• Pigs

    Released by: Troma
    Released on: April 26, 2005.
    Director: Marc Lawrence
    Cast: Toni Lawrence, Marc Lawrence, Jim Antonio, Walter Barnes, Paul Hickey, Erik Holland
    Year: 1972
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Mark Lawrence in 1972 and also known under the title Daddy’s Deadly Darling, Pigs has the distinction of being one of only two features he helmed, the second being Nightmare In The Sun, made with Aldo Ray in 1965. The picture also stars Mark Lawrence’s daughter Toni Lawrence, a full decade before she appeared in Soul Survivor.

    Toni plays a young woman named Lynn Hart who suffers from some ‘issues’ and, at the beginning of the movie, escapes from a mental hospital. It seems that some time ago she was raped by her father and in return, she killed him and was locked up for her crimes. She snatches a nurse's uniform and swipes a car and hits the road to get as far away from the hospital as possible. Her travels take her to a small town in rural California where she meets a strange, aging farmer named Zambrini (Marc Lawrence). He not only works the land but he also runs a small motel and restaurant just off of the highway. He’s kind enough to put her up and Lynn can’t help but notice that behind his house is a ramshackle old pig pen, complete with a small army of hungry hogs.

    Shortly after her arrival, Lynn starts to mingle with the townsfolk but quickly starts playing old tapes and offing any poor bastard who bares even the slightest resemblance to her dear, departed pervert of a father. When she realizes that Zambrini’s pigs will east anything tossed into their pen, she finds a quick and easy way to hide the bodies of her victims. Soon enough, and not so surprisingly, the town’s sheriff (Dan Cole) starts to wonder just what the heck is going on around his otherwise peaceful little town. He knows all of this mayhem started when Lynn showed up and so he starts, with the aid of a private investigator hired by the hospital to capture her, snooping around in her business. But will they catch her before she can kill again – and just what exactly is that weird Zambrini guy up to?

    Shot out in the middle of nowhere and set to a strange bluegrass style soundtrack, Pigs is nothing if not quirky. It’s not always good, but it is usually pretty interesting and often quite atmospheric in its own strange way. Though the titular pigs aren’t used nearly as often or as well as they should be given the title and cover art, there are a few decent murder set pieces here. The real star of the show, however, is Marc Lawrence as Zambrini, a former circus performer now farmer and a man with some seriously strange habits. He latches on to Lynn and soon begins to exploit her for various reasons, and Lawrence really gets into the role here. He plays the weirdo well – sadly the same can’t be said for Toni Lawrence, who tries to emote more often than she should but who often comes across as hilariously flat.

    The story is a bit all over the place, shifting tone frequently and jumping back and forth between plot devices. It’s not complicated, mind you, just paced in a very haphazard way. There are some eerie moments here, mostly when the lights go down and the pigs, ravenously hungry, start to squeal for the meat they know is coming their way. Morbid? Yep. And while the film wears its flaws as obviously on its sleeve as it does its low budget origins, there’s still plenty of weird seventies entertainment value to be had here.


    Pigs is presented on DVD fullframe and transferred from what looks like an older tape master. The picture is soft and dark throughout, but otherwise the image is at least reasonably clean and watchable. The outdoor scenes that take place during the day look fine but sometimes, once the sun goes down, things are definitely looking a bit murkier than you’ll want them to.

    The no frills English language Dolby Digital Mono track sounds okay. Not great, but okay. Some minor hiss is present in a few scenes but generally the levels are properly balanced and the dialogue is audible enough. The movie actually does some interesting things with sound to enhance a few key scenes, using strange noises and music to help build mood – this comes through well enough. No alternate language or subtitle options are provided.

    Extras are limited to those of the Tromatic variety, meaning we get an introduction from Lloyd Kaufman, trailers for a few unrelated Troma titles, a few promo spots for various organizations, a music video and a few other bits and pieces. The only extra really related to the movie is a selection of liner notes that detail the history of the film and which offer up some interesting trivia and facts about the movie and the people who made it.

    The Final Word:

    Pigs is a weird little low budget seventies oddity that, while hardly any sort of masterpiece, has enough strange atmosphere and weird characters in it to make it worth a watch. Troma’s DVD doesn’t look or sound all that great nor is it jammed to the gills with awesome extras but it’s watchable enough and it’s the only game in town.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Gary Banks's Avatar
      Gary Banks -
      Damn. Now I want some bacon.
    1. Jimmy Simard's Avatar
      Jimmy Simard -
      Too bad Grindhouse Releasing had it in their catalog, because it means we will never see a worthy release... I'm Almost tempted by that release but some of the capture darkness and the ugly as hell cover doesn't inspire me too much (without mentioning the useless Troma extras).