Wanna See Something REALLY Scary? The Dancing Pig

“Wanna see something REALLY scary?”

To horror fans who came of age in the 1980s, the line above instantly evokes memories of Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks in the opening scene from Twilight Zone: The Movie. Now, on a bi-monthly basis, I’ll be asking, “Wanna see something REALLY scary?” with the goal of shocking you with chilling footage plumbed from the darkest corners of YouTube.

I’m sure you’ve already seen the gif above featuring a nightmarish pig puppet sticking out its phallic looking tongue before revealing a toothy, sinister grim. Ever wonder where the hell this footage comes from?

Le Cochon Danseur aka The Dancing Pig is a 4-minute silent film produced in France in 1907, based on a popular vaudevillian act. The pig puppet was actually considered a marvel in special FX at the time! While modern horror movies often mesh themes of sex and death, it’s hard to know exactly what the filmmakers’ intentions were with The Dancing Pig. The burlesque aspects are titillating, but the woman’s tormenting of the pig and his final maddening mug seem downright surreal and otherworldly!

Wanna see something REALLY scary?

Check out Le Cochon Danseur in its entirety below and I think you’ll agree: It’s more terrifying in its entirety than the nightmarish gif it unleashed upon the masses! I’m including an extensive synopsis from IMDB, which explains the action taking place while offering some illuminating historical context. Enjoy!

Next stop: The Uncanny Valley!

Official Synopsis: A girl in a short Belle Epoch chorus outfit stands in a small circus ring with a flat of a fancy entrance way with portieres. Into frame steps an enormous fat pig of about 6 feet in height. This is a comical, cartoon-like pig, wearing a tie, waistcoat and Victorian style jacket with a small ill-fitting hat. It’s a most impressive costume, expertly handled by the one wearing it. It shows smooth, articulate expressions and body movements, giving a very believable illusion that it’s an actual living being. He expresses affection for the dancing girl, mimicking a proposal, but she refuses, and strips off his outfit, an obvious breakaway that separates in the back. In his embarrassment, he tries to cover himself with his front legs and pouts and appears on the verge of tears. She makes him wear a fluffy tutu-like skirt around his middle. They both dance together, doing kicks and hops in unison, until they finish by turning around, arm in hock, as it were, beyond the curtain behind them. The whole film has been in one static take, a full body shot centered on the stage. Suddenly a close up of the pig, filmed earlier when his clothes were on, of a tour de force of wild mugging. He opens his eyes wide, looking at us, a crazy teeth and gums bearing smile, he shuts his eyes, gushes into a laugh, his ears wiggle madly,and his tongue, (obviously the operator’s arm in a stocking) sticks out from his mouth waving back and forth as the Pathé trademark abruptly ends the film. (a lot of their efforts at this time end in a close-up of the star, perhaps in that primitive day they thought a film needed some sort of coda to signal the story was over.) Also seen in this film was a man who removed a table and opened the ring, being inconspicuous in the background, like you weren’t supposed to see him. It would seem we’re seeing a filmed music hall/circus act. The pig is really a wonder, and must be seen to be believed. It’s far too sophisticated a costume for just a film.

Got an idea for a future installment of “Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?” Hit me up on Twitter @josh_millican!

Wanna See Something REALLY Scary

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Josh Millican

Josh Millican head writer at Horror Freak News; his work can also be seen at Blumhouse.com.

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