Regardless, partially because we had been listening to a lot of Pink Floyd's Animals, when I came across the video cover for Pigs, I had to immediately call Jason's attention to it. Without thinking he grabbed it with a loud "YES!" and we rented it on the spot. Well, that and a Spanish Women's Prison flick that... ruled, man!
We didn't know that Pigs was originally known as Daddy's Deadly Darling, nor would we have cared, nor would we have rented the damned thing if it had kept its original title. We just wanted to watch something terrible, figured "Pigs" must be terrible, it was and we did!
You know... now that I think about it, I should really thank ol' Jason. I'm sure that his insistence that we watch movies about feeding long-pig to pigs and unrelated features about young ladies in sexual congress with their tough female wardens had at least a little bit of an impact on WorldsGreatestCritic.com! Alas, I'm not sure what ever happened to him. The last I heard he had taken a job as a counselor at Camp Crystal... uh... something or other. I do have to wonder how his love for Hockey might have played into his job at a summer camp. But, I digress.
Needless to say, Pigs sucked. It was badly dubbed, grainy, poorly edited, sounded crappy and had way too many dark scenes for the limited lighting that was available. Re-watching Pigs this week I was again struck by the bad dubbing... mainly because this one wasn't a foreign flick! No, as much as I'd love to tell you that this was another slice of Schlock from the Giallo Hoisters originally named something like "Los Puercos: Notte di terrore", Pigs was made right here in Sunny California, written by, produced by, directed by and even starring Marc Lawrence! You've probably seen him in a bit part somewhere in something sometime. He used to get around... but then, so does Swine Flu!
Now, true believers, it's not as if someone should (or even... could) go into a film called "Pigs", or "Daddy's Deadly Darling" for that matter, and expect good taste. However, Lawrence himself pushes the boundaries of good taste just in the casting of his daughter Toni Lawrence as the main character Lynn Hart. Why? Well, Lynn is the committed, clinically insane woman who was raped by her father and subsequently killed his ass, though she is still somehow obsessed with him. Look, man, I can see writing the movie, I can see making the movie, I can see, hey, you know, your daughter's an actress, sure, put her in the film somewhere... but casting her AS the girl who was raped by her father? Issues!
He even directs a nightmare scene in which he, himself, slashes Lynn's face with a straight razor. I really would love to have been a fly on the wall at a Lawrence Thanksgiving, man! "Daddy, would you please pass me the mashed potatoes? And that's... ALL!!!"
But enough about reality... once the Deadly Darling of the (original) title has grown up into a young woman with an endowment the size of the Ford Foundation (yowza), she manages to escape from her lovely little mental institution by stealing the doffed uniform of a young nurse while she's doing a doctor (not that we see anything), then she hops into a VW and starts jamming to some early 70s tunage!
That's when she finds herself in a crappy little town in front of a crappy little motel with a Diner on the side and a Pig Farm in the back. And they're all owned by one man, which probably saves on the Diner's Bacon (but not the Motel's CLEANING) bills. That man is, of course, "The Great Zambrini" as played by Marc Lawrence himself. Zambrini once had a more celebrated life, back when his name was preceded by the title "The Great" on dog eared posters in varied towns. Now he's stuck in this one where the Sheriff (Jesse Vint's Dan Cole) is always up in his grill asking questions and the old biddies in town are constantly complaining about his pigs. Macy and Annette (Katharine Ross [note: not the famous one] and Iris Korn [note: not the band], respectively) are convinced he's "turning people into pigs", which sounds crazy (or like the punch line to a "Police Academy" joke), but to be fair he actually is taking dead bodies and feeding them to his pigs instead of that expensive slop those snooty "Yuppie Pigs" get. Again, Zambrini is nothing if not frugal!
Lucky for the pigs (and for Zambrini himself) Lynn takes a job at the diner and a room in the motel. Thusly she is ogled by most of the men in the town (especially those who like Bacon for breakfast) and is hit on by a few of them. The thing is that Lynn is not really cured of her insanity. In fact, she's in a reality-censoring denial about her past and has managed to convince herself that her dad is still alive and taking her calls. But when she encounters people who put her back into the frame of mind of her father's incestuous appetites, she goes into the same homicidal rage that (the film) Daddy saw (briefly). Zambrini doesn't want to see Lynn go, so he covers up any murders that take place, treating the victims as, you guessed it, Purina Piggy Chow!
Dick Move? Sure, but it's not the fault of the hogs! They didn't ask for their taste for Human Flesh, but now that they've got it, they're certainly not going to give it up. It actually seems rather fair and balanced, really. Jackass wakes up, has bacon at diner, hits on waitress, picks waitress up for a pork chop dinner at 8, tries to get fresh, dies in a pool of blood, is fed to pigs... who later become bacon and pork chops consumed by men who hit on their waitress and are subsequently fed to pigs. I could almost hear the song "Circle of Life" from The Lion King playing in the background. But that could be due to the fact that I would really have preferred to watch The Lion King. Or... about ten thousand other movies.
This is because Daddy's Deadly Darling, by any name, sucks stale pork rinds through a dry grinder with no chaser! Naturally, quite a bit of this has to do with the budget, which appears to be lower than a muffler between a modified hydraulic suspension system of a 1964 Impala at an auto show in Los Angeles (think it through, you'll get it). In the early 1970s there were a few of these micro-budgeted drive-in-style proto-slasher flicks that often looked and sounded pretty bad. While Pigs isn't the absolute worst of them, it also doesn't quite join the similar standouts like Don't Look In The Basement, Axe or even The Texas Chain Saw Massacre! While I'm not claiming that those films are transcendent cinematic masterpieces, the difference with Pigs is that it just doesn't quite have enough substance to keep its momentum or sympathy.
