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Pigs (1972)

For me, finding this little drive-in movie at the dollar store was like finding money in the street. I so love these exploitation “horror” movies from the 70s, and this fits neatly into what I like to refer to as the “70s Doom” genre.

It might remind you of “Don’t Look In The Basement”, as it concerns a tiny little cesspool of mental illness where the insane are able to carry on with their obsessions relatively free of interference. In this case, it’s a little ‘diner’ in the middle of nowhere. It sure doesn’t look like a diner from the outside, but gee, the interiors look like a diner. Before you start wondering what business a restaurant would have being out in the middle of nowhere, consider this: the owner is a creepy old man who tends over a pen full of pigs that have a hankering for human flesh. He satisfies their needs by digging up bodies in the local cemetery, something that gets by everybody in the area except for the local gossips, two elderly sisters who live not too far from the Diner of Doom. The sisters are of the belief that not only do the pigs eat human flesh, but whenever they eat a new person, their number increases by one. Despite there being no footprints, the sisters can hear the pigs snorting outside their windows and doors late at night.

Into this strange scenario comes a downright koo-koo girl named Lynn. She’s just made a daring escape from a mental asylum, where she resided ever since she was raped by her father. You see, Lynn stabbed Daddy to death, yet still refuses to accept the fact that he’s dead. For some reason, she pulls up at the little diner in the middle of nowhere, where they have a half-hearted “Help Wanted” sign in the window, and in the space of three or four lines, she’s curling up to go to sleep in the spare room. The pigs oink ominously outside her window, foreshadowing the mayhem to come, and it isn’t long before the local guys come sniffing around and Lynn gets back to her man-stabbin’ ways. Needless the say, the pigs are gonna have some good eating’.

Everything in this movie is super-cheap, but I really got into it. It’s fun imagining the setup for it as being realistic, even though it’s not. What if people really did drive out to somebody’s house in the middle of nowhere to get a sandwich? What if people really did turn into pigs when pigs ate them? Mention must be given to the songs on the soundtrack, mainly the “theme” song that tells of someone waiting just down the highway for you, and how we should keep on driving. There’s also a groovy jukebox tune that sounds a lot like Tommy Roe’s bubblegum hit “Dizzy”. Don’t miss the scene where Lynn gets down to it in the empty diner. Speaking of Lynn, I really liked the actress who played her, Toni Lawrence. She was pretty in an oh-so-seventies kind of way, and it was great the way that the filmmakers surrounded her with a bunch of actors who looked like uber-rednecks rejected from the set of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (which, ironically, didn’t come until two years later).

The camera angles remind me a lot of “…Basement”, with lots of fish-eye closeups of crazy-looking faces. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Daddy’s Deadly Darling” (more commonly known on home video as “Pigs”) was issued with a movie poster that advised the viewer to keep repeating “It’s only a movie…only a movie…” On the down side, this seems to be yet another movie pawned off as a “gorefest”, which it is not. The idea is pretty gruesome, but the gore effects are not realistic and wouldn’t scare anybody over the age of 8. The movie is definitely not for children though, as the sexual subtext is very disturbing. Disappointment with the film seems to be fostered by the marketing of the movie on home video; the packaging of the movie suggests that it is about killer pigs, which it is not. Rife with atmosphere and fairly briskly plotted, “Daddy’s Deadly Darling” has assumed a place near the top of my list of favorite 70s exploitation drive-in fare.