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Film Review: Pig (1998)

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SYNOPSIS:

A young man journeys through a desert, where he is kidnapped by a sadistic stranger clad in a pig mask. The stranger proceeds to brutally torture the young man, who then finds himself escaping into his imagination, with fantasy and reality intersecting.

REVIEW:

It was the special bluray edition release by Cult Epics that finally gave me a resource to check out this long hard to find film. The film had been featured at various film festivals in addition to being offered from a handful of bootleg sources that came and went over the years. Most who caught wind of it were limited to one of these 2 sources.

The bluray release itself collects the film “Pig” and “1334” (a film inspired by Pig)under 1 release. Best of all it comes with cool box artwork AND a highly collectable inside booklet that is laid out using the artwork of Rozz. The booklet is relative to the film of which our a masked killer references as he proceeds to torture and connect with his victim.

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The film has a history. Created in 1968 by Rozz Williams, directed by Nico B, the film “Pig” is a short film that runs about 21 minutes. The film is notorious for being the last work Rozz Williams was involved with before his suicide in 1998. Rozz, an artist of many talents, was a member of the band “Christian Death”. He is most known for his vocal and music contributions that were instrumental to the up and coming Goth rock scene at the time.

The film “Pig” is easily classified as surreal and incomprehensible. That said, it is these kind of films that are often regarded more for their artistic merit over comprehensive plot lines. The film shot in black and white on 16mm is structured around several religious/Nazi metaphors bearing horror/collage style graphics every step of the way. Simply…a killer wearing a pig mask drives his victim to an old house in the desert to inflict pain and torture. This dialog-less piece is scored with an ongoing industrial-droning backing that works as an unnerving foundation to the piece fueling its abstract sequences.

What tends to work for “Pig” is the director Nico B’s eye for raw footage opportunities and well compositioned segments pushing the story ever forward in an abstraction. Bandages are used in several scenes that show them (at first) covering our victim’s head to more symbolic shots of 2 heads becoming one. Add to this several shots of our victims chest being carved into to form the word “pig”. (I’m guessing that this was not special FX either…)

Sadomasochism is employed by our mystery killer (Rozz Williams) who carries a briefcase housing religious items, handcuffs, pliers, and various collectibles. Indicative of this is the book often referenced through-out the film that bears the title of “Why God Permits Evil”. The house bears the enigmatically placed number 1334 (which is also the title to the follow-up short film piece “1334” created in 2012 by Nico B.).

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“Pig” partially serves as a showcase for Rozz’s bizarre collage work used for film props and various wall hangings decor seen in the film.

Odd, is pretty standard classification here as our victim (James Hollan )is subjected to a funnel full of blood being poured upon him. Other more racy bits include the tying of the man’s penis with fishing line and then piercing it thru his nipples.

My takeaway from the whole experience is that Rozz has attempted to transition his collage work stylings into film resulting in a very odd culty kind of short film experience. It’s a film that beckons discussion alluding to more philosophical statements in dissection. The raw flavor here is refreshing reminding me much of the same way I felt about the film “Begotten”. The movie itself has inspired me to track down Rozz’s published art book (Art of Rozz Williams)…….to perhaps even dive deeper into his psyche). Nico B. shows an obvious love for the work the 2 of them contributed on by bringing this almost-forgotten piece back to the forefront and its release in 2013.

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The film “Pig” can now be acquired thru Cult Epics in full bluray packaging. The film itself is still kept raw within standard framing, though it is presented on high definition disc. The set includes the film 1334 and its accompanying art/commenting book. Overall it’s a really well done package in both presentation and transfer.

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