Studio: Cult Epics | Release Date: January 29, 2013
Fifteen years ago on April 1st, 1998 musician and artist Rozz Williams hung himself. Most known for founding and performing in such important and influential bands as Christian Death, Premature Ejaculation and Shadow Project (among others) one of the last projects he was involved in before taking his own life was the short film Pig.
Rozz Williams originally came up with the idea of the film and after unsuccessfully getting it going he approached Nico B. about directing. They began fleshing out the story from Rozz’s original abstract and eventually shot the film in about 2 months. Pig follows the story of a killer (Rozz Williams) and his willing victim (James Hollan) they meet in the desert and wind up at a derelict house. The film follows through various scenes of real torture while Rozz takes his instructions from the book Why God Permits Evil.
On the surface there is the obvious shock level of some needleplay and genital torture. And the argument can be made that there is a student, art film quality to the film. Still Pig holds up after all these years. It has some great imagery. The scene where the heads are wrapped together with bandages is so strikingly beautiful to me, it has stuck with me since I first saw Pig when it was originally released on DVD 2002. The true stand out is still the soundtrack which was nearly fully completed by Rozz shortly before his death. The final touches and mixing were completed by his Premature Ejaculation partner Chuck Collison.
The other short film included with this set is Nico B.’s most recent work, 1334. The film opens with some footage of Rozz’s apartment taken in 1998, which I found very interesting to see. There is a pseudo-recreation of his suicide and then the film transitions into a ghost story of sorts. There are aspects of the short I really liked, but I had some struggle with how this fit in with the Rozz aspect of the story. There is some clarity of this topic given in the production notes of the booklet, but I take some issue with having to rely on an outside source for the film to work. The ghost story is supposedly based on experiences after Rozz’s death, but to me they almost feel like they are part of another project that was mixed in with a continuation of Pig. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I can understand the reasons for it if this were the case. I would have liked to see the ghost story element fleshed out into a longer piece and be divorced from the Rozz association. Again, Nico B. has some strong imagery peppered throughout 1334, Some of the reversed film section work really nicely. If there is any part of the film I didn’t like, it would be the vampire scene, which took me out of the film completely.
The Blu-ray/DVD combo is a nice package. There is a very nice cardboard sleeve that has the Why God Permits Evil artwork. There is a 2.0 and 5.1 mix available for each film, and the transfer is as good as you would expect for a film transferred from 8mm and 16mm in Pig’s instance. 1334 obviously looks better as it is much newer. There is a booklet packaged with the Blu/DVD that contains production notes and shooting script from both Pig and 1334. The extras that were with the original Limited DVD release are not included with this release, which is quite unfortunate, but a reason for those of us lucky enough to own it to hold onto it even though it is selling at 5 times the original price.
Overall, I am glad that Pig is available again, also glad to see it ported over to blu. I wish there were some real extras with this release, but I would still recommend this to fans of Rozz Williams and surreal, arty films.