Really, Pigs is a predictable little yarn that works toward disturbing and grossing out the audience much more than really scaring them. You've got your slasher menace (ostensibly the main character) and the good guy antagonist who is also attracted to the killer. Then you've got scene after scene of dark, grainy footage of swine enjoying their bloody meals. There isn't a whole lot of mystery or tension to lend a claim of artistry to the proceedings. Strangely, for all her Carol Traynor from Maude-style cleavage close-ups and for all the suggested and discussed sexual situations in Daddy's Deadly Darling, there is no nudity from Toni Lawrence or anyone else in the film. I guess that was the line that Marc Lawrence dared not cross. He could cast his daughter as woman driven crazy by her father raping her, committing murders and being slashed up in dream sequences, but to show her nude would be in bad taste. I have to ask... did Marc-o know any other actresses? Dude!
At least I think there was no nudity. The horrible way this film was edited suggests that it might have been there, but was accidentally cut out when the editor rolled over the work print on his riding mower! There are more unexpected jump cuts in this film than on the face of a guy shaving while bouncing on a trampoline! There are times that parts of the same shots are unevenly edited together, causing a character to jump forward in time, as if some odd nexus of all realities exists in one motel room. And they just left it all in there! I wonder if it had anything to do with the fact that the editor was Irvin Goodnoff. Like this wasn't just his name, but his philosophy on work. "Hell, that's Good Enough, man!"
I can picture Lawrence, who stopped directing after this film, giving his all to the production, then asking ol' Irv "So, you're going to do a great editing job on my movie, right?"
Only for Irv to respond, "No... but it'll be 'Good'noff'!"
Then they both dissolve into raucous laughter with Marc saying "Oh, you irascible scamp, you! I can't fire you! Oh-ho-ho, my sides!"
It's telling that while Irv Goodnoff is still working today and has had a virtually uninterrupted career as a Cinematographer, Daddy's Deadly Darling is the only film he ever edited. Then again, this film has been renamed so many times, his resume could theoretically look like it's just chock full of editing jobs, which surely worked against him. Any time he might theoretically apply for an editing job, the director was sure to have heard somebody dissing one of the titles. How many times did he hear the phrase "That will be all!"?
Okay, I'll admit that I'm being a little rough with Pigs. After all, it is a fun little B-Movie (if that) and it certainly does what it sets out to do. At no point did Marc Lawrence intend to make or think that he was making Shakespeare here! He was making an exploitation film that could pull in the curious and those who were sure to have a high old time watching such a film, at least once. Further, it's safe to guess that nobody involved in this film had any idea it would be watched in the comfort of suburban homes in the far-future years of the new Millennium! Seriously, did anybody in 1972 predict how Home Video would catch on? If so, they certainly didn't anticipate streaming video that brings films like this from the drive-in (or midnight grindhouse screens) to Portable Computers and Telephones (of all things)! In short, we're talking about WAY more scrutiny than any Pigs participant could possibly have guessed at or truly deserves.
That's not to say that even with a crystal ball, Daddy's Deadly Darling would have been any good. It was still intended to get noticed, sell some tickets and disturb the audience enough to get them to talk about it. After all, Jason and I didn't rent the damned thing because we wanted to be moved, touched or inspired. We saw the title Pigs, guessed at what it might be like, were proven right and were not disappointed (about being disappointed)! To be fair, it still did its job as we rented Pigs 19 years ago and (for some reason beyond sanity or good taste) I'm still talking about it today! And at the time of this writing, "Today" is thirty-seven years and two months after Pigs' release.
In that respect, I say good job, Daddy's Deadly Darling and all you Pigs, too! It's not gone, it's not forgotten but as much as I'm debating the rating, for all its success Pigs still gets a Dog (or should I say a "PIG"?)! I'll admit that it damned near got Two Stars, but no... no... no, let's just enjoy this one ironically. That's how I enjoyed it... and I'll admit that I did. Jason, on the other hand... hmmm. I'll have to look him up some time and see how he took Pigs. Let's see... what's the area code for Crystal Lake? Hmmm...
Oink your way through this Link
and PIG OUT on more reviews, Darling!
How 'bout a Hand for the Hog?
Okay, I've made enough implicit "Voorhees Jokes" to last a lifetime and yeah, yeah, I know, Jason was never a Camp Counselor, he was a camper who was ignored until he drowned... trust me I know WAY too much about Jason Fucking Voorhees! But aside from me implying that Jason was "JASON", the story is 100% true! His name is Jason Digelarmo, if I spelled that right which... who cares? We really did meet in Summer School and it really was his idea to watch a Women in Prison movie and... "PIGS", which I found, but only laughed at. I must admit, I enjoyed the Lesbian Prison movie much more, but that's neither here, nor there. True, I've rambled on and wasted plenty of time here, but if you're reading the hidden text on WorldsGreatestCritic.com, what does that say about you? See you in the next reel, Pig-Booty! Also, Toni Lawrence went on to become BillyBob Thornton's second Ex-Wife!
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Also, Toni Lawrence went on to become BillyBob Thornton's second Ex-Wife!