96 min., 1981
Written by Ian A. Stuart
Directed by Lew Lehman
My rating: ★★★★
It’s a terrible movie with some really awesome spots.
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Our movie begins with a young boy in a “ghost” costume (it’s really just a sheet with eyes cut out) going up to an older boy and telling him about some treasure that he found. He says that he will show him as long as he is able to join the kid’s club and he doesn’t hit him anymore. The boy takes him to the place and while the older boy is looking at the “treasure” the younger boy pushes him in. We learn that the young boy is named Jamie Benjamin (Sammy Snyders) and he is twelve years old, but he has a stuffed bear he calls Teddy and he is constantly having conversations with. His parents are leaving for a bit and they hire a girl named Sandy (Jeannie Elias) who is good with “special” kids to take care of him. Being only twelve he is actually very interested in the opposite sex and after meeting Sandy he falls in love. So he decides to tell her a secret, you see he knows of a hole (the titled pit) that has some strange creatures, which he calls Tra-La-Logs, living in it, but the big problem is that they like to eat humans.
The acting is one of the biggest parts of the movie, but at the same time it is some of the best parts of the movie. You see most of the acting in the movie is downright terrible and the dialogue that they had to recite is just as bad. Most of them are either cardboard or extremely clunky, but then we have Sammy Snyders. This kid is great on so many different levels. At first you may watch his acting and think that it’s complete shit, but if you actually pay some attention you can see that he is really great. He is supposed to be twelve, but his maturity level is that of a sixteen year old and he is able to pull off both at the same time with no problem. The other great thing about his acting is that he is just really fucking creepy. The way he looks at Sandy is with both a childlike crush and full on adult sexual desire, and that just gives me an unsettling feeling.
There aren’t actually all that much in the ways of effects in the movie. You have the Tra-La-Logs and the stuff that they eat, but other than that, that’s about it. The costumes for the Tra-La-Logs are actually pretty good. They aren’t the best (along the lines of Troll) but they aren’t the worst (along the lines of Troll 2), so in the end they work well enough to get the point across but not look insanely cheesy.
In the end this is a really terrible movie, but at the same time it is a work of pure genius. The acting is downright terrible, with the exception of Sammy and the effects are just good enough, so you may be asking why I consider this a work of genius. There are a lot of movies out there where a kid (or even an adult) has an “imaginary” friend or object that they talk to and that object talks back, but this is the first time where I was almost convinced that Teddy was actually sentient. Yes I know that it just sounds very silly, but there is quite a few times where Teddy reacts as if it was sentient. One of the main ones for me is when Jamie “wakes up” Teddy and Teddy is actually groggy. It’s a small touch, but it helps out so much. The other thing that takes this movie and turns it into a genius is the ending. It’s a good ending and then you get the real ending which is just fucking great. There are a bunch of bad points about this movie but the surprisingly great parts (as few as there are) far outshines them.Have You Read...?