‘I don’t think there’s a law about
turning dead people into pigs!’
Pigs is one of those films that seems to have so much going for it, but still manages to blow any goodwill by being really rather boring. Not that you would guess that from the first 5 minutes, which packs in more ludicrous incident than most other nasties manage over their full running time!
A father and daughter throw a ball. They seem to be having too much fun doing this tedious activity. Suddenly she’s older and he’s squeezing her bum. It’s weird. Soon he’s raping her and she stabs him to death.
This is the first two minutes.
She’s in a hospital now, but escapes when a nurse in massive granny panties sneaks off for some nookie with a doctor. It’s unclear how she escapes and drives off in a car, but it rarely pays to ask questions like that.
Welcome to minute five of Pigs. It’s all downhill from here, although it’s not a steep downward slope. More of a gentle incline. And who wants their horror movie to be a gentle incline?
The daughter, Lynn, ends up staying at the house of pig farmer and diner owner Zambrini, where she gets a job as a waitress. Lynn is crazy and believes her father is still alive, while Zambrini murders young girls and feeds them to his pigs because…well, I’m not really sure. I already told you, don’t ask questions! The pair form a strange bond, each protecting the other from the prying eyes of neighbourhood snoops and the police.
Would this be a good time to mention that Zambrini is played by writer/producer/director Marc Lawrence and Lynn is played by his real-life daughter Toni? Lynn’s daddy obsession with a man played by her father makes for a pretty queasy cocktail, and scenes with her seducing men in a skimpy negligee can be quite uncomfortable with the knowledge that her father is behind the lens. It’s something Dario Argento would take further with his daughter Asia in Trauma, and then take even further in The Stendhal Syndrome. That said, Hollywood veteran Lawrence gives a great nervous performance as Zambrini, and Toni gives off appealing Jamie Lee Curtis vibes.
There are a couple of murders, filmed in that unique 70s style of fish eye lens extreme close-ups and an amusing bit with Zambrini hiding a severed hand from the nosy cops, but it’s mostly uneventful. Oddly, the film features several parallels with 1974’s Axe – a young girl in a farmhouse with an older man, who seems to be losing her mind while murdering men with razors. The difference between the two is that Axe tries for a more artistic, almost arthouse approach and Pigs feels more like a tv movie. Also, Axe runs about 20 minutes shorter than Pigs, which always helps.
I guess if you have to see it, see it for the theme tune, which memorably combines squealing electric guitar with the Jew’s harp (used in so many spaghetti westerns) and is played many, many times throughout.
On second thoughts, maybe don’t bother.