Heads Up, Ears Down

This blog accurately identifies depictions of violence and cruelty toward animals in films. The purpose is to provide viewers with a reliable guide so that such depictions do not come as unwelcome surprises. Films will be accurately notated, providing a time cue for each incident along with a concise description of the scene and perhaps relevant context surrounding the incident. In order to serve as a useful reference tool, films having no depictions of violence to animals will be included, with an indication that there are no such scenes. This is confirmation that the films have been watched with the stated purpose in mind.

Note that the word depictions figures prominently in the objective. It is a travesty that discussions about cruelty in film usually are derailed by the largely unrelated assertion that no animals really were hurt (true only in some films, dependent upon many factors), and that all this concern is just over a simulation. Not the point, whether true or false. We do not smugly dismiss depictions of five-year-olds being raped because those scenes are only simulations. No, we are appalled that such images are even staged, and we are appropriately horrified that the notion now has been planted into the minds of the weak and cruel.

Depictions of violence or harm to animals are assessed in keeping with our dominant culture, with physical abuse, harmful neglect, and similar mistreatment serving as a base line. This blog does not address extended issues of animal welfare, and as such does not identify scenes of people eating meat or mules pulling plows. The goal is to itemize images that might cause a disturbance in a compassionate household.

These notes provide a heads-up but do not necessarily discourage watching a film because of depicted cruelty. Consuming a piece of art does not make you a supporter of the ideas presented. Your ethical self is created by your public rhetoric and your private actions, not by your willingness to sit through a filmed act of violence.


Pigs (Daddy's Deadly Darling). Marc Lawrence, 1973.
Edition screened: Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray #109, released 2016. English language with English subtitles. Runtime approximately 81 minutes.

Summary: Murdered dog.

Details: The nice dog whom we met earlier in the film is removed dead from the back of a truck, 55:12-55:21, with blood on the fur around his neck. There is subsequent discussion that his throat was slit.

Pigs has been released with different edits and under various titles, including Daddy’s Deadly Darling (apparently the original title), Daddy’s Girl, The Strange Love Exorcist, and Blood Pen. The Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray boasts to be the complete original version, and opens with the vintage title graphic The 13th Pig.

Bonus material on this Blu-ray includes the alternate “Daddy’s Girl” opening and closing, each about 5 minutes. Vinegar Syndrome’s full-length version of Pigs allows the backstory of Lynn’s escape from a mental institution to develop slowly and with comparatively minimal significance. The “Daddy’s Girl” opening shows her escape and helps us understand the abusive relationship with the father.

More interesting is the alternate “Exorcism” opening titled Blood Pen. This introduction is an outrageous exorcism scene showing Lynn under vulgar and violent demonic possession, clearly intended to tie-in with the runaway popularity of The Exorcist (1973). The scene was a shocking and entertaining surprise after viewing Pigs, which has a relatively serene mood and style. 

The Vinegar Syndrome release also features a reminiscence interview with star Toni Lawrence, Back on the Menu (Elijah Drenner, 2016).