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DVD Review: Long Pigs

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What if you witnessed a performance that was totally repulsive to you, but you needed to report on its technical, and possibly artistic, merits? Would your moral values trump your objectivity?

Mockumentaries are an interesting genre. If done well, they have the look, sound, and emotional feel of a documentary. Various filmmakers, some independent, have produced mockumentaries that are hilariously funny because they reflect the way viewers perceive the types of people being chronicled (rock musicians, show dog owners, actors), characterizing them as being even more extreme than their stereotypes.

Long Pigs is a mockumentary about two young filmmakers producing a documentary about a cannibalistic serial killer. I know… funny, right? When it comes to the ick factor, this baby is w-a-a-ay up there.

You may ask, “What’s a normal day in the life of a cannibalistic serial killer like?” Heaven knows why you would ask, but you might. According to Long Pigs, it’s a lot like everyone else’s day. Anthony (Anthony Alviano), the subject cannibal, goes to work as a parking valet, visits his mother in the nursing home, plays hockey (or maybe “fights violently on the ice” would be a better description, which actually describes most of the hockey games I’ve attended), and gets a flat tire. Unlike most of us, though, he has a body in his trunk when his tire goes flat.

Naturally, he must shop for groceries, and in the opening of the faux documentary he is cruising prostitutes to find one that would make a good stew. (Yeah, I know. I’m gagging, too.) Different body types for different recipes, apparently. For stew you need someone on the beefy side.

Nathan (Nathan Hines) and Chris (Chris Power), the two filmmakers, film him selecting a victim, bringing her home, and…and…

They also interview a woman behaviorist who discusses dysfunctionality in serial killers and a police officer who talks about missing persons, murderers, and doing his job. The interviews are spliced in between scenes of Anthony doing his thing.

Reportedly, Long Pigs is becoming a cult favorite. Is this despite or because of its subject matter? The truth is, it’s very well made. The actors are all on target; if you’ve seen enough documentaries, you can appreciate the verisimilitude. The experts who are interviewed, as well as other interview subjects, all come across the same as we’ve seen hundreds of interviewees.

Threaded throughout the documentary are clips of a Howard Stern-like radio talk show host (Roger King, who nails it) yammering on about subjects that touch upon film events.

People who are very imaginative or good at the willing-suspension-of-disbelief thing are likely to find some scenes revolting. Extremely revolting. Knowing that it’s all fake doesn’t actually make the subject less uncomfortable.

Chris Power and Nathan Hynes wrote and directed Long Pigs, and appear as the documentary makers (who were sickened by some of Anthony’s activities, but not enough to give up their project). They have done a remarkable job recreating/faking a documentary, and assembled a convincing cast capable of “reality.” (Whatever that is, as psych professors like to say.) Long Pigs has received awards at film festivals in New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Puerto Rico.

Bottom Line: Would I buy/rent/stream Long Pigs? I really enjoyed the technical and artistic aspects, the product of creativity, but cannibalistic serial killers? There are some things I’d just rather not see, even when they’re “make pretend.”

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