Once the pigs tasted blood... no one could control their hunger!
Year of Release: 1972
Also Known As: Daddy's Deadly Darling, Horror Farm, Lynn Hart, The Killer, The Killers, The Strange Exorcism of Lynn Hart, Roadside Torture Chamber, Daddy's Girl, The Strange Love Exorcist
Running Time: 80 minutes (1:20)
Director: Marc Lawrence
Toni Lawrence ... Lynn Hart
Marc Lawrence ... Zambrini
Jesse Vint ... Sheriff Dan Cole
Catherine Ross ... Miss Macy
Iris Korn ... Annette
Paul Hickey ... Johnny
Pigs follows the misadventures of Lynn Hart, a mentally deranged young woman on the run from the law for the murder of her sexually abusive father. With nowhere left to go, Lynn takes a job in a small town diner run by ghoulish pig farmer Zambrini, who delights in feeding corpses to his voracious pigs. Even as Lynn settles into small town life she cannot escape her sexual psychosis, viciously murdering any man that tries to sleep with her. Zambrini, developing a fatherly love for the confused young woman, covers up her savage crimes with the help of his pigs!
Pigs... ya know, I kept expectin' the lead actress in this one to be captured by the asylum bounty hunter, drug back to the hospital, an questioned by Anthony Hopkins regardin' whether or not the pigs had stopped screamin'. Terrible, unspeakable noises come from the TV when this thing's stuck in the VCR. Kind of a combination of a slinky in blender an the aural consequences of Joni Ernst goin' to visit the ole homestead for the weekend. An speakin' of castratin' shrews, I got woked up at 6:08 in the AM this mornin' after only three hours of sleep by the sounds of Abel Pankins poundin' my door with the butt of his Winchester pump action an various deafenin' accusations regardin' my ethical integrity bein' shouted at 400 decibels. I guess you've all heard about what happened at the Gutter Bowl last week, when Mark Skidman (sucker) punched me out an Bambi Pankins (Abel's daughter) lept into action with an unsolicited/unwarranted attempt at mouth to mouth resuscitation. Well, this mornin' Abel was over at Hammer Time Hardware lookin' for a toilet flange, an overheard Fannie Ogglesby runnin' 'er mouth (as usual) to Duke Tankersley an generally spreadin' the story around town faster'n fraternally linked DNA in Alabama, an the next thing I knew Abel was on my front porch demandin' I "make an honest woman out of 'er." In case you dunno Abel, you prolly know somebody like 'im. The man believes with every Arthrofibrosified fiber of his bein' that Bambi's triplets're the work of divine intervention an that 'er honor/hymen've remained perfectly intact up to this point. He's also hadda be forcibly removed from the church for referrin' to Dollarhide as a RINO (Reverend In Name Only) for refusin' to order the congregation to stone Richard Fawner to death.
But anyway, there I was, inspectin' Abel's barrel for signs of any recent visceral blowback while he's shoutin' somethin' about Bambi becomin' a "fallen woman" if I don't man up an do the right thing. In my long johns, right in front of God an Skunky Hernandez, who'd wandered down to see what was goin' on after hearin' the one sided exchange from about half a mile away. It's a small miracle Abel had his safety on, cause neither one of us noticed Shankles saunterin' outta the crack in the door before he'd latched onto Abel's hind end an sent the 12 gauge flyin' through the air like a baton at a high school half-time show. See, Shankles'd spent mosta the night in my lap gettin' the caca burrs combed out of 'im, so he was pretty P.O.'d about bein' roused before he was ready to be up an about, even before you factor in that Abel's got the kinda voice that can bend steel. Lookin' back on it, the whole thing was kinda inevitable. Fortunately, without his gun, an with Shankles helpin' to remind 'im of his manners, I had enough time to explain that the illicit tongue nookie was in no way consensual, an that I wasn't gonna be marryin' Bambi without first receivin' several life threatenin' bullet wounds. I also reiterated my policy on women, which is that they just get in the way of a man's ability to enjoy classic cinema. Most women, anyway. I actually have a great time with Sadie Bonebreak when she gets sick of 'er girlfriend's clingdom an drops by with a movie she heard about from the choker setters on 'er loggin' crew. But anyway, Abel finally got the picture an quit screamin' long enough for Shankles to retract his canines, so everything's all sorted out now. I'm not sure he really believes me, or if he's even capable of believin' me, but he don't want his keister lookin' like a pin cushion anymore'n it already does, so I doubt he'll be back. Shankles's a real pain in the butt sometimes, but sometimes that's exactly what you need to get your message across. I mean, who among us enjoys gettin' their ass chewed?
