aka: Re-Animator Hospital
Director: Brett Leonard
Starring: Jeremy Slate, Cheryl Lawson, Stephen Gregory Foster, Danny Gochnauer, Geha Getz
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A young woman has lost her entire memory and has been admitted into a mental hospital where she is being taken cared of by Dr. Gerald Swan. Not long after her arrival an earthquake erupts and reanimates something evil that lies very close to the hospital.
I remember doing a blind buy of this film back in the 90’s and I was quite surprised and happy with the purchase since it was a very enjoyable horror film that I had never heard anything about before it became a part of my growing VHS collection. However, revisiting it now nearly twenty years later, I can still say that it has something very good going about it, but it also a very flawed film.
One problem with the film is that it is very 80’s and feels a bit dated already (does that make me feel old or what…?). The acting is also subpar. Leading actress Cheryl Lawson is gorgeous to look at, but her acting chops are not up to par and that does hurt the film. After also having a role in The Vineyard the same year as this, she went on to be successful as a stunt double, still working in Hollywood today. The supporting cast is ok at best, it’s just not a very character driven horror film and the actors are neither very experiences or very talented.
On the more positive side, the idea of mixing “evil doctor” with the zombie sub-genre works very well here. The setting where this is filmed looks like an actual mental asylum and first time director Brett Leonard, who a few years later did The Lawnmover Man, does the best he can with it. The film isn’t very scary though, so don’t expect this film to keep you up at night. He does provide some gore and plenty of fun stuff to enjoy however so it is definitely a good debut of the young filmmaker. The dream sequence showing off Lawson in a skimpy t-shirt and panties are also a standout scene that surely will make any young guy very happy.
The Dead Pit is not mentioned very often and while it does have its flaws, it is still a fun 80’s horror film that fans of the decade should be able to enjoy. It’s probably not a film for the horror fan of 2014, but for us “older” people it is a film worth giving a go, especially if you have seen it at a younger age and have some nostalgic feelings for it. It works great as a guilty pleasure and it surely doesn’t deserve to be forgotten.