Ginger Nuts of Horror
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VASE DE NOCES (AKA WEDDING TROUGH) (1974)
Thierry Zeno, Belgium, 80 minutes
So, admittedly, this particular movie is pretty obscure and can be pretty hard to find. But in the light of the 'Piggate' scandal that has taken social media (if not the news) by storm I simply couldn't resist finding myself a copy and reviewing this at an incredibly apt moment. Vase De Noces is an experimental horror-comedy from Belgium that tells the tale of a love that dare not speak its name – that between man and pig. It informal third title is 'The Pig Fucking Movie', so there's no messing around here. It also has a reputation as one of the most notorious movies of all time, and is still banned in Australia more than 40 years after its release. So it's time to go the whole hog and get into our review (that's the only pig-based pun, I promise).
Let's start with the bare facts: the story follows our unnamed lead, a farmer, who lives off of his own land and inhabits a massive, empty house. The whole thing is shot in black and white, and our lead never says a single line. Not an uncommon thread here at Film Gutter – Human Centipede II and Flowers have employed a similar device to great effect. The music that provides the background loops wildly from delicate classical music to discordant cacophony, and the sounds of nature and wildlife are very much in evidence here too.
The farmer has one sow, and it's immediately apparent that he has an unhealthy obsession with it. The way he strokes and caresses it is pretty disturbing, and he attempts to have sex with the pig a couple of times before he actually manages the deed. Trust me when I say that scene will absolutely turn your stomach – it looks amazingly real, although I only hope it can't be. The film crosses the boundary of real and faked though - apparently some of the scenes of animal killing in the movie are genuine, although it's hard to tell which they might be. Still, it adds to the ample sense of discomfort the movie makes.
It's not long before the piglets are born (and the birth scene was the second that really did make me nauseous) but there's trouble on the horizon because the 'children' naturally prefer their mother over their father, purely on the grounds that he's not the same species as them. His jealousy festers and his resentment grows that he can't make that same connection with his porcine offspring, painfully driven home in a scene where he tries to make them drink their milk from a bowl at the table. The fact he is also getting stuck into a bowl of cow's milk isn't weird at all...
His reaction? Well, what else would you do but kill the piglets by hanging them? Er, lots of things, but that's his solution. It's hard again to tell here is these are real piglets or props, but the pig's mother does actually seem to be genuinely distressed by that turn of events. The sow kills herself with her children lost, which in turn breaks the mental state of our already fragile lead. The last scene of this one is just... indescribably horrible. It was so disgusting that even though I had so little time left in this revolting movie my hand lingered over the stop button with intent. But I made it – just about...
To call this a comedy is pretty off the mark for me – there's nothing really funny here, not even in the blackest sense of humour. It's flat-out the most unpleasant movie I have ever watched – I was nervous going in, but I was absolutely pale and nauseous throughout a lot of this. I don't even mind admitting I retched a few times. But in the interest of horror journalism, and to keep you guys entertained, I ploughed on. This tops the hideous Snuff 102. This tops the almost unbearably graphic Thanatomorphose. Put simply, this is now top of my most disturbing film list. And yes, it is well filmed and arty and all of those things that we often seek out and like here, but somehow in this instance that just makes it all the worse.
RATING: 6/10. I have seen it, and unfortunately I cannot unsee it. And rest assured I shall not be sitting and watching it again any time soon, or any time, ever. I'd suggest you file this particular tale of bestiality, animal murder and fecal matter under the 'I didn't mind reading about it' category rather than the 'must seek out and watch' section. While there's a lot of film-making skill here it's disturbing on so many levels, and also suffers from a distinctive lack of pace in places, with farmyard shots and kite-flying feeling like they are killing time more than anything else. It's interesting, but boy it is hard to bear watching, so all told I can only bring myself to give it 6/10.
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