BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
American character actor Marc Lawrence is no stranger to genre fans. Just Google an image of him and you will see that recognizable mug of his. Your mind will immediately race to a series of “wasn’t he in…” recollections. And, yes, you are probably correct in rattling off the many wonderful flicks he’s been in through the ages. He was often cast as the villain and has been in over 45 movies, including two Bond films. From The Asphalt Jungle to From Dusk till Dawn, his was usually the face of the gangster-driven underworld. But what he really wanted to do was direct…
…which brings us to Pigs (or The 13th Pig or Daddy's Deadly Darling or Daddy's Girl or The Strange Love Exorcist or Roadside Torture Chamber or Bloodpen or Horror Farm or any other name the film has been released under). While Pigs is technically his second feature (his first being Nightmare In The Sun, made with Aldo Ray, in 1965), it certainly feels like a debut film from a fast-rising Horror talent. It’s a shame he didn’t do more.
The year was 1972 and the B-movie was on the rise as exploitation flicks were gaining more and more audiences. This truly was the golden age of the independent B movie and there was no better way to capitalize on the rising crush of the vegan movement then by creating a movie about flesh-eating pigs. Yep, you read that correctly. The pigs in this thriller eat humans.
Written by Lawrence, Pigs is about a strange farmer, Zambini (also Lawrence), who operates a motel/diner in a sleepy backwoods California town. He's down-on-his-luck, but entertaining enough to be around...as long as you aren't his neighbor. He also has a mess of hungry hogs he has to regularly feed. You’d think that some scraps from all the meals he makes at the diner would be adequate. It’s not. They have a special diet and, at night, they are the loudest. Always hungry. Always feeding.
Zambini has big, bad secret about the special ingredients in the slop he feeds to his pigs. And a young woman named Lynn Webster (Toni Lawrence, Marc’s daughter) is about to discover what it is and how it is connected to some of the missing people reported in the area. Of course, what she does with the information – herself being an escape from a mental hospital – might be the most horrifying aspect of the movie.
While Pigs is certainly all over the place with storylines and characters such as the town’s sheriff (Dan Cole) and all Zambini’s suspicious neighbors, the film remains a disturbing look at carnivorous activity. The pigs in the picture are dirty, loud, and act as wide-eyed and as wild as one can imagine. Some of the claustrophobic shots by Glenn Roland (Ilsa She Wolf of the S.S.) are equally disturbing as Lynn starts plotting out murders in very cruel and castrating ways toward any man who gives her ANY attention. The kill scenes are basic and brutal. The corn syrup flows freely.
Pigs might not be the best film exploitation horror ever had to offer, but it is one of the era’s most memorable. There’s no nudity mind you, but the blood lusting elements are all in place to make this a murderously good time. The eerie country-pop songs in the soundtrack – written by composer Charles Bernstein – help to create a very odd atmosphere around the entire film, isolating (and maybe protecting) it from harsh critical comment. The lyrics reflect the storyline that then reflects upon the culture, making it a meta-minded genre flick about daddies and daughters and deadly little piggies who go oink, oink, oink for ears and fingers and toes...
…this little piggy had roast beef…
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 80 mins
Director: Marc Lawrence
Writer: Marc Lawrence
Cast: Toni Lawrence, Jesse Vint, Catherine Ross
Tagline: A mad man... A psycho killer... And mean cannibal pigs... All together in the scariest film you'll ever see!!!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Would you please drive me home?"
Theatrical Distributor: Aquarius Releasing
Official Site: https://vinegarsyndrome.com/shop/pigs/
Release Date: April, 1972
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: March 29, 2017
Synopsis: Lynn Webster is a mysterious and beautiful young woman with a deadly secret. After arriving in a secluded California town, she takes a job as a waitress for Zambrini (Marc Lawrence), an elderly former circus performer who runs a small cafe, complete with a pen of 12 hungry pigs. Local legend has it that his pigs only eat human flesh and that in order to satisfy their growing appetites, Zambrini has begun to murder drifters. Soon the sheriff (Jesse Vint) begins to get suspicious of the strange goings on at Zambrini’s farm and grows closer and closer to discovering the shocking truth of the pigs.
Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray - March 29, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc Two-disc set DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback
Newly scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm interpositive with select shots sourced from 35mm theatrical prints, Pigs is presented on a region free disc in 1080p with solid results. The 1.85:1 aspect ratio showcases the visual upgrade quite well. Black levels are consistent and solid and shadows are a bit more defined than previously seen. The color spectrum is warmer and, as there are now noticeable details in clothing, very much appreciated.
While highly recommended, it is sad that there are no commentaries for the film.
The blu-ray/DVD combo from Vinegar Syndrome is pretty interesting because it shows and explains why the film had so many different titles. The distrubtors were trying to make a buck off on horror idea that was selling at the time, so multiple opening were shot with different titles to see what worked. In one sequence you have an exorcism being performed with a pig as the devil and a woman screaming that she wants a “cock inside her” and in another opening we have an old man squeezing a little girl’s butt. All of this was to not only cash in on a craze, but to also provide a backstory for Lynn. Nothing really works, but it is interesting to see just how many attempts there were at creating an opening that worked with the popular culture. Also included with this release is reversible cover artwork by Chris Carofalo.
- Featurette w/ actress Toni Lawrence
- Featurette w/ composer Charles Bernstein
- Audio interview w/ cinematographer Glenn Roland
- Promotional artwork gallery
- Alternate ‘Exorcism’ opening sequence
- Alternate ‘Daddy’s Girl’ opening sequence
- Alternate ‘Daddy’s Girl’ ending sequence
- PIGS original theatrical trailer
- LOVE EXORCISM theatrical traile