Pieces (1982)

DVD Cover (Grindhouse Releasing)
Juan Piquer Simón Juan Piquer Simón
Christopher George Christopher George
Lynda Day George Lynda Day George
Frank Braña Frank Braña
Edmund Purdom Edmund Purdom
Ian Sera Ian Sera

5.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Slasher Film
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Review by Tristan
Added: June 16, 2007
After having watched a certain reviewed movie, I discovered many new 80's slasher films I never knew existed. Since I'm a sucker for them, I naturally set about trying to get my hands on all of them, in one way or another. What I found was that not only did most of them fade into obscurity; roughly half haven't even gotten an official DVD release. For Pieces, I found a region-free, bare bones release for about $2, and after viewing this film, I suggest you try and do the same.

The movie begins in 1942 with a young boy making a puzzle. Seemingly harmless, I know. But once his mother comes in and sees it, we see it's a puzzle of a nude woman. His mother, probably a good Christian, is enraged when she sees this, and begins tearing apart her son’s room in a frenzy, looking for more nude pictures, or other pornographic paraphernalia. While this is taking place, the little boy slips away, terrified, only to return with an axe, and brutally murders his mother. What is really disturbing, is when the police arrive, the little boy hides in the closet, and pretends as though his mother was murdered by "the big man". This automatically lets us know that this kid has a little more going on upstairs than the average 10-year-old.

Cut 40 years to the future, and onto a college campus. A skateboarding girl smashes into the clichéd "men carrying a pane of glass across the sidewalk" and seeing all the pieces go flying, the killer is set off on a murderous rampage. And as the tag line states, you don't have to go to Texas to have a chainsaw massacre. Before each murder takes place, we see the killer re-assembling his smashed puzzle from the 40's, body part by body part. When he puts the head together, he kills a girl and takes her head. When he puts the torso together, well you get the idea.

All these murders are obviously drawing some attention, so Lt. Bracken (Christopher George) devises a plan to have undercover cop Mary Riggs (Lynda Day George) pose as a tennis instructor on the campus, where she can hopefully catch the killer, being closer to all the murders. As suspicion shifts from Prof. Brown (Jack Taylor), The Dean (Edmund Purdom) and even the grounds keeper (Paul L. Smith) the body count keeps going up, making this feel like an attempted Giallo film. It had all the elements, they just weren't executed right. At all. And of course, like every 80's movie, they had to give us a Friday the 13th shock ending.

The one thing that really bothered me was the time frame. You don't know if this took place in one day or ten. It was filmed mostly indoors, and because of the horrendous transfer, it looks like night all the time. Also, everybody seems to be just wandering around, all the time. Apparently nobody leaves the campus, ever. I know they did this so you would suspect everyone, as they were all minutes from the crime scene, but it really took away from the believability of the movie. The other awful aspect was the leading man Kendall (Ian Sera). He went from a goofy college kid to John McClane in a matter of minutes.

Overall, I was not very impressed with this one. It had some nice scenes, here and there, but they didn't make up for the awful dialogue, awful acting, awful dubbing, awful transfer and a pretty awful concept. If you are a huge fan of 80's slashers, you'll probably watch it once, maybe twice, and then wish you hadn't seen it to begin with. I can respect that at the time, these were pumped out every few months, and on a shoestring budget, but considering how this was supposed to be one of the better ones, I was pretty disappointed.

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Chad #1: Chad - added 06/16/2007, 04:25 PM
You can find this included in dozens of different "X horror movies, one low price!" sets. Example, Brentwoods "Slasher Cinema" set has this plus three other slashers for just $5.
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 06/16/2007, 05:44 PM
Yeah, it's included in a Giallo set too. Like how I did the ol' HTML this time?
Chad #3: Chad - added 06/16/2007, 06:19 PM
You had the whole thing from "pieces go flying" on in italics, had to fix that. Smooth one.
Tristan #4: Tristan - added 06/16/2007, 06:21 PM
I forget a slash or something?
Chad #5: Chad - added 06/16/2007, 06:23 PM
You forgot the i in the closing tag. It'll get stripped out if I put it here, but it was less than - slash - greater than.
Crispy #6: Crispy - added 06/17/2007, 04:07 AM
Holy Hell, me and my uncle had a blast tearing this one apart. It's so bad its hilarious. Especially the score, done by "Cam." This masterful composition consists of 2 bass notes, repeated over and over.
bradbunson #7: bradbunson - added 03/03/2008, 09:06 PM
I really enjoyed this film. Gore, nudity, and bad acting that made me laugh.
Nirrad #8: Nirrad - added 08/02/2009, 08:03 PM
Wow, what a stupid ending. As for the movie, meh. 5/10
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