Marc Lawrence, 1972
Starring: Toni Lawrence, Marc Lawrence, Jesse Vint, Paul Hickey
Lynn, a teenage girl, is raped by her father and then kills him. She is sent to a mental hospital, where she insists he is still alive. After a round of electroshock therapy, she escapes and takes refuge in a small town. Zambrini (formerly a circus performer, the Great Zambrini) gives her a job at his diner and puts her up. The two form a hesitant bond: like Lynn, Zambrini has a secret. His beloved hogs will only eat human flesh and he routinely digs up corpses for them. When a local tries to seduce Lynn, she snaps and kills him. Feeling sorry for her, Zambrini feeds the corpse to his pigs. Soon the body toll begins mounting and the sheriff starts to close in on Lynn.
With a great premise and a great title, I expected at least something appealing out of this film, but alas. The print (released by Troma, surprise) is incredibly dark, and obscures about 25% of the film. Not that I think I missed anything. Despite the intense subject matter, the film was boring, bloodless, and boob-less. There were also almost no shots of the flesh-eating pigs, though their incessant, loud squealing appeared at regular intervals. Those were my three real expectations for this film -- gore, nudity, and rampaging pigs -- and sadly all of them were disappointed. I could have ignored the silly plot, bad editing, and inexperienced actors, all of which this film has in spades, if the former three were present.
The most singular thing about this film -- and the creepiest -- is that it was written, directed, and produced by Marc Lawrence, who also stars as Zambrini. His real-life daughter, Toni Lawrence, stars as Lynn. Who writes a film about a girl being driven to insanity and homicide because she was raped by her father and then casts their own daughter? He has clearly one upped Dario Argento. But this is about as disturbing as the film gets. Some moments are effectively sad, but otherwise I didn’t care about the characters, was bored by the action, and was enthusiastic for Lynn’s gentleman callers to get the axe. After about 15 minutes, everything that happens is disappointingly predictable. The acting isn’t so much bad as it is nonexistent, though that shouldn’t surprise fans of exploitation-horror.
Daddy’s Deadly Darling isn’t terrible, but it isn't particularly appealing, either. The sort of niche audience that enjoyed Ulli Lommel’s The Boogeyman (1980) will probably find a few things of interest, though I mostly found it to be a time-waster. Troma put it out on DVD under the alternate title Pigs, though this seems to be out of print. The film is also known as Daddy’s Girl, The Strange Love Exorcist (best title), and Roadside Torture Chamber, among others.