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THE DEAD PIT (1989) **

 

“Jane Doe” is an amnesiac who gets checked into a maximum security nuthouse where an undead doctor is lurking in the basement giving patients cut-rate lobotomies and tossing their bodies into a mass grave, affectionately known as “The Dead Pit”.  When the zombies are resurrected, the undead inmates start running the asylum and they are HUNGRY; eating people’s brains left and right.  It’s then up to Jane and her crazy ass British bomber boyfriend to flood the Dead Pit with holy water so that the zombies can all turn into Cherry Jell-O. 

 

Zombie movies were pretty slim pickings back in ’89 so you had to take what you could get.  This flick doesn’t follow in the accepted zombie lore as its HOLY WATER that kills the zombies and not bullets to the brain.  While this doesn’t sit right with a zombie purist like myself, I do have to admit that the scenes of melting zombies were pretty well done.  I also quite enjoyed the scenes of the deranged doctor with glowing red eyes running around giving everyone lobotomies and extremely non-elective brain surgery too. 

 

Sadly there’s simultaneously too much and not enough going on in this movie.  It’s got tons of plot stuff (like Jane Doe’s secret past, the back story of her psychologist, and the real identity of the undead doctor) but there are way too many lulls in the action to make it truly worthwhile.  The scenes where Jane Doe hangs out with all the assorted oddballs and lunatics who are locked up in the loony bin pushes things into One Zombie Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest territory (or maybe Zombie, Interrupted) and the constant barrage of pointless psychoanalyzing, irritating dream sequences and annoying flashbacks don’t help.  Not to mention the fact that the running time is hopelessly inflated.  (There’s no reason on God’s green earth why a movie with the words “Dead” and “Pit” in the title has to be 100 minutes long.)

 

Luckily for the audience, Jane Doe walks around in her undies A LOT in this movie.  She’s also just crazy enough that she has a bizarre dream where she runs around in her underwear until a cackling nurse finds her, ties her up, and turns the water hose on her so we can see her luscious breasts.  If Jane had a couple more hot dreams like this, maybe it could’ve been a three star affair, but I can’t bear to give it more than two.

 

Director Brett Leonard later made such Hollywood fare as The Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity, which are no better and no worse than this mess. 

 

The undead doc gets the best line of the movie:  “I’ve done life, now I’m doing death!”

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