In any event, what we've got here is the best kind of Troma movie known to man; the kind they didn't make themselves. But there's more to Pigs than just bein' one of the finest pre-Razorback killer hog movies, cause in its own way, Pigs helped to launch the nature run amok flicks that'd become so popular in the 70s. And when you really think about it, what was Eaten Alive (1977), but Pigs with the very same formula bein' tweaked to incorporate a gator instead of pigs? So let's not get all snotty about the IMDB ratin' or the shoddy production values on this thing, cause we're talkin' some serious cultural trendsettin' significance on display that deserves our respect an undivided attention. Now that we're all finished scoffin' an makin' baseless judgments about the cinematic integrity of Pigs, I'll allow you charlatans to bask in its wisdom an kick your IQ up a coupla points by runnin' down a few of its more enlightenin' aspects. First thing you'll discover, is that if the star of a movie happens to be the director's daughter, you might as well just forget about seein' 'er blouse bazookas bustin' loose. I don't mean to tell anybody their business, but I'm thinkin if you're tryin' to set your daughter up for a career in film, an you're leadin' off with a flick about a guy who feeds corpses to his livestock, lettin' 'er spring those suckers free might not just be in 'er best interest, but it's pretty well essential. Second, in the 70s, phone booths just kinda grew wild like skunk cabbage. They'd pop up anywhere that conditions were favorable. So it wasn't uncommon to find one in the middle of a sage desert where you were likely to see buzzards camped all over the power poles just waitin' for a guy to come crawlin' up without exact change. An third, you can significantly lower your long distance bills by just talkin' to the telephone operator's recorded message instead of usin' a valid phone number.
But the thing this movie really gets wrong is the part where the hog farmer becomes emotionally attached to his livestock. First rule of farmin; never get attached to your animals, unless you're legally married to 'em. Doin' so makes it dang near impossible to bash their skulls in with a sledgehammer when it comes time to part 'em out to Hickory Farms. An really, it's not so much the feedin' corpses to the pigs that I object to so much as the idea that this guy thinks he *has* to do this after they chow down on some sapien steaks an take a likin' to it. This kinda behavior only reinforces an animal's picky eatin' habits an causes all kinda trouble for the farmer in the long run. Seriously, if they're gonna be pig-headed about it an refuse to eat anything but ma'am chops, the farmer needs to just slaughter 'em an haul 'em off to Jimmy Dean's right then an there. So let's just tell it like it is; this man has clearly lost control of his operation. He's one busted fence post from this movie turnin' into a George Orwell novel, an he just goes with it like maybe he'll be able to fix things later. Shoot, Skunky Hernadez' got pumpkin seed for brains an even he knows better'n to let the animals launch a revolt against 'im. So I guess what I'm sayin' is, other'n the farmer bein' completely piggy whipped, the movie ain't too bad. The writer just kinda lost his grip on reality a little bit, which can happen when you're dealin' with a movie that you know's gonna have a huge societal impact. Project just takes on a life of its own an becomes too big for one man to hold, it happens.
The movie begins with this greasy sleazeball initiatin' Arkansas marriage consummation with his daughter (Lynn), til she decides she wants more outta life than to give birth to the cast of Wrong Turn an hasta stab Daddy right in the ole heartworm hotel to teach 'im some manners. Unfortunately for Lynn, there ain't enough hardware in Dick Cheney to fix that kinda pulmonary perforation, an she gets tossed in the quack shack. Fortunately, it's some kinda honor system home for people who stab their victims 47 times, an she's able to sneak out while the doctor's givin' the nurse a gynecological exam. Then Lynn heads down the road in the nurse's VW Bug to the tune of Strawberry Alarm Clock's "Incense and Peppermints," til she gets so far out into the scrub brush that tumbleweeds start attackin' 'er car an the music ends up devolvin' into the soundtrack from an old Quick Draw McGraw cartoon. Once she's pretty sure nobody's followin' 'er, an that the nurse's been thoroughly embarrassed by the loss of 'er hospital garb, Lynn ditches the randy striper's outfit an pulls into this restaurant that looks like it