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April 3, 2013

Movie Review: Pig / 1334 (1998/2011, Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Review By: Rob Sibley

Sometimes films come out of nowhere and leave an impact and are hard to shake. When I popped in the Blu-ray for Pig & it's spiritual sequel 1338 I had no idea what I was in-store for. What I witnessed and what I felt is hard to say really. I haven't been punched in the gut this hard since “The Bunny Games” when it comes to baring a film down to it's purist and deranged artistic elements. 

 Much like The Bunny Games these two short films are not something you watch and enjoy. This isn't “entertainment” it's something deeply personal message hidden inside of a experimental psychological horror short. It's truly one of the more intense viewing experiences I've ever had. These are two short films that I will not soon forget.

“Pig” 1998 was shot by Danish filmmaker Nico B (Also the founder of Cult Epics) and the late great musician Rozz Williams of Christian Death, Shadow Project & Premature Ejaculation fame. What makes these two features even more troubling is that Rozz sadly committed suicide while Pig was in post-production. Which is a theme that Nico B. Explores in 1338 (Shot in 2011).

Now let's discuss Pig... which is not an easy task. As it's more of a series of images then an actual story. It is 23 minutes of silence, not counting the score which consists just of ambient noise. Apparently with the film Rozz wanted to exorcise some of his inner demons of his subconscious. 

The film tells the story of a victim and his killer. The film is almost a meditation on desperation, pain and despair. With occult imagery and S&M (All performed for real, such as a scene featuring nipple piercing). This is bound to offend many viewers. The short starts off with a man packing a briefcase and leaving an apartment. Inside the apartment is the body of a dead man. 

The man with the briefcase drives to the desert. We then cut to a man who's face is wrapped in gauze. Soon the man from the apartment is driving to an abandoned house where he leads the man into the basement. From there things go kinda bat shit crazy to say the least. To say anymore would spoil the short itself.

Now onto the highly effective sequel which was made by Nico B. The film starts out by re-creating Rozz Williams suicide (Hanging). The amazingly talented character actor Bill Oberst Jr. Plays Rozz. The first few minutes of 1338 are as strong if not stronger then Pig as far as the haunting quality goes. After the hanging, the short deals with how Nico B and everyone was effected by Rozz's suicide. Most of the short deals with a character played by Dante White Aliano. Who is haunted by his dear friends ghost. Unlike Pig, the story to 1338 is very easy to understand. But all the more haunting due to the fact it's dealing with a real life incident.

Seeing these films it is very important to know the back-story to these films which I only partially delved into. Both are deeply deeply personal projects and I'm not quite sure if 1338 was made by Nico B. For the audience or to exorcise some inner demons. My guess is it's a bit of both.

It's truly hard to say to skip these two works of art, it is rare for one to see art with such purity in it's meaning.

Cult Epics releases Pig/1338 for the first time on Blu-ray in this combo pack. Pig was released on a limited edition DVD back in 2002 and the disk is packed with extras, including a Nico B commentary track. Sadly that release is out of print and is going for roughly $150.00 used.

Through the 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encode for these two shot on a dime black & white 8MM shorts it's very apparent that this is the best these two films are ever going to look. The picture is a mixed bag due to the source material and the fact both mixed 8MM & 16MM film. Grain is heavy at times but both films presented in 1:33:1 look very good considering.

Both films feature a 2.0 and Digital 5.1 Surround mixes. Which are utterly outstanding since the score is the driving factor for both.

Sadly despite the DVD as part of the combo pack, there are no extras. So hopefully you were one of the lucky ones who got Pig when it was first released limited on DVD. You do get a booklet though with this release which consists of some notes from Nico B and various imagery from the film.

These two films are not for everyone that's for sure. I'll give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED only for fans of Rozz Williams, Nico B and extreme films.

1 comment:

  1. Rob:
    If any of your readers are in the NYC area this Friday, Pig/1334 will be shown for one night only at the Spectacle Theater, with Nico B. there for a Q&A: (