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Long Pigs - R-Squared Films Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
Written by Ray Casta   
Friday, 26 November 2010

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Directed by: Chris Power, Nathan Hynes
Written by: Chris Power, Nathan Hynes
Produced by: Chris Power, Nathan Hynes
Cinematography by: Chris Power
Music by: Sandi Falconer
Cast: Anthony Alviano, Jean-Marc Fontaine and Paul Fowles
Year: 2007
Country: Canada
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 85 Minutes

Distributor: R-Squared Films
Official Website: Long Pigs

Norman Bates.  Leatherface.  Buffalo Bill.

Inspired by necrophiliac and infamous murderer Ed Gein, the above fictional characters are similar to Ed Gein in certain ways.  In the 1940's and 50's, Gein lived on a farm in Plainfield, Wisconsin.  Raised by his domineering mother, who taught him all women were prostitutes, Gein grew up socially inept and alienated.  His "habits" were particularly bizarre, as he dug up corpses from graveyards, and furnished his house with bones and skin from rotting corpses.  It was believed by authorities he murdered two local women.  He was tried for one of the murders and after he plead insanity, he was subsequently sent to a mental hospital for the criminally insane.  In 1984, he died of respiratory and heart failure due to cancer.  Not only do the aforementioned villains share Gein's homicidal behavior and many of his abhorrent traits, they share a common characteristic: loneliness.  Anthony McAlistar, of Chris Power and Nathan Hynes' outstanding debut, "Long Pigs" is the opposite.  He is like your best friend: Social, calm and easygoing.

At first glance, Anthony McAlistar (Anthony Alviano) appears to be "normal."  However, he is a predacious serial murderer, who murders not because of the "thrill" or "sexual release."  He murders merely to feed his habit: Human flesh.  He is followed around by a duo of struggling filmmakers, Chris Power and Nathan Hynes themselves.  The documentarians plan to capture Anthony in his daily life as he routinely maims, kills and dismembers helpless victims.  The movie perceptively eavesdrops into his everyday activities, while he gladly shares with us why he kills, what flesh tastes like, and how to prepare a fresh corpse.  During the documentary, Power and Hynes interview seasoned detective Ken Walby (Shane Harbinson) and a criminal psychiatrist Rebecca Stapleton (Kelly McIntosh).  They both shed light on the recurring batch of missing persons and they give their expert evaluations about serial killers.  Between the scenes with Anthony, the film intercuts interviews of the two professionals.  Moreover, Power and Hynes feature clips from a local radio talk show host, DJ Tony Prince (Roger King), who speaks on current events of the city.

Much to the viewer's surprise, "Long Pigs" is far from the overly exploitative horror we come to expect.  The synopsis suggests it would be more of a gross-out feature than it actually is.  While the film is thoroughly shocking, it relies more on the disturbing subtlety of it all to get a rise out of the viewer.  It's a menacing, twisted little film that gets under the viewer's skin by the sneering charm and wit of the cannibalistic serial killer at its center.  The film finds a sharp equilibrium between humor and horror.  There is a point in the film where the tongue in cheek approach becomes irrefutably dark.  There is a genuinely chilling moment where Anthony recounts a murder of a child, whom he consumed for the simple reason he wanted to compare young flesh to adult flesh.  This is where the film exhibits true cruelty.  Power and Hynes set up an interview with the victim's father, Merle (Paul Fowles) and bring Anthony along to help with the film equipment.  Little does the father know one of the men in front of him murdered and ate his child.  A truly sick, filthy moment?  Yes.  Yet, it's a unique moment where the film shines and stamps its own identity.

