THE DEAD PIT (1989) Reviews and overview

What do you think of this movie? Click on a star to rate it

The Dead Pit is being released on Blu-ray in May via Dark Force Entertainment. The company has announced that their ninth Deluxe Single Edition release will be The Dead Pit, featuring a brand new HD scan with extensive scene-by-scene correction.

Here’s our overview of the movie:

‘Drop in anytime.’

The Dead Pit is a 1989 American horror feature film directed by Brett Leonard (Feed; Man-Thing; Hideaway; The Lawnmower Man) from a screenplay co-written with producer Gimel Everett. The movie stars Jeremy Slate, Cheryl Lawson and Stephen Gregory Foster.


Doctor Ramzi, a medical deviate intent on torturing his patients, is seemingly killed and buried in the basement of a mental health facility.

Twenty years later, the hospital is running again and Jane Doe arrives at the institute. Upon her arrival, a major earthquake rocks the building and unearths the now undead Doctor Ramzi and his legion of zombie patients. Meanwhile, mentally retarded Catholic nuns attempt to exorcise the patients …


Dead Pit is an awful movie; yet, there’s something in it that just makes me enjoy it. Could it be Jane Doe’s ample hips? The doc’s glowing red eyes? The gore-soaked carnage? I don’t know, man. For every good thing I can name about this movie there are at least three bad things that immediately come to mind.” Steve Barton, Dread Central

“Leonard’s uninvolving psychological horror revels in shock effects and disrupted narrative logic, poured into the tired dreamworld and asylum settings of Nightmare on Elm Street and Hellbound.” Peter Dendle, The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia

Buy: |

“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.” The Video Vacuum

“At over an hour and forty minutes, Dead Pit is over-padded by half, and the zombie scenes seem to go on and on and on and on without the ample arterial spray that should accompany them.” DVD Talk

“This serious attempt at horror never quite hits its mark, evolving into a series of gory laughs, which is what is so endearing about it.” Adam Lukeman, Fangoria’s 101 Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Seen

Buy: | |

“If The Dead Pit sounds like it’s kinda silly and a little bit campy … well, it is. However, it’s also a lot of fun, the type of unapologetically trashy horror film that makes for perfect Halloween viewing. Director Brett Leonard makes good use of what appears to be a very small budget.” Horror Critic

Choice dialogue:

Doctor Ramzi: “I’ve done life, now I’m doing death!”

Christian Meyers: “For dead people they sure are smart.”

Main cast and characters:

  • Jeremy Slate … Doctor Gerald Swan
  • Cheryl Lawson … Jane Doe
  • Stephen Gregory Foster … Christian Meyers
  • Danny Gochnauer … Doctor Ramzi
  • Geha Getz … Sister Clair
  • Joan Bechtel … Nurse Kygar
  • Michael Jacobs … Bud Higgins
  • Mara Everett … Nurse Robbins
  • Randall Fontana … Orderly Jimmy

Filming locations:

Agnew’s Development Center, Santa Clara, California
Granett/Rideout Engineering’s Special Effects Studio, Santa Cruz, California


The original US video release from Imperial Entertainment housed the VHS tape in a relief cover that lit up the eyes of the main zombie when a button was pushed. This version was cut to receive an ‘R’ rating but proved a popular rental due to the promotional gimmick.

In France, the film was released on VHS by CBS/Fox as Re-Animator Hospital.

Code Red released the film on DVD on June 17, 2008. Special features include commentaries from Brett Leonard and late actor Jeremy Slate as well as interviews with both and Cheryl Lawson, the original theatrical trailer, and other trailers for upcoming Code Red releases. The version released by Code Red was an unrated director’s cut, featuring six additional minutes of footage.

Film Facts:

The film’s reported budget was a mere $350,000.

The recreational room in which Jane meets Chris is the same location that rock band Green Day shot their music video for ‘Basket Case’.

MOVIES and MANIA provides an aggregated range of film reviews from a wide variety of credited sources, plus our own reviews and ratings, in one handy web location. We are a genuinely independent website and rely solely on the minor income generated by internet ads to stay online and expand. Please support us by not blocking ads. If you do block ads please consider making a small donation to our running costs instead. We'd really appreciate it. Thank you. As an Amazon Associate, the owner occasionally earns a small amount from qualifying linked purchases.