In The Pigman we see two badly dysfunctional families and the temporary happy "family" of Lorraine, John, and Mr. Pignati. What is a family? How do family relationships break down? Why are parents sometimes cruel to their children? Can children break free of the destructive influences of bad parents? What does it mean to be a good or bad parent, anyway? Mr. Pignati doesn't have children, so he lavishes John and Lorraine with presents and attention. Lorraine and John have never had a kind, generous father-figure, so they easily slip into the role of Mr. Pignati's children. In fact, they claim to be his children at the hospital and when talking to the police, when he has his first heart attack.
John's and Lorraine's neglect and abuse have damaged them in several ways.