"Horror films can hold a lot of crazy ideas and political ideas and no one blinks," says author Robert Mailer Anderson, "and that serves our purposes now, coming from a lefty background and the green state of San Francisco." Best known for his novel Boonville, Anderson is the co-writer and producer of Pig Hunt, a funny, grisly, over-the-top frightfest about a group of city pals on a backwoods outing gone wrong. The movie’s crammed with all the usual goodies: motorcycles, lesbians, shotguns, Grade A weed, and a 3,000-pound boar with a really bad disposition. We caught up with Anderson by phone in Toronto, where he was completing the final edits and color corrections following the movie’s premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival and also meeting with distributors in town for the festival. "They want to market it as a slasher film, but I think it’s for anyone who ever bought a truck or a six-pack or hunted," Anderson declares. "We’ll get the horror crowd, and they’ll like it, but this is a bigger part of America."
There’s the temptation to look at smart people making genre movies as though they’re slumming, perhaps because so many scary pictures are exploitation flicks devoid of ambition, creativity, or craft. In Anderson’s case, he’s tapping into his Mendocino County roots. Pig Hunt begins in San Francisco (where the production shot for three days), and the rest takes place in and outside of Boonville, where he went to high school. "My problem is I side with rednecks more than with the yuppies coming up for their hunting trip," Anderson confesses. That explains why he played a local in the movie (even doing his own stunts), and why, he says, "For me, aside from the 3,000-pound pig, it’s just home movies."
Like a lot of 20th Century American kids, Anderson relates, "I was raised partially at the drive-in. Even though horror may not be my favorite genre, I still remember seeing Peter Fonda in Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and Burt Reynolds in White Lightning and the Gator films. He was a king horse drive-in hero for me, and a lot of people in America." If you’re guessing that Anderson and director Jim Isaac (Jason X) might have been under the influence of the ’70s when they shot Pig Hunt, test your hunch and check out the trailer at www.PigHuntMovie.com.
Anderson chose a horror film for his first foray into the movie business as the likeliest way to reach an audience, repay investors and lay the groundwork for his next project. But he couldn’t resist shoehorning some social commentary in amongst the bloodletting.
"It’s there if you look for it but it’s not overt, because there’s nothing worse than to wear your politics on your sleeve and have a political dissertation," Anderson says. "But fairly deftly we deal with race, class, the war in Iraq."
Anderson is well aware, of course, that what ticket buyers really want from Pig Hunt are thrills, chills, mayhem, and malarkey. "At the end of the day, it’s just anarchy and a very fun ride. And a joyful ride. A lot of horror films are very mean-spirited and they’re gruesome in a way that’s not fun. It’s a smart film that loves being a movie."
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