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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.
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.
Review by Chad
Added: January 15, 2007
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.
- 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..."
- 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
- 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)."]
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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
All I can say now SEE IT!!
- 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