Character actor Marc Lawrence has been a familiar face to theater goers since 1932. He has appeared in everything from “A Dangerous Game” and “Diamonds Are Forever” to “Marathon Man” and “From Dusk Till Dawn.” Lawrence sported an unforgettable mug that seems to have been chiseled rather poorly from an old weather-beaten tree stump, but that “face that only a mother could love” has landed the actor in well over 200 television and movie roles. Still, Lawrence wanted to try his hand at directing, and with that he gave us “Pigs.”
Perhaps being a director wasn’t all that Lawrence had up his sleeves in 1972 as he cast his daughter Toni Lawrence in the lead role, killing two birds with one stone so to speak. “Pigs” was to be the spring board for both his directing career and his little girl’s acting pursuits. Unfortunately, neither amounted to anything; Daddy Lawrence went back to character acting and Toni wound up marrying and divorcing Billy Bob Thorton in the late 80’s, but the little film that they made together sure is a doozie.
Lynn escapes from an insane asylum and finds herself working for a broken-down codger named Zambrini. Zambrini has a roadside café, rooming house and hog farm that lures transients and other forms of drifters, vagabonds and road dogs. Lynn’s cute enough in her miniskirts and is soon being propositioned by the male clientele, but her sexually abusive past leads her to murder her suitors. Old man Zambrini has taken a fatherly liking to Lynn and decides to aid her in disposing of the evidence by feeding the cadavers to his hogs.
Zambrini honestly cares for Lynn and he feels that he is doing what is best for her. It’s interesting to note that the relationship between Zambrini and Lynn never crosses the sexual line as most films of this time period might have explored. But then both characters are real-life father and daughter and anything other than what was portrayed on the screen might have made the film unbearable.
Lawrence’s direction and style must have been seen and appreciated by the likes of Tobe Hooper and Wes Craven, as it so beautifully encompasses the drive-in aesthetics that both directors would employ for their debuts, “Last House On The Left” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” “Pigs” was originally titled “Daddy’s Deadly Darling” but underwent a slew of banner changes that boggles the mind and memory alike. Also known as: “Horror Farm,” “Lynn Hart,” “The Killer,” “The Killers,” “The Pigs,” “The Strange Exorcism of Lynn Hart” and finally “The Strange Love Exorcist.” “Pigs” is dark and gritty, a little gory, absurdly amusing in a black humor kind of way, and the pigs scream really loud…a lot.