Writer-director Jon Moritsugu has been making low budget b-movies since the ’80s. But he encountered a serious case of writer’s block that kept him from producing a film for the past ten years. He finally got past the mental block last year and finished Pig Death Machine, an outlandish film about a woman who eats some tainted pork and turns into a genius. He attributes his ability to complete the film, which makes it local debut at 7:30 tonight and shows again at 9:30 tomorrow night at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, to his wife, actress Amy Davis.
“So, for this one Amy definitely got on my ass and was like you got to make a movie, we got to do it together, you know you got to do it and we got it done so the block is gone,” he says. “The concept just comes from us talking about what happens when your dreams do come true and sometimes it turns into nightmares. It’s almost that syndrome where you know you’ve heard it about people winning the lottery and so many times their dreams come true. Then, their lives become a nightmare type of thing so we were talking about characters and what would happen if these characters who have really wild dreams come true and suddenly they're living in nightmares.”
Davis plays the film’s protagonist — you can actually see her IQ rise through the course of the movie as a cartoon-like bubble pops up above her head to reflect her increased intelligence.
“I think it was just the whole idea of genius equals madness,” he says. “The whole idea of you have people wishing they were smarter. A lot of times when you reach the genius level it’s sort of like brushing with madness. We’ve heard all these stories about Einstein not being able tie his shoes or count his change and stuff like that so we definitely just wanted to explore that whole idea.”
Because it’s such a DIY project, Moritsugu handpicked the noise bands that contribute to the soundtrack. A mix of noise and indie rock music dominates the film.
“It just starts sort of starts out with what bands do I like, what music do I like,” he says. “We ended up working with a couple bands that were a little more electronic just because I felt the soundtrack would be better for people going crazy, losing their minds. We have Monte Cazazza and I Am Spoonbender, a little more electronic. Basically it comes down to I love to use music that I love.”
Moritsugu, who also makes music videos, says the writer’s block is officially gone and he hopes to shoot his next movie in his native Hawaii.
“ I have these great ideas,” he says. “I can’t wait to start on this project.”