“It seems as though dead people don’t have any civil rights at all!”

Surprisingly thoughtful (if obviously problematic and gross) exploration of community and family dynamics, rather than the admittedly awesome man-eating pig movie I assumed I was getting into based on its poster.

Opens with our protagonist, Lynn (played by Toni Lawrence) being molested by her father before killing the old bastard. After escaping a mental hospital, she ends up living with an aged diner owner (Director/Writer Marc Lawrence) who – gasp – feeds the dead to his pigs. Instead of the terror coming from that dynamic, however, the two soon form a symbiotic bond, as her trauma-induced murders are protected by the old man’s body disposal techniques.

In its own strange way, Pigs (or Daddy’s Deadly Darling, the original and more accurate title) is trying to understand father-daughter relationships. What is expected from each side, and how the world views the often disturbing implication of close ones. Lawrence is aided immeasurably by the fact that he is playing opposite his actual daughter, and they truly do share a familial intimacy that helps us buy into their bond.

Unfortunately (well, for society, this makes it interesting for me), Lawrence’s thematic ideals are undercut by Lynn’s characterisation as a castrating lunatic who is beyond help, creating a gender dynamic that always shifts the blame slightly towards her. Also, while Lawrence often shoots this under the cover of expressionistic darkness, much of the light shots and scenes are goofy as hell, seemingly due (at least in part) to an outmatched budget.

Still, that goofiness has its charms – what other movie about sexual abuse and man eating pigs has its own theme song?

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