Highly critical on the media, "
Long Pigs" is an ambitious and bold film.  It asks many interesting questions such as: "Are the filmmakers just as bad as the killer?"  Reminiscent of the approach to Ruggero Deadato's "Cannibal Holocaust" where he implicated a documentary crew as the "real" savages compared to a cannibal tribe, the film shows how easily corruptible the camera is when Anthony is on screen.  The film is static and professional for the DJ and the interview subjects, but it's at its most "cinematic" whenever Anthony shows up.  It's fascinating Power and Hynes play themselves as the filmmakers, using their real names.  By doing such they make a fascinating annotation on their willingness to exploit a fascinating, albeit evil figure.  The film confronts cannibalism in today's world and draws themes of consumption.  For Anthony, it is a primal need.  There are carnivores who survive off their kills.  Anthony is every bit as predatory as those animals.  Humans consume the food from animals (chicken, meat, etc.) yet animals eat each other all the time.  Anthony feels he is no different than a carnivore.  The film shows how self-composed and sensible he is by his philosophy, and it's scary watching him justify his murderous impulses.

Whatever he decides to eat on any given day, Anthony selects certain prey.  First off, he targets a fat prostitute who is just the perfect weight for him to grind up in a delicious stew.  The filmmakers follow him as he explains the entire bloody process.  Though he doesn't really savor the act of killing, it's an absolute necessity for him.  We witness him string the hooker up in quintessential Gein fashion (which the film even mentions during the act) and methodically prepares the corpse.  He is careful and takes pride in his work like a painter.  He moves about, as if he's a composer.  And this is all to the credit of Anthony Alviano's amazing performance as the cannibal.  Watching him, it's no wonder why the directors wrote the role specifically for him.  He gives their project such dark humor and chilling realism, it is unbelievable.  The rest of the cast do a fairly solid job carrying their roles.  These actors all feel real - and notably Roger King is impressive as the radio DJ, especially with the close-up of him in all of his scenes.  At times, his performance reminded me of Eric Bogosian's Barry Champlain from Oliver Stone's "Talk Radio."

Unfortunately, the film never takes the full plunge into the relationship between Anthony and the filmmakers who get in over their heads.  Quite possibly, more development with them would have made the film stronger.  The characters are present, but we never get a genuine sense of the two, their personalities or how they came up with the realization following Anthony would be a good idea.  The end sequence, where the film reveals what became of the characters, came across as choppy at first.

It'd be unfair to lump the film in with the lesser of previous mockumentaries.  Inspired by "Man Bites Dog," "
Long Pigs" remains fresh all on its own.  Darkly humorous and unsettling, this is an invigorating piece of work.  There is no need for unnecessary action and the filmmakers firmly realize their vision didn't need to step into exploitation territory to gets its point across.  The film lives on the killer's intense presence, his sick charm and wit, and the way the filmmakers keep digging themselves deeper and deeper into his world.

The "Long Pigs" DVD features terrific material, such as the special FX featurettes: "The Making of Lucy's Body" and "The Process of Simon's Corpse."  Gore effects and make-up done by Chris Bridges and Tony Labatt are just incredible.  The money shot of the movie is where the body of the hooker is being "cleaned" and systematically dismembered.  The montage is nasty, grotesque stuff -- yet we can't take our eyes off it.  You're probably going to wonder how stuff like this was done, and you will know thanks to the features.  The director's commentary is fun and takes you through the process of making the film.  Both directors also get into how they came up with the idea.  Perhaps taking a cue from Fred Vogel's "Killer Commentary" on the "August Underground" Snuff Edition, Anthony McAllister himself has a commentary track!  He talks at length from prison about how he was first approached for the documentary, how much he hates the filmmakers who exploited him and how he "doesn't have a taste" for human flesh any longer.  As a radio interview with DJ Tony Prince and Anthony McAllister and a few trailers top the disc, R-Squared brings us an awesome DVD altogether.  "Long Pigs" has all of the ingredients of a well crafted horror film.  Just don't watch it with a full stomach!


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 Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Anamorphic
 Region: NTSC 0
 Audio: Dolby Digital
English 5.1

Director's Commentary
 - Anthony McAllister's Commentary
 - Special FX Featurette "The Making of Lucy's Body"
 - Special FX Featurette  "The Process of Simon's Corpse"
 - Bonus Footage
 - Trailers
 - Coming Attractions


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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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