ain't passed its health inspection since 1956. Only the proprietor (Zambrini) is out back disrobin' a corpse to feed to the pigs cause he's part of a PETA splinter cell that turned rogue an went off the deep end wearin' cement shoes. So when Zambrini finally realizes Lynn's in his establishment askin' the wooden Indian about the dinner specials, he heads up there an offers 'er a job an a room cause he pretty much looks like the wax statues of John Saxon an R.G. Armstrong melted together in the heat an realizes she's prolly his best prospect for a future ex-wife. I think this scene kinda embodies how conservatives view the job market, which explains a heckuva lot. Elsewhere, the sheriff (Dan) is talkin' to these two old lesbians (Macy an Annette) who live next door to Zambrini, cause they think Zambrini's openin' up the barn door an lettin' his piggies go to market at night. Apparently it got real embarrassin' one evenin' when they were clam dippin' each other out in the back forty, cause at some point the pigs showed up an they ended up losin' each other in the confusion, but still managed to finish up the night satisfied. Meanwhile, Lynn's in bed dreamin' about Zambrini cuttin' 'er up into Beggin' Strips til she wakes up lookin' like Munch's Scream paintin'. Then she heads out to the pig pen where Zambrini goes apeshit on 'er an tells 'er never to go back there cause he's afraid she might catch a glimpse of one of his pigs wearin' lipstick an a bridal veil. Once he runs 'er off, this sweaty guy (Ben) from the oil fields comes in lookin' for a place to air some of the stank outta his John Deere hat an ends up tellin' Lynn about how Zambrini used to work for the circus til he took a header offa the tight rope into an empty dunk tank. Apparently when he finally came to, his face was fulla golf divots an he was runnin' this greasy spoon.
Course, Zambrini's listenin' to all this, so when Ben finally gets up an leaves a permanent 10W-30 Rorschach test on one of the counter stools on his way out, Zambrini asks Lynn if she believes what Ben said about 'im bein' insane in the membrane an she just kinda shrugs an tells 'im that she figures anybody who spends as much time in the sun as he does is bound to have a least a few of their Milk Duds melted. Then Dan shows up an asks Zambrini if Arnold Horshack an the rest of the sweat hogs're sneakin' out past curfew, before askin' to meet the new waitress so he can make 'er purt'near poop 'er nylons with a buncha questions about 'er VW Bug. Nobody 'round these parts can afford a fancy car like that if'n they lived to be a 100, so he's kinda suspicious. By this point, Lynn's wound up tighter'n an obsessive compulsive's rubber band ball, so once Dan leaves she calls up 'er Dad (area code 666) an tells 'im she misses 'im, but that she can't come home right now cause the church breakfast rush is about to start. A little later, Ben comes back in after findin' Lynn's discarded nurse scrubs an decides he's pickin' 'er up at 8 that night even though she's got a long standin' policy never to date guys with tan lines on their face caused by 70s cop sunglasses. Course, once they go out drivin' Ben gets a little pushy an starts slobberin' all over 'er, til Dan shows up an gives 'er the first place trophy for the county's annual wet t-shirt contest, an shines his halogen Deer Blinder 2000 in Ben's eyes an threatens to tell his Mama what was goin' on if he don't shape up. Then Dan drives 'er home so HE can hit on 'er awhile, cept that doesn't bother 'er so much cause Dan keeps his hands to 'imself an don't smell like an outhouse after a burrito feed. But the next evenin', Lynn invites Ben over an apologizes profusely for bein' a big prude an shows off 'er thighs a little bit so Ben'll forgive 'er an allow 'er the honor of gettin' rocked like a hurricane. Well, maybe rocked like one of those dust devils you see in the Safeway parkin' lot sometimes. But anyway, long story short, Ben ends up gettin' focused on the wrong kind of slit, which allows Lynn to whip out 'er straight razor an install all the gashes Ben could ever want all over his body til he bleeds out like a gut shot mule deer. Then Zambrini comes in an cleans Lynn up an listens to 'er talk about how Daddy went away, an Mommy tore the head off 'er Cabbage Patch Doll when she was 9 an told 'er nobody'd ever invite 'er to the prom cause she's got a nose like Gonzo from The Muppet Show. So Zambrini puts 'er in bed an tells 'er not to worry about nothin', an proceeds to drag the corpse out back. Although the pigs experience a moment of apprehension, they do eventually cannibalize Ben.
