Sure, it sounds like a bad SyFy channel original (as if there are any good ones), but surprisingly enough, Razorback is probably the finest giant flesh eating killer pig movie you’ll ever see.
First time feature director Mulcahy exercises his music video chops (Total Eclipse of the Heart!) to turn the Australian outback into a surreal fog-laden landscape. (Tell me again, why are there junked automobiles in the trees?) And the script by cult favorite Everett De Roche (Long Weekend, Patrick, Road Games) constantly keeps you off-kilter. Forget your safe All-American no-kill list here. Kids, dogs, animal rights activists… they’re all among the first to go. Plus, the mechanical pig doesn’t disappoint. It’s huge, filthy, and despite the fact that it’s on film, quite smelly. In fact, by the time the climax in the rather unsanitary dog food factory rolls around, you might just develop a deeper understanding of why the ancient Jews readily agreed to civil laws which forbade the eating of pork altogether.
Actually, there are a number of theories postulated as to why pork was proclaimed unclean to the Jews, ranging from the obvious health risks presented by porcine parasites to the use of swine in the sacrificial rites of nearby pagans. Whatever the reason, the important thing was that the Jews not eat the stuff. So important that, as we see in this week’s reading from 2 Maccabees, they were willing to face torture and death rather than take a single bite of bacon.
These days, of course, we gentile types can pop open a pack of pork rinds guilt free because Jesus fulfilled the promises of the Old Covenant. And in doing so, the Catechism tells us, He perfected the Jewish dietary law “by revealing its pedagogical meaning through a divine interpretation "Whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him… What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts."
But that doesn’t mean we should ignore stories like the Maccabeean tale of the seven brothers that deal with “The Law”. In a June 2002 address, the soon to be Pope Benedict XVI noted of Jews who fervently observed the ritual laws, “They were convinced that everything depended on being in the right relationship with God, on knowing what pleases Him and what one can do to respond to Him in the right way. For this reason, Israel loved the law: from it, they knew God's will, they knew how to live justly and how to honour God in the right way: by acting in accord with his will, bringing order into the world, opening it to the transcendent.” That’s a philosophy we can all bring to our own religious practices, regardless of whether or not we get to have a ham sandwich for lunch or not.