Pieces (1982)

FEBRUARY 3, 2008


This week will make one year of daily horror movie watching. Imagine if, after going 364 days without missing a single day, I just sat on my ass and did absolutely nothing to ensure that magic 365-0 mark would come to pass? Then I’d fit in with my New England brethren!

Anyway, after that heartbreaking, ballstomping clusterfuck of a disappointment, I needed to watch something VIOLENT. I needed release, dammit, and what better way to get it (from the couch anyway) than with a splatter movie about a guy chainsawing some girls up and making a jigsaw puzzle out of their body parts? Thank you, Pieces, for helping to keep my mind off the depressing “it was all for nothing” events of the day.

However, in an ironic coincidence that I had to laugh at, the film begins with a title saying Boston, 1947. Now, no slasher movies are set in Boston, ever, so this was a bit of an eye-opener. But then, they cut to the interior of a house, and on the kid’s wall is a New England Patriots banner!!! The fact that there WERE no Patriots for another 13 years (and they were the Boston Patriots until the 70s) did not escape me, it seemed like it was Lucased into the film just to spite me. Fuck you, anachronistic movie!

But then the chainsawing began and all was well.

While not as violent as I expected (only 4 or 5 deaths), the movie was a blast, and I for one cannot WAIT to see it again in a few weeks at the New Beverly, where it’s showing as part of Eli Roth’s film festival (full lineup HERE). You never want to watch a movie for the first time with that crowd; it’s designed for appreciative fans who will likely be talking and laughing over most of it. And more than any other film I’ve seen there (or plan to), this one is seemingly filmed with that sort of experience in mind. Scenes like the one where a guy comes out of nowhere and begins kung-fuing the heroine for no reason, then complaining about eating bad chop suey, seemingly have no purpose other than to provide a crowd full of slightly drunken horror fans a reason to laugh as soon as the scene begins.

There are plenty of moments like that in the film, from odd dialogue (“The most beautiful thing in the world is smoking pot and fucking on a waterbed.”), killings that don’t make a lick of sense (the killer grabs a guy’s crotch and manages to tear off his genitalia with his bare hand – thru a pair of jeans no less!), and of course, atrocious overdubbing (they seem to be speaking English, but it’s often clearly not the same actor saying the lines). I also like how blasé the police department is about what has to be the most violent campus in the world – at one point a reporter’s question about the possibility of a serial killer is dismissed by the chief, who says “There are maniac rumors at that school every couple of months!”. How many people have died there, exactly???

Is this why so many of my jeans get a hole there?

The gore is also pretty fantastic (read: ridiculous and over the top). Given the nature of the film, there is a lot of dismemberment on hand, but the fact that we actually see a lot of it is pretty impressive. My favorite was when the killer steps into a small elevator, hiding a giant chainsaw behind his back. The victim doesn’t notice, somehow, but then he whips it out and relieves her of her right arm. A+!

One thing that was kind of a bummer was how they automatically remove one of the primary suspects (it’s a whodunit) early on. We see the killer’s legs as he walks around a library, and he’s got blue pants on. Then the guy they want us to think is the killer walks by, and his pants are brown. Granted, if he WAS the killer it could be chalked up to continuity error, but still, I never once suspected him through the rest of the film. Oh well.

The film has a good pedigree – one of the writers was the infamous Joe D’Amato (if you haven’t seen his film Antropophagus, you’re just not living life), and another writer, Dick Randall, was a producer on Slaughter High (Marty!). I don’t recognize any of the actors, but the music is a Goblin ripoff, so there’s something. My DVD is sadly not the special edition, but a cheapo budget pack version on a set called Blood Bath. Kill Baby Kill is also on the set, and I have the special edition of that via the Bava box set. So if the other 2 movies suck I’ll give away Blood Bath on a future contest. Deal?

What say you?


  1. I kept waiting for you to mention the awesomely horrible, " BASTARD!!.........BASSS-TARD!!!!!! ..........................BASSSSTAAAARD!!!!!!..."