The next day, Lynn wakes up an heads out to the pay phone on Sun Baked Snake Road to have another heart to heart with 'er Dad, only the operator tells 'er his head's been disconnected an is no longer in service, so she hasta leave a message before havin' a freakout an goin' "wee wee wee" all the way home. Then Macy goes into 'er Gladys Kravitz routine an tells Dan that she saw Ben's truck pass by the night before but never come back, an that the cast of Animal Farm next door kept 'er up all night squealin' again, like teenage girls shoppin' for prom dresses. So Dan goes back over to Zambrini's place an starts askin' about Ben, til Ben's dog starts causin' a ruckus out by the pig pen because it smells Ben on some of the pigs' breath, an Zambrini starts sweatin' like Marlon Brando after two Habanero enchiladas on summer vacation in Guadalajara. But that ain't the worst of it, cause later that night Ben's oil rig toadies show up at Zambrini's place an kick the tar out of 'im in their cowboy boots til he sounds like somebody's twistin' bubble wrap every time he takes a deep breath. Then Dan shows up again an asks Lynn about the availability of 'er genitals for the weekend, while Zambrini's out dealin' with Ben's dog, cause by this point the last thing he needs is another squealer. The next mornin', this suit shows up at the diner lookin' for Lynn while she's dancin' like a carp tryin' to swim 'er way off of an arrow, but that doesn't definitively tip 'im off cause it was the 70s an that's how most people danced. But after consultin' his wallet size photo of 'er he recognizes 'er an tells 'er that everybody back at the psych ward really misses 'er, an that their softball team ain't worth a damn without her on the mound. This makes Lynn feel a whole lot better, so she decides she'd like to see how everybody over in electroshock's been gettin' along an goes to pack 'er stuff. Only about that time Zambrini drops by an tells 'er it won't be the same without 'er an gives 'er a goin' away card signed by Wilbur, Porky, Arnold Ziffle, Pumbaa, Babe, Gordy, an Mrs. Kermit the Frog til she starts tearin' up an decides to stick around an put lipstick all over 'er face like a Cherokee Indian on a buffalo hunt. Course, the only way the suit's gonna let 'er hang around is if the big giant headshrinker says it's alright, an when he tells the suit that this suggestion'd be about the stupidest thing anybody could possibly do without rollin' their 401K over into Bitcoins, Lynn hasta stab the suit til he looks like John Hurt in the breakfast table scene from Alien. Unfortunately, by this point Dan's discovered Ben's dog an has his beady eyes set squarely on Zambrini, an things get real awkward when Lynn hasta try explainin' why it's not a good time for Dan to come inside for an apple fritter. Gonna end it here, cause the endin' on this one's pretty decent an cause I got a powerful cravin' for some pork rinds.
Alright, so the title's a little misleading. The pigs are pretty much just a plot device, and truth be told, the original "Daddy's Deadly Darling" title is much more representative of what you actually see when you watch this one. But when you get right down to it, the idea that the pigs are just disposing of the corpses generated by the central character of the movie, and aren't actually murderous unprocessed pork chops runnin' loose, it's a lot easier to digest. Pigs is one of those movies that's difficult to recommend to people because the most positive aspect of it just how weird it is on an atmospheric level. On paper, it really isn't anything to write home about, but there's something about it that makes you feel like there's more to it than just dumb luck on the part of the crew. Realistically, there isn't too much wrong with it on a technical level. The repulsive motivation for Toni Lawrence's character goin' apeshit, while valid, is tasteless and over with within about the first 20 seconds of the movie, which is really unusual because in the 70s that kind of sleazy plot device is generally something that you'd want to focus on to draw in the key demographic. Here, it seems obvious to me that the director (who was also the lead actress' father) was at least a little uncomfortable with that plot line and trimmed it down to almost nothing. This raises the question; why not just make the abusive father a drunk that beats the girl up? It's just as easy to snap and kill men after growing up in that environment, so why the rape angle? Only reason I can see is to draw in the exploitation audience, but the guy doesn't show hardly anything, so word of mouth isn't gonna work after the first screening of the movie. To be fair, Marc Lawrence had been an actor all of his career (and had an extensive one at that), so maybe he just flubbed it. But it seems as though he's just not sure how far he wants to go. He makes you think he wants to be edgy, but then he wimps out. I'm not taking sides one way or the other, but it looks to me like he's trying to have it both ways, and that just doesn't work. However, any way you slice it, the movie would have benefited from a little more time spent with Toni Lawrence's character before she escapes the sanitarium. She literally kills her father and escapes the asylum within the first five minutes of the movie, which makes it look really amateurish and haphazardly thrown together. But honestly, with the exception of some poor writing here and there, a little bad editing, and the fact that the movie looks as though nobody paid the electric bill for the bulk of the run time, it's not terrible. Still not sure why they refer to the girl as Lynn Webster for most of the movie and then credit her as Lynn Hart, but I guess it's not too big a deal.
