Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 28th, 2002
There isn’t really a plot, as such. In collaboration with director/photographer/scripter/editor Nico B, co-director/composer/writer Rozz Williams works out his serial killer fantasies through the images of a pig-faced man torturing another. The big influences here are equal parts Eraserhead-era David Lynch, the surrealist films of the late-20s-early-30s (especially Un ChienAndalou) and the contemporary piercing/SM scene. In fact, there are moments where this plays like an artsy infomercial for the latter. There is some nice imagery here, but Pig doesn’t really go much beyond its influences. The torture scenes, while not for everyone (most of the needles-through-the-penis stuff is obviously real) lack both the emotional context that give similar sequences their power in films such as Sick (where they’re for real) and Audition (where they’re not). To the contrary, there’s something a little too “look at us! aren’t we gross!” here, not to mention the fact that, for a supposedly transgressive feature, the atrocities are mostly of the “been there, done that” variety. All this said, the black-and-white photography and ambient score generate some nice atmosphere.
The sound is stereo, but the precise mix is not indicated (my guess is 2.0). There is no direct sound in the film. In fact, the only sound is the score, a moody industrial/ambient exercise that comes across well in the transfer.
The full-frame picture is often full of scratches and grain, but these are deliberate. The film was shot on 16 and Super-8 mm, so don”t be expecting some glossy Superbit extravaganza here.The consciously old look, connecting the film back to its earliest influences, is nicely reproduced by the transfer.
Quite an interesting package of features here, and Cult Epics is to be congratulated for bringing them together. Pretty much everything you might want to know about the film is here, at least insofar as those involved can articulate what they were up to. Nico B’s commentary must be ranked a disappointment, though. He doesn’t go much beyond the nuts-and-bolts aspects, and incessantly belabours the bleedingly obvious (“now we’re looking at a book” or stating that a lot of people don’t like the penis-sewing scene) without saying much about the artistic aims. The excerpts from the last interview with Rozz Williams (accompanying a behind-the-scenes picture montage) don’t tell us much that we couldn’t figure out for ourselves (such as the fact that hewas working out his fascination with serial killers in the film — no! really?), but at least confirm audience suspicions. Nico B also provides commentary on 5 outtakes, while Ignacio Segovia comments on the Super-8 test footage (the recording quality of his commentary is frightful however, rendering him almost incomprehensible).
Beyond the commentaries, there is a photo gallery set to an unreleased music track by Williams, a (rather cheesy) memorial video to Williams by Nico B, biographies of Nico B and Williams (whose biography comes with a suicide note, reproduced in a font so unreadable I had to use the zoom function), and a nifty booklet that reproduces the “Why God Permits Evil” book the killer uses in the film. This 40-page booklet is an exercise in cut-out art. It ain’t subtle, but it is rather interesting and fun to look at. The menu has a scored main page.
All in all, this strikes me as a project whose reach exceeded its grasp, but is certainly not without interest. The package put together by Cult Epics is admirable, and the film does invite further study.