The Disc Jockey 

Evil teddy bears, zombie goldfish and Horshack

Evil teddy bears, zombie goldfish and Horshack

It's a scary world we live in. And while horror films about random shocking violence and inescapable curses are very much in tune with our times, what about the daffy horror that, through ridiculousness and energy, speaks power to the more surreal terrors that lurk in the subconscious? The horror that envisions being fed to monsters, or learning that power over life and death is contained in a cheap bauble, or trying to remove a straw from its wrapper by bracing it against your leg only you do so too hard and the straw stabs into your leg and sprays you with your own blood. Two of these three things can be found in this week's Schlock Treatment Gold Star Winner, a DVD that will enable many diseased minds to retire near worn-out VHS tapes after so very many years.

The Pit could have been a twisted psychodrama about an autistic boy who feels the need to kill. The Pit could have been a daffy horror romp about an evil talking teddy bear and the nefarious deeds it persuades its owner to undertake. The Pit could have been a creature feature about carnivorous monsters living in the woods. Fortunately for the civilized world, The Pit is all three of those things, the deranged story of Jamie (Sammy Snyders, who will haunt you and make you scared of children), a disturbing little boy who has been listening a little too closely to his psychopathic teddy bear. The fact that a mysterious race of monsters is actually living out back (called Tra-la-logs) should be of no comfort to anyone, really. This kid is bad news, with all sorts of pervy tendencies and a very short fuse when it comes to luring, chasing, or forcibly rolling his enemies (in a wheelchair, in a very funny parallel to the final dance through the mountains with Death in The Seventh Seal) to the titular pit for some monster snacks. Also, Sonja Smits, Bianca O'Blivion from Videodrome, is in this too.

The lovable freaks at Anchor Bay Entertainment are big on preserving classic horror and exploitation fare, and the number one rule of exploitation cinema is to give the customer value for their dollars. Keeping this in mind, Anchor Bay's disc of The Pit is a double feature, stacked with another gem from the library of New World pictures. The other feature is called Hellgate, and it has some things worth mentioning as well—for instance, Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter. Maybe even a motorcycle gang up to no good in a physical space where the supernatural is afoot... Also, exploding zombie goldfish. Truthfully, it isn't just goldfish who become exploding zombies (lots of things become exploding zombies in this no-budget romp through goredom), but is there any phrase in the English language that promises as much as "exploding zombie goldfish?" You know there isn't.

Regardless, here's two of the 80s weirder cult horror offerings, on one disc, for around thirteen dollars. Both films feature new anamorphic widescreen transfers and fuck all else, but again, it is a textbook example of value. Both films would stop a channel-surfer dead in their tracks, so why not eliminate the middle man of network programming? This is not essential cinema, certainly, but your life really isn't complete until you've seen The Pit, this much you can be assured of.

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