It’s March 14. Pi day.
This is great because I like maths and I like pie. I like all kinds of pie. It’s hard to come up with pie I don’t like. Apple is classic for a reason. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had coconut cream pie, but Gilligan and Mary Ann convinced me that it’s aces. Hostess pies were worth fighting for back in my cafeteria days.
I’m not picky.
I even accept tarts. Any size and shape is an acceptable pie. I won’t quibble if you want to call a pizza pie.
Savory pies are also welcome. I’ve got fond memories of pot pies, shepherd’s pies, and quiches.
If you put a bunch of birds in a pie, that’s fine. However, the original doesn’t sound quite that fun.
Sing a Song of Sixpence,
A bag full of Rye,
Four and twenty Naughty Boys,
Baked in a Pye
Whatever surprises are baked into my pies, I leave the long pig out except for very special occasions.
That’s often true of my movie watching as well.
There’s been plenty of cannibalism in movies. Most of those movies are hit or miss with me. I’m not a fan of the Hills Have Eyes films. I like some of the Texas Chainsaw films. Hannibal Lecter is no friend of mine – I always found him to be a tiresome braggart. I keep meaning to watch the Hannibal TV series, but I don’t want it to cool my ire regarding the Anthony Hopkins portrayal.
Generally, I lean more toward the likes of Ravenous, Soylent Green, and Alive. I like the weirdness and the quandaries more than the gore. I always mean to watch the various well-known early films (the apocalypses, terrors, and holocausts), but I never get around to them. The Green Inferno has been collecting digital dust on my DVR for ages. I have no serious desire to change that.
Give me the humor of Gravy (definitely under-recognized low-brow cannibal humor) before another group of backwoods champs looking for a cheap meal (Wrong Turn excluded because I have a soft spot for the heroine).
Perhaps my tastes were influenced by watching Eating Raoul as a twelve-year-old. Thank you to whichever over-tired, glassy-eyed adult let us bring that one back from the VHS rental shop.
Nevertheless, I went against my grain and, in honor of Pi Day, I watched Dying Breed. It has cryptid hunting (Tasmanian Tiger) and an Irish Pieman (St Paddy’s day is coming up, after all). That should balance out the creepy clan of cannibal clodhoppers.
It was a better film than I expected.
There is a distinct lack of gore compared with other movies of this type. There are clear hints, but not many in-your-face visuals. A nude, butcher-hung dead girl was done with very quick, mildly fuzzy shots. You know what you’re seeing, but you don’t have to soak in it.
The Pieman’s story is done quickly, before the opening credits roll.
Alexander Pearce was an Irish convict who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land for seven years for theft. He escaped from prison several times. During one of these escapes he allegedly became a cannibal, murdering his companions one by one. In another escape, with one companion, he allegedly killed him and ate him in pieces. He was eventually captured and was hanged and dissected in Hobart for murder.
The story is pretty typical of the genre. The main couple is only different for having the woman (who just happens to be Irish) be the driving force behind the trip to Tasmania – she’s hunting for the elusive cryptid (and, some clues about her dead sister, who disappeared in this exact location eight years ago). Her boyfriend is a dud and remains so all the way through to the end. The secondary couple is a nice, attractive but uninterested woman and her horrifically loud, violent and douchey boyfriend.
You can image how they arrive in some untouched-by-the-outside town of creeps. Everything is named after the Pieman, including the meat-pie “factory”.
They are exactly who we think they are. The pies, the people, the kid. Viewers will be surprised by how easily they guess the specifics, but the film doesn’t hide them from us or the main characters.
The pieces come together quickly. We get a glimpse of the elusive tiger (not awful CGI and better for not lingering on screen), whose sole purpose in the film is to act as an analogy. See, the creeps are like the hidden tiger! Cool, I guess. There’s another scene with puppies of sibling dogs being killed because the folks can’t abide that kind of progeny. There are rules! This is a storyline pile-driver, in case anyone didn’t know what was going on here.
The movie ends poorly for the protagonists. The dud boyfriend completely fizzles out by the end. I’m fine with that. He didn’t earn anything better.
The story was pretty unpleasant, but you are left to imagine most of it, which arguably makes the impact of the action more unpalatable, but also makes it a better movie. It is a cannibal horror movie, after all. Pleasant was never really the aim.
Anyway, time to go eat a piece of pie or three or fourteen.