Sunday, November 28, 2010

Movie Review: Pieces (1982)

Ha ha! You don't have to go to Texas for a chainsaw massacre!

Pieces is not a film that I've heard that much about, but apparently it's kind of a big deal. In terms of pretty much ANYONE'S standards for technical achievement, this is a really bad movie in almost every aspect. But we horror fans are well-known for overlooking that sort of thing and appreciating a movie for what it does and what it is. I realized about 2 minutes into this flick that I was going to be doing just that.

This is the part where I tell you the plot: In 1942, a young boy brutally hacked up his mother with an ax after she chastised him for doing a puzzle with a nekkid lady on it. Cut to the present - well, 1982 - and some freako with a chainsaw is cutting up girls on a Boston college campus, only taking certain pieces (ha ha, get it? Pieces?) with him. A sweater-wearing nerd named Kendall, who also happens to somehow get hot blondes to proposition him for sex in the pool, gets involved in the investigation with Sergeant Dumb and Lieutenant Dumber. There's also a tennis player girl named Mary Riggs who's also a cop that goes "undercover" at the school to help catch the killer. This black glove wearing killer still has his favorite puzzle from childhood and is using its image to assemble a real lady puzzle. Why? Who cares.

Like I said, this movie is really bad. If I actually took the time to come up with a ratings system, Pieces would get something shitty like a 2 out of 5 or a 4 out of 10. But then I also kinda liked it. The casual movie-watcher who sees this film would probably dismiss it right away. Ah, but not weirdos like we horror fans. Bad dialogue, bad scripting, bad acting, and lots of tits and blood means that Pieces is not a bad movie - it is a CULT CLASSIC. It's "so bad it's good." It is cheese-tastic sleaze at its bloody best, and gosh darn it, we can love a movie like this AND think it's shit at the same time.

But exactly which crappy part of Pieces makes it crap (but good crap)?

I fear I would only permanently damage my brain by thinking too hard about all the things that don't make sense in this movie. Like, I'm not even going to ask for an explanation for the random appearance of an Asian dude throwing kung-fu kicks and punches at Mary when she's out "investigating" one night. There's just no point in trying to figure out where in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks that came from or what it has to do with the rest of the movie. Just watch it and laugh. That's what it's there for.

In the same fashion, at the beginning of the film we have a scene of the killer opening up his box of mementos from his murder of his mother. This is interspersed with another out of place action scene of a girl skateboarding down the sidewalk and running into a large mirror being carried by delivery men. I don't get it, and I don't want to.

The gore effects are actually not all that bad in Pieces, aside from the opening scene. In that instance, the ax the boy uses on his mother's head very obviously bounces off of her instead of actually sinking into her skull like it should, but it's all good later on. The part where the boy continues to do his puzzle whilst covered head to toe in blood makes up for that little bit. All the other kills are quite fun and wonderfully bloody. It's hard to pick a favorite. From the girl getting pulled out of the swimming pool by that bug and leaf scooper thing, to the waterbed attack where the killer shoves a knife into the back of the girl's skull and it comes out her mouth, to probably the best one where a topless girl is split in half in the bathroom, there is plenty of gore goodness for any horror fan to enjoy.

I always hate movies that portray police officers as morons but this was just ridiculous. Tennis pro/cop Mary never once says or does anything to make us believe that she is a cop. In fact, she doesn't even make us believe that she's a tennis pro, either, because in the one scene where's she's playing tennis, she kind of sucks. Lieutenant Dumber actually asks Kendall to keep an eye on Mary while on campus, and basically deputizes him when he should be one of their main suspects. I also love how they storm the dean's apartment when they know he's the killer. They bring no backup and Lieutenant Dumber shoots the lock on the door three, count 'em, THREE times to quietly announce that they've come to arrest him. Then when they find drugged Mary on the couch, they both leave Kendall alone with her to call the ambulance without even searching for the dean in the apartment. He's hiding behind the curtain, eejits.

I've never cared about giving away the ending to a film and I don't see why I should start now. After the killer dean is himself killed by police, Sergeant Dumb casually leans against a bookshelf revealing a freaky revolving door. Hanging up there is the real lady puzzle that the dean has been building from his pieces of girls and we get a great slo-mo shot of her falling on top of poor Kendall! Oh, but that isn't the end. After a random establishing shot, we're back in the apartment and as Kendall is walking out past the real lady puzzle corpse, she suddenly reaches up and grabs his crotch, managing to rip through his jeans with only her fingers and pull his balls off. Whuhhhhhh? Ah, we're back to the brain-hurting thing again. Best to just leave it alone like the rest of this movie and skip the wine for the cheese. The cheese is the best part.

Greatest line from Pieces: "Bastard! BASTARD! BASTARD!!!!!" Oh, this amazing dialogue was ingeniously delivered. Where is that girl's Oscar nod???


  1. PIECES rules. The ending is fantastic and it's such a fun bit of sleaze throughout, with gleefully atrocious acting and sloppy violence and a red herring around every corner. Plus - star Christopher George is sort of a legend in my homeland of Astrovania and he deserves every imaginable kind word & courtesy.

  2. I love this revolting little cinematic turd.

  3. "The most beautiful thing in the world is smoking pot and fucking on a waterbed at the same time." - ah, my beloved "Pieces", one of the greatest and most entertaining exploitation flicks ever made. Glad that you like it!

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  5. Pretty little scary film! I remember watching this really terrified when I was a little boy.

  6. have you ever seen "Scream Bloody Murder" ? 175. starts off with a kid who kills his father with a tractor, but i cant tell if it is deliberate or accidental. then it crushes his arm. as an adult, one handed with a hook, like a pirate, he is a psychotic.....

  7. you should watch "Scream bloody murder" 19775