Murder-Set-Pieces (2004)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Overall Rating 41%
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Ranked #4,427
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Set against Sin City, Las Vegas, "Murder-Set-Pieces" tells the story of a fashion photographer whose vocation is murder - a voyeuristic nightmare of blood, sex and brutality. --IMDb
Sven Garrett
Sven Garrett
Cerina Vincent
Cerina Vincent
Tony Todd
Tony Todd
Gunnar Hansen
Gunnar Hansen
Edwin Neal
Edwin Neal
Review by Chad
Added: January 15, 2007
Before I even get into this review, I need to point out two things about the film at hand. For starters, I unfortunately watched the Lions Gate R-rated cut of the film. You may be thinking "Oh, it can't be that much different from the director's original vision", and normally, you'd be correct; however, in this case, there was twenty-two minutes of footage cut out. Think about that: that's an amount of footage equal to an entire episode of Seinfeld that wound up on the cutting-room floor in order to get this film away from the original NC-17 rating and into Blockbusters around the country. I wasn't aware of this minor detail until I had the disc sitting on my desk, so this review will serve as a warning to anyone else considering this purchase and / or rental.

The second thing that I'd like to point out is that director Nick Palumbo is - how can I put this politely - a huge fan of his own work and won't hesitate to let the world know about it. There's a lot of reviews and press out there that have given this movie an unfair treatment due to his admittedly bold statements and aggressive marketing, but I won't stoop to the level of those other sites. He made a film and got the word out about it, a feat that a lot of directors haven't been able to accomplish, so I'm going to judge his work by its own merits and ignore his online notoriety.

With that said, this movie sucks. This is almost certainly a result of the gaping holes that Lions Gate left behind after they took their scissors to it, but it's true: there's simply no redeeming qualities about this version of the film. There's no storyline here aside from an unnamed man (Sven Garrett) who goes around killing prostitutes. He's from Germany, he's a Nazi, he carries a straight-razor, he has pedophile tendencies, and he really likes to murder gorgeous young women. To be fair, there seems to be pieces of the storyline itself missing from this cut, since scenes and events are mentioned that we never get to see. However, getting away from "fair" and back into "reality", I'm reviewing what I did see tonight, and that's the extent of both the character development and the storyline that you're going to get from this disc. With that out of the way, the real reason you'll consider picking this up is for the "shocking, horrific, [and] controversial" content that you've probably heard mentioned... right?

Considering that there's no story to be found here, you'd think that the violence and bloodshed would be the selling point; after all, there are a number of Asian directors that have went that route and have made quite the name for themselves. You won't get any of that from the Lions Gate disc, since every last kill is either hacked out completely or edited to the point of uselessness. Our hero grabs a woman, pushes her down, pulls out his straight-razor, and... next scene. He ties a woman to a chair, revs up the chainsaw, and... next scene. Every last kill follows that formula, and considering that the violence is truly the only reason to watch the film, it goes without saying that this is far from a recommendation. I honestly have to wonder if someone had a vendetta against this film, since Lions Gate is the same company that released Hostel, The Devil's Rejects, and countless other unrated gore flicks with no concern for the brutality of the included content.

It's not all horrible, though. The cinematography and the musical score are quite effective, and Sven Garrett was adequately convincing in his role for the most part. There's some neat visuals and props to be found, and there's even a few cameo appearances from Gunnar Hansen (as a Nazi weapons-dealer) and Tony Todd (as an adult store clerk - a role that was so good that it single-handedly bumped my final rating up a point). However, a visually impressive film coupled with some geek-out cameo appearances doesn't change the fact that this version of the movie isn't even worth the bandwidth it would take to pirate it.

