Film company goes hog wild

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

What is it with horror movies these days?

It seems like every movie commercial I see is advertising some bloody, gory movie.

My teenage daughter and her friends love horror movies. As best I can tell, it seems to be a rite of passage for teenagers to sit through scary movies and then tell each other how silly those movies were.

As a middle-aged dad, I just don't want to spend my hard-earned money watching people get sawed in half.

But you have to hand it to these movie producers who have no trouble scripting horror for moviegoers.

Even independent filmmakers seem to have a love for the horror genre.

An independent filmmaker plans to produce a horror movie called "The Legend of Hogzilla," about a near-mythical hog that roamed south Georgia before it was shot and killed in 2004.

The beast's killer has been enlisted to serve as a "Hogzilla" adviser on the set.

Photographs of the hog hanging from a backhoe were sent around the world three years ago and the town of Alapaha, 180 miles south of Atlanta, adopted Hogzilla as its own. It even held a parade in honor of the wild animal.

A National Geographic team confirmed the pig's legendary status in 2005 after exhuming the animal's remains.

Local hunters said the hog was 12 feet long and weighed 1,000 pounds. The National Geographic experts estimated Hogzilla weighed about 800 pounds and was probably about 8 feet long.

At any rate, this is no doubt the kind of movie that thrills Georgia tourism officials. It's certain to put south Georgia on the map of horror fans everywhere.

The film company, Lithium Productions, says it will need 200 locals for extras and is holding tryouts this month.

"We don't need professional actors," producer Rick Trimm has told The Associated Press. "We need real people who are interested in the movie." Translation: Hollywood's not interested in a pig movie.

I'm not sure what truly qualifies someone to be in a Hogzilla movie. I suppose anyone who loves to eat pork would qualify.

Of course, I like to eat pork. But I'm not looking to gun down a half-ton wild hog. I prefer smaller helpings.

Don't get me wrong. I hope the movie puts southern Georgia on the map in a way that Florida can't.

But I have to wonder if teenagers like my daughter would go see a movie about a beastly hog. It's hard for me to picture Becca and her friends sitting through a movie about a hog even though Becca has been known to eat a few slices of baked ham.

Swamp creatures are sort of lame these days as movie villains. It's hard to imagine that most moviegoers will get excited about a wild hog. Naturally, there would be some exceptions. Arkansas Razorback fans come to mind. The University of Arkansas might want to adopt "Hogzilla" as the school's official movie, and the dead animal could posthumously be named the school's mascot.

Combine a showing of "Hogzilla" and a grits festival and you could have one heck of a party in a Georgia town. I'm sure it's just the kind of thing that economic developers live for.

Plenty of towns would love the opportunity to cash in on local lore like the legend of Hogzilla.

But as far as I know, Cape Girardeau missed out on all the good legends like that of Bigfoot and Hogzilla. And no one's seen "Jaws" lurking in the Mississippi River along our city's floodwall.

Let's face it, we're just beast deprived. I'm sure it's hard for local tourism folks to get up in the morning when they have no beast to market.

We have the legend of the downtown golf course. It's hogged a lot of attention, but I don't think it rises to the level of a horror story just yet.

Mark Bliss is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: