Serial killers never go out of cinematic style, and plenty of mockumentaries have found ripe material in detailing the day-to-day actions of potential Sons of Sam. While Long Pigs’ premise feels a little less original in the wake of films like Man Bites Dog and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, co-directors Nathan Hynes and Chris Power manage to find plenty of new and macabrely fascinating material following the life of an atypical (by movie standards) and under the radar murderer.
The major hook of central character Anthony Alviano (Anthony McAlistar) is not necessarily that he slaughters (somewhat) innocent adults, but more that this chubby, lower class valet parking attendant simply loves a good meal…which is generally composed of fresh human flesh. “Filmmakers” (as they are solely referred to in quotations) Hynes and Power play versions of themselves as they follow Anthony cruising the late night streets for meaty prostitutes, preparing their bodies for sanitary cooking, serving up an admittedly tempting stew, and disposing of the trickier parts (like thick and traceable bones) with precision and discipline.
Although his body count seems to be as high as his cholesterol, Anthony doesn’t necessarily relish the dirty work involved in his nightly activities. He’s quick to point out that he gets no sexual pleasure from his kills, nor does he seek to rid the world of people that don’t belong. Sure, Anthony occasionally zeroes in on a nasty patron for a more personalized barbeque, but for the most part, this unexceptional man seems to have little concern or care for the world outside his kitchen. All the theorizing is left to other talking heads interviewed by the filmmakers–a police detective who’s seen his share of horrors, a criminal psychologist with more hopeful ideas, and a shock jock conservative quick to judge every crime as indicative of modern culture–all of whom provide an intriguing web of social context that frees our main character to simply live his day-to-day life.
Although Long Pigs is fairly low on action, its pace and character interactions keep us easily–if uncomfortably–invested for most of its brief 80 minute run time. Just when we start to wonder–much like Anthony–where the actual ‘documentary’ is going, the story hones in on Anthony’s most memorable victim, the only child he ever abducted. A visit with her devastated father (a fine Paul Fowles, making the most of a small role) in the guise of America’s Most Wanted-esque television producers is both heartbreaking and chilling, and keeps Anthony’s crimes in perspective. Prior to this, it was easy to laugh at some of his culinary jokes and a cleverly edited tearing-apart-a-body sequence cheekily scored to The Nutcracker Suite (and impressively drawn out by special effects master Chris Bridges). Long Pigs is oozing with inappropriate–and very funny–humor, but it also features characters real enough to keep murder a serious and morally despicable act.
Long Pigs has been blazing a memorable trail through genre film festivals for the last few years and when it hits DVD this summer, I imagine it will quickly become a fan favorite. The jokes are snappy, the gore sufficiently brutal, and villain (a fascinating and layered McAlistar) savagely unsettling in his familiar twist. This is black comedy the way it was meant to be done, with complex humor that never sacrifices character or story for an easy laugh or gross-out. We’re left thoroughly amused, disturbed, and most likely, budding vegetarians.
Long Pigs will be released on DVD on June 8th. To pre-order your copy, visit http://www.amazon.com/Long-Pigs-Chris-Power/dp/B003IJQXJ2.