Perhaps the director's cut of the film is leagues better than this release - it certainly couldn't be worse. When you consider that the majority of the edits were most likely trimmings of included scenes (the actual "money-shots") and a couple of the more extreme scenes (scenes which couldn't have went for more than two or three minutes), twenty-two minutes is a lot of footage to be excluded from the final film. I'll compare the two versions on this page if I ever get a copy of the original cut (which is doubtful considering the price that it's going for), but this version of the film reeks. 2/10, and half of that is for Tony Todd's three minutes of screen time.
waxtadpole3657 #1: waxtadpole3657 - added 01/15/2007, 02:33 PM
I saw the uncut version of this film a couple months ago (I'd heard all the hype, so I downloaded it), and I have to say...it's not worth watching at all. I love my films gory as hell, but there's no story linking these kills together. Basically, we get a crazy Neo-Nazi going around killing random girls (often shouting at them in German before killing them, which is almost laughably bad). And that's it. This film just didn't do it for me. I'm not one to be offended by movies (I don't think I've ever been offended by another movie in my life), but there was one scene that was just downright wrong. I don't know if it is was in this cut, but when The Photographer goes back to his house to see his wife or girlfriend (she's German, as well, so I'm guessing that's who she is; again, the story sucks), he kills her for whatever reason, and he begins walking over to the baby's crib (who is terrified, by the way), carrying a straight razor, all covered in blood. He's going to kill him, but he just picks up the baby and puts him down. We then see the baby crawl over to his dead, hacked up mother. The thing is...THAT WAS THE REAL BABY'S MOTHER. That baby wasn't acting. It really was scared to death. I can guarantee that he's going to have problems when he grows up. Another thing that annoyed me about this movie was the absolute stupidity of the little girl. Instead of going to get the police when a half naked bloody German man pops out of a hole in the ground...SHE HIDES UNDER A BED AND GOES BACK INTO THAT HOLE. *sigh* I could go on and on about how much this movie sucks, but I'm running out of space. I'd just like to finish off by saying that Nick Palumbo is an asshat. Here's a comment he made about his movie in a recent blog. "'Murder-Set-Pieces' was ahead of it's time. It started this whole "Torture"/"Splat Pack" sub-genre of horror that is so popular now. ("Hostel", "Wolf Creek", Hills Have Eyes"-2006), "Turistas", "Hostel 2", etc...etc...etc..." Yeah...whatever.
Chad #2: Chad - added 01/15/2007, 05:47 PM
That scene with his girlfriend is yet another part of the film that is chopped to hell. In the R-rated cut, she yells at him for a while and slaps him a couple of times, so he pushes her up against the wall and makes a mean face at her. That's it, we never see her again and it's on to the next scene.
Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #3: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 01/15/2007, 07:14 PM
When I first heard about this movie a year or so ago, I immediately put it on my "Want To See" list. I guess it was during October when I just couldn't wait any longer to get my hands on it and view this horrifying film, so I searched around in hopes of downloading it. Man, you don't know how excited I was when I found it [running approximately 90 minutes in length as the director's cut and I'm assuming that version still contains all the nasty-nasty as this quote by Nick Palumbo regards, "It is Uncut as well, but I tightened the film to my original vision. (I edited my Director's Cut version for artistic reasons, not censorship reasons)."]
With that said, well... the rest of what I was going to say has practically been said by waxtadpole3657, as I feel the same way. It was extremely disappointing, boring, and lame despite the saving grace of the so-called "disturbing scenes of gore," which of course didn't leave too much of an impression on me - although, that scene involving the toddler and dead mother did leave me at a loss for words also (not necessarily speechless but more so dumbfounded) but I'm still not sure whether any kudos should actually be given to Mr. Palumbo for that. Oh, and about the September 11th footage: Ummm, why!? I feel sorry for anyone that bares to sit through this whole movie, let alone the R-rated cut. I also pity Nick Palumbo and his friends for their hyperbolic descriptions and attempts in the promoting/hyping of this poop.
Now, I will say something on the positive side: Murder-Set-Pieces is a horror movie with lots of blood senselessly thrown about and the director... well, he certainly tried his best; that's saying something right? He tried. Bravo.
Crispy #4: Crispy - added 02/01/2007, 01:42 AM
Uwe Boll "tries" too, then still doesn't prevent him from headlining my Little Black Book of Directors to stay the hell away from.
bradbunson #5: bradbunson - added 03/03/2008, 08:57 PM
I don't understand how you could give this film such bad reviews. I own the NC-17 version and LOVE the film. There were so many things that were taboo about the film that made me feel dirty. This movie blew Hostel and Wolf Creek away. I also enjoyed the cameo of August Underground director Fred Vogel.
Andrew D. Gore #6: Andrew D. Gore - added 04/24/2008, 01:19 PM
WOW, I had thought I had "seen it all" until I popped this Directors Cut copy of "Murder,Set,Pieces" in my DVD player. I sat there Stunned, Shocked and Amazed as this Slick-n-Sick MASTERPIECE played on with scenes of Violence and Torment that doesn't let up throughout the entire film! Director of MSP, Nick Palumbo, must have a set a balls the size of King Kong's to put out this slick-stylish serial killer film, that even included scenes with actual news footage of the Twin Tower 911 attack (remember this film was released in 2004)!! His NO HOLDS BARRED cinematic assault with "Murder, Set,Pieces" puts Nick in a film in a sick-n-twisted category of it's own! As soon as the film ended I contacted Nick, who I had met years ago, and praised his film to the highest (or should that be lowest) level of 100% film making genius! He told me via our phone conversation that it was the only film in the history of cinema that was BANNED from the Big 3 film labs (Technicolor, DuArt, and Deluxe)-who REFUSED to process it due to its EXTREME content !! "M-S-P" was the first 35mm horror film to be released UNRATED in theaters in the last 20 years and was BANNED from every film festival AND every HORROR film festival in North America.
This UNCUT, DIRECTOR'S CUT version, "Murder-Set-Pieces"---is the shot on beautiful 35mm film and, at a budget of $2.2 million dollars, the most expensive independent horror film ever made and certainly the most SHOCKING!
All I can say now SEE IT!!

Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #7: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 04/24/2008, 04:34 PM
Encore! Encore!
George Snow #8: George Snow - added 10/07/2008, 11:55 PM
I saw this piece of shit, and it SUCKS.

Now I have an even stronger reason to hate this movie. Murder Set Pieces replaced Us Sinners at the Chicago Horror Marathon this month.

Nothing like being replaced by garbage.
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