main zombie featured in this movie is also pretty in control of his person, we see him carry a body over his shoulder at one point, and has total control over his actions as well. If I were the quibbling type, and I am, I would classify the “zombie” in The Dead Pit more like a demon. Zombies are diluted enough as it is, we don’t need other creatures coming into the mix and trying to steal our favorite undead creatures’ style.

The Dead Pit

The Dead Pit

Speaking of stealing style, The Dead Pit feels very much like a movie that is trying to be a trashy Roger Corman pic and a psychological drama in the vein of Halloween at the same time. While there is surely some overlap between the two, Leonard has neither the talent nor the care to pull that mix off here and ends up creating something that is merely connective tissue between shots of Lawson in her underwear.

In other words: If you want to see still images of scantily clad women, you’re already on your computer, so just cut out the middle man and don’t pay The Dead Pit any mind.

The Dead Pit‘ may have its many flaws, but it doesn’t shy away from blood and gore, so if you are a gore-hound who can stomach the plot and poor production, then you may find some enjoyment here.

Anyway, if like us, you are a a bit OCD and a zombie-completist, then check out the trailer and more of the movie below:

Watch the trailer for ‘The Dead Pit’


Watch the full movie: The Dead Pit:


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Written by: JJ Perkins