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The Dead Pit (1989)

R | | Horror | 29 January 1990 (USA)
A renegade doctor is shot dead and entombed with his fiendish experiments in the basement of an abandoned wing of a mental hospital. Twenty years later, a mysterious woman is admitted with ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Gerald Swan
Cheryl Lawson ...
Jane Doe
Stephen Gregory Foster ...
Christian Meyers (as Steffen Gregory Foster)
Danny Gochnauer ...
Dr. Colin Ramzi
Geha Getz ...
Sister Clair
Joan Bechtel ...
Nurse Kygar
Michael Jacobs ...
Bud Higgins
Mara Everett ...
Nurse Robbins
Randall Fontana ...
Orderly Jimmy
Jack A. Sunseri ...
Head Orderly Jensen (as Jack Sunseri)
Frederick Dodge ...
First Patient
Nettie Heffner ...
Night Nurse
Luana Speelman ...
Day Nurse
Scott Malpass ...
Orderly #1
Skyy Diaz ...
Orderly #2


A renegade doctor is shot dead and entombed with his fiendish experiments in the basement of an abandoned wing of a mental hospital. Twenty years later, a mysterious woman is admitted with amnesia, and her arrival is marked by an earthquake - which cracks the seal to the Dead Pit, freeing the evil doctor to continue his work. Written by Brian J. Wright <tyrannorabbit@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When the dead start to walk you'd better start running... See more »




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 January 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead Pit  »

Box Office


$350,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (uncut)


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Did You Know?


The film sold well on video due to a gimmick on the original VHS: the zombie's eyes could flash green at the touch of a button. See more »


Boom mic visible on left side of frame in wide screen version during earthquake sequence when camera tilts down from ceiling into hallway. See more »


Christian Meyers: For dead people they sure are smart.
See more »


Referenced in There's Nothing Out There (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Head-Drilling, Brain-Munching, And Zombie Doctors; What More Could You Ask For?
1 June 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

THE DEAD PIT is a movie that seems to divide people on whether they like it or not. Straight zombie fans say it's too slasher-esque in the middle. Straight slasher fans dislike the zombie angle. I happen to be both, so I quite enjoyed it.

Dr. Colin Ramzi is a psychotic scientist who experiments on the patients at the mental institution he works for. His associate, Dr. Swan, has had enough, so he confronts him in his basement laboratory, shoots him in the head, and throws him in the pit where he stored the dead bodies. Twenty years later, a woman who calls herself Jane Doe enters the institution because the doctors say she has amnesia, yet she knows her memory was taken from her. She manages to befriend one patient by the name of Chris, who's in there for his habit of building bombs (Golly, I'll bet that won't come in handy later in the film!). Well, after a large earthquake, Dr. Ramzi and all the corpses in the dead pit awaken and wreak havoc on the hospital. Can Jane and Chris save the day?

I liked THE DEAD PIT. The movie had a lot of good things going for it, even though it doesn't fully utilize some of its potential, but as it stands, it's a fun ride. All the actors were pretty good, with the exception of Cheryl Lawson as Jane. She's fine during scenes where she just has to talk, but in her "emotional" scenes, like crying and such, she was horrible. She was a good screamer, though, and she was easy on the eyes, but she began to really get on my nerves after a while.

THE DEAD PIT is a very well-made movie as well. Director Brett Leonard obviously knew what he was doing, and it's no surprise he went on to do bigger things like direct the sci-fi film THE LAWNMOWER MAN. Leonard uses lots of fog and colored lights to build atmosphere, and he does so surprisingly well.

The gore is also top-notch, especially during a period where the MPAA basically neutered a lot of these gore films. There's a lot of gory brain-munching, head-drilling, and decapitations, courtesy of Dr. ramzi and co.

While the last forty or so minutes are pure zombie-filled bliss, the previous hour was one half characterization and one half stalk 'n' slash with some pretty good and nasty kills. This seems to annoy people expecting a straight-forward zombie movie, but I liked it.

Of course, the film does have its flaws. There are some obvious miniatures, especially near the end, but personally, the added to the fun for me. There are some slow parts, but that doesn't take too much out of it. There's also a REALLY obvious "twist" that I guessed in the first fifteen minutes.

Overall, THE DEAD PIT is a really fun movie that plays it straight, yet with a sense of fun all throughout. It's gory, occasionally funny (for both intended and unintended reasons), and some the characters are likable. Dr. Ramzi is a great villain, and the zombie effects are great as well.

Check it out.

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