Directed & Written by Chris Power & Nathan Hynes
Starring Anthony Alviano, Paul Fowles, Shane Harbinson, Nathan Hynes, & Roger King
The mockumentary may be considered the sister or at least first cousin of the found footage craze, but I still love this type of film. Though films like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and CLOVERFIELD get all of the headlines, I prefer films like THE LAST EXORCISM, INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS, THE LAST BROADCAST, and BEHIND THE MASK, where the fictional filmmakers attempt to film a documentary until the horror in front of the camera becomes too powerful to contain within the constraints of the director. In these types of films, the film crew usually stars as characters in the movie. Though some may lump the mockumentary in with POV or found footage films, the fact that there is a multi-layered reality being dealt with always intrigued me. The main problem with these types of films is that sooner or later, the mockumentary crosses over from documentary to movie where the illusion that what we are seeing is real is shattered with either bad performances, bad effects, or hokey storytelling which usually attempts to tie the entire story up into a little digestible, entertaining nugget. One of the films that embraces the horror mockumentary subgenre is MAN BITES DOG, a film I will probably cover in a future column, about a French serial killer who brings a camera crew with him on his killing sprees. What makes the film successful is that MAN BITES DOG never falls off course or shatters the myth that it is a documentary. It felt so real that, at the time of its release, MAN BITES DOG caused a lot of controversy with folks thinking it may actually be a snuff film. A modern cousin to that excellent piece of cinema is LONG PIGS.
The title LONG PIGS refers to cannibal slang for the human body. It is a mockumentary where a cannibal is followed by a film crew through his day to day routines. Actor Anthony Alviano plays Anthony, a charismatic guy who seems to be pretty decent. He’s funny. Not shy in front of the camera. Holds a job as a valet. It just so happens that Anthony is also a cannibal. Alviano’s performance in this film is the glue that holds the whole thing together. Alviano is so natural, so convincing, that at times, I thought this was actually a documentary I was watching. Alviano is a fantastic actor, tossing out nuances with a natural flair that would have half of Hollywood in the greenest shades of envy. There’s a scene where Anthony is dealing with some guilt after seeing the father of one of his victims. He tries to be jovial and strong, but you can tell despite his conviction that cannibalism is a perfectly decent thing, he is being torn up on the inside. No matter what he was doing, when Alviano is on the screen, it felt real and horrifying. You actually sort of like the guy, despite the fact that he cooks up humans and eats them. Other actors come and go in this film, most are pretty good too, but none of them seem like actors. The makers of this film should be congratulated on their choice of actors for LONG PIGS for their authenticity in front of the camera.
Though there are a lot of similarities between MAN BITES DOG and LONG PIGS, I wouldn’t call this a film a blatant rip-off. Though premise wise they are very much alike, LONG PIGS consists of enough scenes brimming with creativity, especially the time-elapsed scenes of Anthony in his basement dismembering a corpse, to stand on its own. Anthony is proud of his work and eager to share the secrets of the trade with this film crew. The movie plays almost like an instructional for any folks out there thinking of becoming cannibals themselves. Both the authenticity of the performances and the conviction of this film to sustain the illusion of the documentary from start to finish make LONG PIGS a thoroughly bone chilling experience. LONG PIGS will make you squirm both because of the graphic depictions of mutilation and cannibalism and because of how real even the most banal scenes of Anthony’s everyday life feel. Director/writers Chris Power & Nathan Hynes have made a fantastic film, one that will eat at you long after the credits roll.