December 1, 2016

Movie Review: Pigs (1972)

Pigs. Yes, the movie is called Pigs. Sure, it has gone by many names over the years, from The 13th Pig to Menu for Murder, to Daddy’s Deadly Darling, to Love Exorcism. It is one of those movies where when mentioned to mainstream loving friends will be received with a cocked eyebrow and a clueless stare. Rest assured, it is their loss for not knowing it and another notch in your belt for seeking out and watching obscure oddities. Yes, Pigs can and should be considered an obscure oddity. It is also another winning release from Vinegar Syndrome, plus it has some pretty snazzy reversible cover art by Chris at Quiltface Studios.

Pigs has had an interesting life since it first came out back 1972. To go along with those titles, there has been all manner of alternate footage, different cuts and different storylines entirely. They say that this release is the first time it has ever been presented in its original director’s cut form. This being the only I have seen it, I cannot quite compare the multiple variations, but this release does have a couple of clips from those alternate visions, and they do drastically change the feel of the movie. As presented on this release, the director’s version is definitely the one to see.

The movie was written and directed by Marc Lawrence, a well established character actor who appeared in a lot of movies throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s (More recently he appeared in movies like From Dusk til Dawn). This film feels like a mashup of stories, making something a little. It is horror, it is suspense, it has a psychological element, and I liked, despite having to take two passes through it.

Pigs centers on Lynn (the director’s daughter, Toni Lawrence, in her first role). We first meet her driving down a lonely, dusty road, stopping once to throw out a nurses uniform. However, I think I am getting a little ahead of myself. The movie actually opens with a man disposing of a dead body by feeding it to his pigs, all while telling the cadaver that the pigs have a taste for human flesh. The man is the proprietor of a small diner named Zambrini (Marc Lawrence).

Lynn stops at the diner and talks her way into a job as waitress. Zambrini quickly agrees, although it seems he has a history of taking strays like Lynn in, with intentions of making them pig food. This is all well and good for Zambrini, but Lynn is not your typical drifter. When she sees a straight razor she hears a strange lullaby, and whenever she gets the chance she is calling her dad who never seems to be there. What secrets is she hiding?

So, on one hand you have a crazy fellow feeding dead people to his pigs, and on the other you have woman who is acting more and more peculiar by the day. Then the killing starts and the local sheriff does not have a clue. I guess it helps to be a murderess if your boss is more than willing to help dispose of the bodies.

Everything builds and builds until the inevitable comes to fruition. Now, it may have taken me a little while to catch on, but this movie certainly creates an atmosphere. It is a very weird movie and not at all what I was expecting, based on the title, I was expecting a killer pig movie, but no. We get pigs that are fed human flesh paired with a female murderer running from a dark past and possessing a seriously cracked psyche.

Pigs is an oddity that is worth visiting. Now, if you really want to get a warped view of the film, watch the included alternate opening for the title Daddy’s Girl, or better yet, the opening for Love Exorcism, which tries to cash in on the popularity of The Exorcist.

The more you watch it, the weirder it feels, toss in the soundtrack filled with screeching pigs, and that seriously catchy theme song (performed by A Nightmare on Elm Street composer Charles Bernstein), and you will have one heck of a time.


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