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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 »

Director:

Brett Leonard
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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

Drop In Anytime. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 January 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dead Pit See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut)

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the Code Red dvd release of the film, lead actress Cheryl Lawson reveals why her character spends a portion of the movie in just a tiny tank top and bikini panties. Apparently Lawson felt the normal-sized hospital gown made her look large, so she cut part of it off. The more her outfit was washed, the more the gown shrank and the underwear became tighter, much to the delight and amusement of the film crew. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Dr. Colin Ramzi: I've done life; now I'm doing death.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The U.S. release was trimmed of some gore to obtain an "R" rating. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A must see for Leonard fans interested in his filmography
27 December 2006 | by carlykristenSee all my reviews

The Dead Pit 1989 (*VHS "R") – Directed by Brett Leonard An evil doctor that experiments on his mentally ill patients is entombed in the basement of an abandoned wing. 20 years later, an amnesia patient known only as Jane Doe (Cheryl Lawson), arrives. An earthquake breaks the seal releasing the doctor to continue his dirty work. The dead patients also rise to wreck havoc.

The biggest complaint I heard from other reviewers was about Lawson's acting ability, which I do not think is that bad considering this is her first feature. She is not Scream Queen material though and would be better suited for a Lifetime movie. (She won acting awards for this role and has since had a long career as a stunt woman). And why is she running around in her underwear? Not only would this be considered unethical treatment for patients, but since when are bikini panties standard issue? She would be wearing granny undies. One size fits all… This movie suspiciously looks a lot like Nightmare on Elm Street, which was released 5 years prior to this. Our Jane Doe looks identical to Elm Street's heroine Nancy Thompson. And the scenes where she is running in a dreamlike state evading the evil man in her dreams… But what really made me take notice was the scene where she is following her recently deceased friend only to be lead to Freddy, uhhh….I mean the evil doctor.

This venture was a bit disappointing for director Leonard (Lawnmower Man, Feed) especially considering he co-wrote the script. There are a few script problems that should have been tweaked during script rewrites. Why do the doctors and nurses speak to patients like best friends? If there is limited funding for this mental institute, then why do they admit someone with amnesia and other minor illnesses? How likely is it that not one, but two patients are snooping around and solving mysteries? The biggest problem is that I guessed the surprise ending early on in the film.

And while the film touches on controversial subjects like performing illegal lobotomies on patients, but never digs deep enough to leave a lasting impression on the viewer. There were a few scenes cut from the R rated version I watched such as an open brain surgery. Hopefully these scenes will be added in the upcoming DVD release.

What stands out in the film are the top notch special effects provided by Ed Martinez. The zombies were the most exciting part of the movie although they come late at the 67 minute mark. You know the fun starts once the zombies emerge from the dead pit bald, rotting, and slimy. The patients later learn that a little bit of holy water goes a long way and we are treated to many melting faces.

My favorite scene was toward the end when the "good" doctor (played by the late Jeremy Slate) walks down a hall hearing this disgusting gurgling, choking noise. When he enters the bathroom, it is covered with blood and the nurse walks towards him looking not so hot at the moment.

Overall, I think they didn't try hard enough in the first part of the movie. With 2 writers on board, they should have been able to make a clever script with cool dialogue. They have a mental institution, a nun, amnesia, zombies, etc and they still struggled to make it interesting. Maybe they could have shown the orderlies and nurses being abusive towards the patients to make the first half of the film more dramatic and the zombies killing them in the second half bittersweet. Or why not add more religious themes since they had the nun patient blessing holy water? And if they insist on making Jane run around in panties, then why not sleaze it up to make it more fun? There were several different directions this film could have gone, but seemed to just tiptoe around the subjects instead of tackling them head on.

Favorite Quote: None. The dialogue was lackluster. And shamefully, it wasn't even goofy enough to make me laugh.

Extras: *This was the VHS version with no extras other than a few trailers at the beginning. (It won "The Best Video Box of the Year" by Entertainment magazine when it was first released). A special DVD release is in the process now with SFX artist Ed Martinez providing commentary and SFX extras. Commentary has already been recorded with director Brett Leonard, producer Gimel Everett, and the late actor Jeremy Slate. See the Ed Martinez Interview with HorrorYearbook for details.

To hear about the upcoming The Dead Pit DVD release and the unfortunate passing of actor Jeremy Slate, read distributor Code Red's Blog here: http://www.codereddvd.com/nublog/.

Bottom Line: A must see for Leonard fans interested in his filmography. Has some noteworthy scenes, but fails to be controversial or very scary.

Rating: 7/10 Molly Celaschi www.HorrorYearbook.com


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