Here is a film that I had heard about repeatedly for year! However, I sadly never got the chance to grab a copy until recently. I picked this Vinegar Syndrome release up of “Pigs” at the Troma booth at Monster-Mania 39. The vendor told me it was a great choice and a classic among Troma films. I grabbed up the beautifully packaged film and took it home after the weekend ended. We popped the blu ray in and I was delighted to hear the soundtrack theme which is a song composed by Charles Bernstein on a shoestring budget. I was delighted at the whimsical funkadelic and bluegrass vibe of the instrumentation. I was familiar with this music as it had been sampled previously and made for an amazing listening track. After my initial glee of the music, we delved into the features some before watching the actual movie.
The features on this were pretty solid. You got several alternate openings and endings to the film offering various takes on the story as a whole. These endings and openings actually made the full film a bit different in context. Also included was an interview with Toni Lawrence, the star of the film. Her father, Marc Lawrence was the director, writer and even actor who played Mr. Zambrini in the film. The interview was not terribly long but did cover a decent bit about the creation of the film itself. Additionally, there is an interview with Charles Bernstein where he delves into the creation of the eerie theme song I spoke of in the intro of this review. This was another really cool featurette that focused on the music creation end of the film from the composer himself.
The film has also been scanned and restored from 35mm to 2k quality. This makes for a clear difference in the previous releases quality versus this Vinegar Syndrome release which has the clearest picture quality of the varying versions of this film I have glimpsed at. Also, an audio interview with the cinematographer Glenn Roland is included as well, which offers even more insight into the film creation. You also get reversible artwork with the film as well. This is something more and more companies are including in their releases and I for one am a HUGE fan of this format. The newly created artwork was done by Chris Garofalo. This also marks the first time a directors cut of this film has been released.
For those that are familiar with this film you will know that it has gone through several name changes and alternate titles since its inception. Some of the titles of this film included: Pigs, The 13th Pig, Daddy’s Deadly Darling, Love Exorcist, Blood Pen, Daddy’s Girl, Horror Farm, The Killers and more. Adding more to the features list, they also included two different versions of theatrical trailers along with a still image galley too. Finally they also included English SDH subtitles. Essentially, this release comes packed with a nice bit of solid features.
Now, lets get to the meat and bones of this review, the film itself! So, we turned on this cult classic flick and not knowing what to expect we were pleasantly surprised. Now, there is no oscar worthy acting in this flick. However, I can say that Zambrini did a excellent job of conveying a overzealous and paranoid villain. Masking the crimes of Lynn all while diverting authorities away from the farm and keeping prying eyes out. Toni Lawrence’s role was also met with a solid performance that at times could be a bit overdone but for the most part delivered on point. The story in this film is perhaps nothing new and ground breaking. But at the time of it’s release I do feel it was perhaps something fresh for audiences.
The basic film synopsis reads something like this: “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.”
As previously noted, the picture quality is pretty clean considering it’s release time, budget and video sourcing that was available to them. This film has actually become a favorite of mine among the lower budget schlock fests that poured out of the 70’s. There is some bloody parts in the movie but nothing too too gory. I think it is pretty sensible in its use of blood even. If you are looking to venture back into the retro era of yesteryear and feel at home on the farm, then this is the one for you. This flick delivers a punchy plot line while luring you into Lynn’s macabre world. I give Pigs a solid two thumbs up and highly enjoyed this cult classic! If you have seen this film, let us know your thoughts below in the comments section!