Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pigs (1972)

Throughout film history, enterprising actors have become producers in order to generate highbrow showcases for their talents. Occasionally, however, thespians bereft of marquee names have taken the opposite tack of producing exploitation films, presumably because those are the only types of pictures for which they can raise the necessary capital. So it is with Pigs, one of the strangest vanity projects of the '70s. Actor Marc Lawrence, screen veteran known for supporting roles as gangsters and other such thuggish types, wrote, produced, and directed Pigs, and he even cast his daughter, Toni, in the leading role. It’s worth noting that Pigs is a gruesome horror movie about an insane farmer who feeds murder victims to swine—just the kind of subject matter most people explore while making home movies their kids. Although Pigs eventually provides the gutter-level thrills that viewers might expect, namely gory murder scenes and nasty (but not explicit) images of farm animals chomping on human flesh, there's virtually nothing to recommend in this equally vacuous and vulgar picture. Characterization and narrative tension are barely discernible, the acting runs the short gamut from perfunctory to substandard, and the long wait between "exciting" scenes make the picture's 80-minute running time feel much longer. Amid lots and lots of screaming, the movie also includes several truly ugly scenes, such as the one during which Toni Lawrence’s character castrates a would-be lover with a straight razor. (One can only imagine the therapy bills that arose from Marc Lawrence asking his daughter to play this scene.) Furthermore, to indicate how far removed Pigs is from recognizable human reality, consider this line of dialogue, spoken by the inept sheriff (Jesse Vint) tasked with investigating reports of bloodshed at the swine farm: "I don't think there's a law against turning dead people into pigs." Maybe not, but perhaps there should be a law against making movies like this one.

Pigs: LAME

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