If you’re anything like me, you are familiar with, if not fascinated by, a number of serial killers. There’s something about them and their patterns that are undeniably interesting. We all know about Bundy, Dahmer, Gacy, and Gein but do you know about Willy Pickton? I didn’t until last week and honestly I don’t know why. While all the others make for good subjects of documentaries, none of their stories are more perfect for a horror movie than the story of Robert “Willy” Pickton, The Pig Farm Killer.
Willy was a Canadian redneck of the pig farming variety. He was raised on his family’s pig farm and regularly went to school smelling like pig shit. As you can imagine he got picked on a fair amount in school. Even kids in Canada will bust your chops if you go around smelling like pork ass, I guess. That bullying combined with his overbearing and probably psychotic mom really made some fertile soil from which his criminal insanity could really blossom.
And blossom it did. At some point, he took over the family farm and it became the base of operations for his crimes; over a span of nineteen years, Willy Pickton murdered as many as 49 women on his secluded pig farm. That doesn’t even take into account all of the rape and assault that took place before he escalated to murder. The exact number of his victims is unknown. He was convicted of six, the crown stayed twenty other charges of murder, and Willy himself admitted to an undercover police officer that he had taken the lives of forty-nine women and really wanted to kill one more to make an even fifty. So, somewhere between twenty-six and forty-nine murders; either way, that’s one hell of a body count. There are definitely others who outdid Willy in sheer numbers but none were as strikingly fit for a silver screen adaptation.
Willy owned a pig farm and if you’re familiar with the wisdom of Bricktop, then you know why it was a perfect place to kill. He had a ready-made way to get rid of the bodies. Not only could he feed them to the pigs, he could put their bits in big drums and take them to an animal waste disposal plant and they would handle it for him. Hell he could even butcher them and mix their meat in with pork and sell that long pig/pork mixture to surrounding markets to then be sold to the public. He, uh, he totally did that last thing, by the way. When the police finally raided his death farm they found body parts and a head in the freezer. They found processed meat that contained the DNA of missing women. They found a fucking pistol. No, seriously. It was a pistol with a dildo on the end of the barrel and on that dildo was the DNA of a missing woman AND Pickton. A woman who escaped his farm walked into the on-site slaughter house to find a woman hung up from a meat hook and Willy plying his skill as a butcher. This guy made Leatherface and his family look like fucking slackers.
Willy pretty much exclusively killed prostitutes and female drug addicts. He would lure them back to his farm with promises of money and drugs and then proceed to rape and or murder them and cut them up. He had taken so many women from the Downtown East Side of Vancouver that prostitutes in the area were wary about going anywhere with Johns and the transient drug addicts straight up refused to go anywhere with a man. That was no big deal for Pickton, though. He a couple of close female friends who would go into homeless shelters and “strolls” and lure women back to party with “Uncle Willy” because he had all the booze and dope you could ever want. Because the women were seen as less threatening, they made the perfect bait and allowed slick ass Willy Pickton to continue to fulfill his sick murderous desires.
Pickton’s reign of terror finally came to an end when he was arrested in 2002. After hours of questioning, undercover cops posing as cellmates, and a thorough investigation of his home he was brought up on six counts of murder with another 20 cases pending. In the end, he was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder and given life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. When The Crown denied his request for a retrial, they also stayed the other twenty murder charges and finally released the details of his crimes to the public. The good news is that by the time he comes up for parole he’ll be in his eighties and he isn’t exactly the picture of good health; so there’s a good chance that he’ll never breathe free air again. We can only hope.
Honestly, I’ve just glossed over the highlights of the long and fascinating life and “career” of Robert “Willy” Pickton, there is so much more to really dig into. If you’re interested in true crime and serial killers as well as horror, I really think you’d enjoy checking this dude out if you haven’t already. Personally, I’m patiently waiting on a “based on The Pig Farm Murders” movie because horror can be fucked up but sometimes the true stories are the strangest ones.