Okay then, let's grind this thing up for the pigs and see if they'll eat it. You'd think pigs would eat anything, but apparently these ones got a little finicky after they got to sample some sentient sirloins. The plot is pretty decent, despite the fact that they could have done a lot more with it. Many of the descriptions I read about it suggest that the Lawrences function as a team in much the way the Sawyers from Texas Chainsaw Massacre do, but that's not actually true. She's just screwed up, and he feels bad enough for her that he keeps her around despite the danger her actions put him in. Of course, he's not playin' with a full deck either considering he feels he *has to* feed humans to his pigs. Really, he could just shoot 'em all and be done with it. Course, then we'd have no movie. The acting is surprisingly decent, particularly from the two Lawrences. The other characters I never really gave a flip about, although the two old ladies that live next door to the diner have some pretty goofy dialog that's played straight enough to be amusing. Toni adequately conveys the necessary level of disturbance to come off as sympathetic, while Marc is particularly believable as the old country bumpkin who's not all there and just wants to be left alone. Here's who matters and why: Toni Lawrence (Soul Survivor), Jesse Vint (Silent Running, Forbidden World, Deep Red 1994, Dark Angel, Bug, The Disappearance of Flight 412), Iris Korn (Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo), Walter Barnes (Day of the Animals), Erik Holland (Stargate, Ghostbusters 2, Maniac Cop), Jim Antonio (Outbreak, The Dentist 2, Eve of Destruction, Futureworld, The Terminal Man, Planet Earth), Marc Lawrence (From Dusk Till Dawn, Night Train to Terror, Cataclysm, Dream No Evil, King of Kong Island). And for the normals; Walter Barnes played Tank Murdoch in Every Which Way but Loose, while Marc Lawrence was Erhard in Marathon Man, and Rodney in The Man with the Golden Gun. Marc was a pretty interesting guy, he was apparently blacklisted back in the 50s after confessing to having formerly been a member of the Communist Party, and ended up having to work entirely in Europe until the U.S. was finally ready to put our big boy pants back on. He was also a personal friend of Lucky Luciano, whom he would visit from time to time in Italy after Luciano's deportation following his prison sentence.
The special effects... oh, darn. Poor Marc, he was just sure he was forgettin' somethin' an sure enough we got no special effects. Well, that's exaggerating a little. There are a few shots of the pigs eating the corpses, but its so dark you can't see a damn thing. We've also got a few slash wounds from Lynn's dream sequence, and the night where she decides to carve up Ben. There're a few stab wounds here and there on the murder victims as well, but in general this one doesn't have much to critique. Some of the blood is that really vibrant crap that plagued the 70s as a whole, too. So not much here, but what we do get to see is executed well enough. The shooting locations provide another positive for the movie's overall rating, with the diner being a quaint little location, and enough decent outdoor scenes (including one great shot of the VW bug driving down a dirt road with scrub brush on either side and mountains in the background) to give the movie an authentic feel. The diner I'm a little torn on, in the sense that it looks real, but its so small that it's difficult to believe that it could possibly have been real. So it's interesting, if a little questionable. In any event, there's enough countryside to convince the viewer that we're out in the middle of nowhere, and had the director been able to come up with a sympathetic Sally Hardesty type character to show up and be menaced, we would very much have believed that there was no escape for her due to the surroundings. Course, that never happened, but it's still relevant. The soundtrack contributes greatly, in the sense that it's really bizarre and not particularly congruent, to such a degree that it's a driving force behind the eerie atmosphere of the flick. As I mentioned, we've got the psychedelic 60s music that reminds one of "Incense and Peppermints" by Strawberry Alarm Clock, but then you've also got this twangy country western weirdness that doesn't really fit in either. Then there's the pig squealing that often integrates some completely unrelated noises from numerous sources, like maybe the pigs're cyborgs or somethin'. So the sounds they mix in with the squealing are really strange, but also effective, somehow. And the last thing I'd mention, musically speaking, is the song that's sung with some frequency, but which lacks any musical accompaniment. It's called "One Little Girl as Deadly as Can Be," and it gets a fairly decent score on the creep-o-meter both lyrically and on a tonal level. The singer did a pretty decent job with it, though I have no idea who that singer is. Overall, this really isn't too bad. Nothing special, but it's just weird enough to distinguish itself from some of the other 70s schlock of the era. I'd recommend it to fans of Troma movies that they didn't actually produce, and fans of the kinda flicks Something Weird releases. That's about the best comparison I can make for this one, so if that sounds like you, give it a shot.