Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pigs! (1972)

(Who is this woman? How did the pigs get shark's teeth? Wouldn't a "cannibal pig" only eat other pigs? Damn you, misleading posters.)

MAN RAPES DAUGHTER; DIES OF KNIFE WOUNDS, or so reads the headline of the local gazette to open Pigs! It seems like an integral part of the story may be missing though. In fact, Lynn, the abused daughter, does attack and kill her father and is immediately sent to an insane asylum as she has no memory of the event and in a running theme to the movie, will be constantly asking for her Daddy. Not long after though (we still haven't even gotten to the opening credits) she will escape while the attending nurse sneaks away for a tryst with one of the doctors, who might I add share one of the least convincing stage kisses I think I have seen...nothing but mashed faces.

Anyway, Lynn hits the open highway just long enough to pull into an unnamed little town and respond to a job posting at the Zambrini residence. Zambrini has a few problems of his own, namely, his pigs that developed a need for human flesh after some drunk allegedly passed out in their pen. Again, it seems like some information is missing here as this would suggest that a pig will literally eat anything you put in front of it and then need to eat only that one thing for the rest of its life. I guess we'll just go with it. Unfortunately, he really isn't very adapt at keeping this secret as the whole town seems to know about it which leads to the best (unintentional) gag of the film as the only skeptical citizen of this whole burg is the town sheriff who responds to complaints about Zambrini digging up graves and preparing the flesh for his pigs by stating, "I don't think there is any law about feeding corpses to pigs." You might want to double-check that, Chief.

Meanwhile, Lynn becomes the talk of the town and is sought after by just about every red-blooded male residing there. Of course, the abuse Lynn suffered at the hands of her father makes her mighty dangerous whenever another man tries to have his way with her. Soon enough, the slop buckets are filled to the brim while the sheriff very, very slowly realizes the town's population dwindling.

The lightning fast pace of the first few minutes (which could have easily made up the whole first act) immediately slows to a caterpillar's crawl once we reach the pig farm. Fair enough, as I will happily wade through a poorly crafted narrative to get to all those lovely shots of pigs tearing into humans that danced in my mind prior to viewing. Still waiting. Not that there aren't a few fun moments, like when the investigator trying to track down our escaped mental patient goes into the cafe and orders "a slice of yellow pie," Ummm...Banana Cream? Lemon Meringue? Whatever cowardice tastes like? We may never know. As well, there is a strange theory that is thrown out midway through about how the consumed bodies become pigs or that eating human flesh turns the pigs into some kind of zombie pig hybrid. It is not well fleshed out and if the whole point was that the pigs were supposed to be figurative and the insatiably sex-starved males were in fact the Pigs! the title suggests, then it was not adequately explained. But I think I'm giving the movie too much credit here. It is called Pigs! There's an exclamation point! Show me pigs!


  1. Excellent review....
    This film looks like something I oughtta check out, even if it's bad.

  2. Much obliged. View at your own risk.

  3. I think there's enough here where the pigs don't necessarily need to be in the forefront, though. We're horror fans, so we know how misleading posters and titles can be sometimes.

    There's some great meta-text here in that Zambrini is not only the director of the film but also Lynn's daddy in real life. He becomes her surrogate father through much of the film and what's with that crazy dream where it seems like he's going to rape her but then slashes her face instead?

    Lynn and Zambrini are both just batshit crazy enough to keep me coming back to this well, as well as the surreal and psychedelic vibe enhanced by the noise like score.

    I'd say give this one another chance. Although there are long stretches of boring here, there's great subtexts, sexual and otherwise, that makes it worth the watch. And even though the pigs aren't the beasties you want them to be, there's much symbolism which makes this worth it.

  4. I know, never trust a poster. Still, those are some crazy chompers on the lead pig.

    I did realize during the credit scrawl that the director was also playing Zambrini, but missed the shared last name with Lynn. Knowing their real life relationship would have definitely added to the experience.

    And I am now the proud owner of a not all that beat up VHS copy so I am sure I will travel down this road again someday. Will try to keep your remarks in mind when I do. Thanks.