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Pieces (1982)

Review

Author
Date
10-21-2001
Comments

Pieces (aka Mil gritos tiene la noche) was released in 1983, accompanied by a grisly ad campaign that promised "It's exactly what you think it is!" Infamous when it played theaters, it became a cult item in video stores during the 1980's, propped up next to other Carter-era gems such as Driller Killer, Toolbox Murders, and Three on a Meathook. While most of such bottom-feeding, low budget horror schlock from the Grainy Seventies, have fallen into desevered obscurity, Pieces has enjoyed a long shelf-life and warm memories from genre fans.

A series of brutal (and hilarious) chainsaw murders plague a Boston college. Intrepid detectives Christopher George, Frank Brana, and Linda Day George are on the case, with the help of local lothario/amateur sleuth Ian Sera. Hard working though inefectual, the bodies(and body parts) pile up until they finally stumble onto the killer.

The less said about the plot, the better. Pieces is a bold attempt at making an American giallo, by an American production company, and Spanish director Juan Piquer Simón (Slugs, Cthulhu Mansion). Like most gialli, the plot is thin, and the mystery shallow. Dialogue is prefunctory, though the actors are game, and give it their best shot. Similarly, the direction is uninspired and the pacing flacid. The script, co-written by Joe D'Amato, is as flat and witless as the rest of his catalog.

So why is this such an enduring cult item? Simple. Its funny as all hell. Its sleezy/chessy murders, leering camera, and unconvincing effects all combine to make one hell of a crass, cynical bit of exploitation cinema.

After being out of American circulation for years, Pieces is finally back. It has arived on DVD, thanks to the Diamond Entertainment. Like most of their releases, it is a bare-bones, full-screen, unrestored VHS print. But at $5.99 (at Best Buy), who can argue? And who would pay more?

Comments

I caught this back in 1982 at

I caught this back in 1982 at a small theatre in Boston. It was the uncut version (no one under 17 was admitted) and had a small audience.  I LOVE horror films and usually give them lots of space...but this one was just awful!  The gore was plentiful (and very fake); the plot was stupid; the dialogue hysterical; it was obviously not shot anywhere in Boston (even though it takes place there); had more gratuitous female nudity than usual and the school stud was played by a small ugly guy!  I sat there sort of stunned. It was SOOOOOO bad it was hard to believe what I was seeing.  It was a sick, stupid and hilariously exploitative movie.  Thanks for giving it the review it deserved!    

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