    It makes sense that Eli Roth would list Pieces as one of his favorite gore movies, seeing as the aforementioned kung-fu / chop suey scene is apparently the direct inspiration for the bizarre "PANCAKES!" / mulleted karate-kid scene in Cabin Fever. In the Pieces scene, I love the casual, "oh, it's my Kung-Fu professor!" ( huh!? ). As if to say, "Jeez, what's all the fuss about someone jumping out and trying to violently attack you in the middle of the night, dumbass?"

    I've seen Pieces with a horror marathon crowd and this scene, (as well as "BASTARD!") gets the biggest reaction. You're in for a treat. How can a crowd not get pumped by a poster with one of the best (and oddly enthusiastic) horror movie taglines ever? - Pieces: "It's Exactly What You Think It Is!"

    Your multi-pack version can't be that much worse than my cheapo, Diamond Entertainment copy (... darkest transfer since Mountaintop Motel Massacre...) which is lazily split into Diamonds' requisite 4 chapter maximum. I guess that's what you get for $5.

    ..it also might be of interest to some that this movie stars trash/horror icon Christopher George (along with his wife), who also appears in cultural milestones like Graduation Day, Mortuary, and Fulci's City Of The Living Dead (aka Gates Of Hell)...

    Keep up the good work, bud! Love this site!


  2. Haha I wanted to mention the BASTARD! line but i couldnt remember the exact profanity and couldn't remember exactly where it came in, so I would have had to scan around at work (the crotch rip was easy to find :).

    Good call on the pancakes thing! Makes a hell of a lot more sense now. All the more reason why it's important to watch films in order!!!

  3. I actually had trouble finding that scene too after reading your review. So..for easily accessible Pieces DVD hilarity:

    Kung Fu Professor attacks at 00:50:53

    .. and the BASTARD!! scene makes the world a better place at around 01:04:00


  4. This is indeed exactly what you think it is...that is, until the out-of-nowhere incongruous but yet completely awesome "shock" ending! I mean, WTF?

    I envy you seeing this with a big crowd. Should be a ton of fun. And hey, isn't there a pool scene in this that is a direct "homage" of the pool scene in the original Cat People? That's class, is what that is! :)

  5. yes! I saw this at the New Bev. We went to see Caddyshack and Bachelor Party but I had to convince my friends to stay to for a minute of the next movie (the seats in that place will cripple you). Once it started, we couldnt leave. And the last scene made me howl. Awesome movie.

  6. Ah, see, you gotta know where to sit. While the back rows of the bev and most of the ones on the right side are torture, the front 3rd seats are perfectly comfortable. And I'm the biggest baby when it comes to seating, so if they're OK to me they should be fine for all. Those ones in the back though... christ. I'd rather stand.

  7. this movie kicced ass wish it had a soundtracc yell


  8. Honestly, my favorite film. I hope next year to get the New Bev to show it on my B-day. I will pay any price. Seriously BC, how did you get them to play Shocker? Did you have to pay for the print? Or did you just suggest it and they acquiesced? What's the deal with Phil Blankenship and the New Bev grindhouse. So many questions about that place and no one to ask...

  9. i loved this movie. i just searched this fucking site for 4 hours just to find this one movie to leave this comment. <3

  10. This review was pretty buried. It took me like 4 minutes...

    Saw it last night and enjoyed the hell out of it. Not only was that kung fu attack out of nowhere, but it was also mildly racist (probably on purpose as some kind of low quality satire). Bad chop suey!?? Haha!!!

    The tri-"Bastard" is suddenly one of my new favorite things.

    Let's not forget the spectacular kid-on-mom ax murder at the beginning. That's "stand up and cheer" shit, right there. Also, the waterbed murder (as well as the quote about sinning on a waterbed) was awesome. I was a kid when waterbeds were all the rage. All the cool kids had them (I didn't) at the time. Does anyone sleep on a waterbed anymore? What happened?


Movie & TV Show Preview Widget