APRIL 23, 2009
I had never heard of Pigs (original title: Daddy's Deadly Darling) until a few weeks ago, when Devin from CHUD told me about it. His synopsis made it sound right up my alley, roughly: "A girl kills her dad after he rapes her, and then she feeds people to pigs". As it turns out, that wasn't exactly accurate, but it's close enough, and would pique my interest even without HMAD.
Also - back to the original title... what the hell is with all these "Darling" movies of late? Devin told me about "Pigs" when we were on our way to see Julie Darling, and while there I won a copy of Daddy Darling. They all focus on inappropriate relationships between a father and daughter as well. However, this is the only one with pigs, so it gets the edge.
And for those who may be turned off by the father stuff, don't worry - it literally only lasts 12 seconds of the film. A delightful old woman hears a scream and says "someone should do something about him!", and within a second or two we see a girl stabbing someone. The next shot uses the most blunt newspaper headline of all time ("Father rapes daughter, dies of stab wounds") to fill in the gaps. So by the 30 second mark or so, the father is dead and the actual movie can begin. So to dismiss the film for it would be like dismissing a Friday the 13th movie due to the Paramount logo.
Once I discovered that the title was changed (I checked IMDb about halfway through my viewing), I felt better about the film. Of course, seeing rampaging pigs would be ideal, but it's not the filmmakers' intent to make a killer pig movie - the (re-)title is just the result of someone trying to sensationalize their little horror movie. And that's fine, because at least the pigs are a major part of the movie and it isn't spoiling anything by promising them. It's not like we're in Jason Goes To Hell territory here.
One thing that should strike a chord with any viewer is the soundtrack. In addition to some wonderful folky songs at the beginning, there's also a very creepy main theme that plays throughout the movie. Sometimes it is "la la la"ed by a female (or young boy), other times it's just instrumental, but it's always slightly unnerving. I was dismayed to discover the complete lack of a soundtrack listing on the IMDb, but I CAN tell you that the score was composed by Charles Bernstein, probably better known for his Nightmare On Elm St theme (which it slightly resembles, now that I think about it). I know soundtrack collectors pay exuberant prices for these type of things, but this is the rare occasion where I could see the value, if one even existed.
I was often reminded of Haunts when I watched this movie, for a couple reasons. One, it focuses on the possible mental breakdown of the lead female character. Two, it has a lot of male characters that end up dead, whether they are scummy or not. Three, the whole creepy incest angle (in Haunts, her uncle had some strange familial behavior). Hell, the shitty print even resembled one of the Chilling Classics offerings (and I want to note that this was definitely a poor print and NOT a bad Netflix/Xbox connection matter - the Troma logo at the top of the film looked fine). And like Haunts, its the type of movie that works better if you approach it as a psychological drama with some light exploitation traits, instead of an outright horror movie (the titles in both cases don't help much in that regard).
Back to the quality - the print has the strangest glitch I've ever seen in a film. On several occasions, you will see a second or so of the film sort of repeat itself. However, the soundtrack does not follow suit - if there's music or something over the "loop", you can easily tell that it has not been affected. Not sure what the hell could have caused it, but it was awfully strange. It may just have been a glitch in the stream itself, where the audio was playing properly and the picture occasionally had to skip to get itself back in sync, but again, I've never seen such a thing (and again, for once the Xbox/Netflix stream seemed to be of respectable quality).
Also, the movie features Marc Lawrence (who also wrote and directed) as the sort of bad guy. He's got one of the best voices on the planet; it was actually how I recognized him (from Foul Play), so whenever he talked I was happy. This was his final film as a director/writer, despite the fact that he continued to work as an actor for another 30 years until his death in 2005. It's a shame he didn't at least write more films - he's clearly got a unique voice. It's not every day you see a movie with man-eating pigs AND mental institutions.
So if you go in expecting killer pig action, you probably won't enjoy it. If you go in expecting a strange little movie about a woman with some pretty severe issues towards men, then I think you will enjoy it. It's not the best film of its type, but its a minor gem all the same.
What say you?