M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved starting with the year I began reviewing the genre officially October 1, 2010 through October 1, 2011. I have posted my best of lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around a bit. I’ve even added a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t!
How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st 2010 and September 30, 2011 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number, 31. Again, I never call myself any kind of expert in horror. I simply watch a lot of horror films and love writing about them. Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!
Released on October 8, 2010. Available on Video On Demand, digital download, and DVD/BluRay!
#26 – LONG PIGS (2007)
Directed & Written by Chris Power & Nathan Hynes
Starring Anthony Alviano, Paul Fowles, Shane Harbinson, Nathan Hynes, & Roger King
The mockumentary, or shockumentary as I like to call it, 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 got all of the headlines, I preferred films like THE LAST EXORCISM, LAKE MUNGO, INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS, THE LAST BROADCAST, TROLL HUNTER, and BEHIND THE MASK, where the fictional filmmakers don’t find the footage as much as they make a documentary using found footage resulting in a more polished piece. . In these types of films, the film crew captures the footage, but instead of being presented untouched, it is narrated, set to music, and edited by others in order to make it feel all the more authentic. Though some may lump the shockumentary 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 shockumentaries is that sooner or later, the production crosses over from documentary to movie where the illusion that we believe to be real is shattered with bad performances, bad effects, or hokey storytelling which usually attempts to tie the entire story up into a digestible nugget. One of the films that embraces the horror mockumentary subgenre is MAN BITES DOG, a faux doc 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 “real” documentary. It feels 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 film is the excellent piece of cinema that is the subject of this review; LONG PIGS.
The title LONG PIGS refers to cannibal slang for cooked human body meat. The film follows a film crew following a cannibal named Anthony (Actor Anthony Alviano) on his day to day routine. Anthony is a charismatic guy. He’s funny. Not shy in front of the camera. Holds a job as a valet and appears rather plain and normal. 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. He is so natural—so convincing, that at times, I was fooled and thought this was actually a documentary I was watching. Alviano is a fantastic actor at acting like he isn’t acting; 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 that he is being torn up on the inside. No matter what he was doing, when Alviano is on the screen, it all 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. They feel like real people. 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. Premise-wise they are very much alike, but LONG PIGS consists of enough scenes brimming with creativity to stand on its own, especially the time-elapsed scenes of Anthony in his basement dismembering a corpse. 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 and unnerving 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 until there is not much leftovers to serve.
THE 2010-2011 COUNTDOWN!
#26 – LONG PIGS
#27 – HUSK
#28 – YELLOWBRICKROAD
#29 – MONSTERS
#30 – LA HORDE
#31 – THE VIOLENT KIND
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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