Directed by Juan Piquer Simón (1982)
Reviewed by MaT, added on Apr 29 2006
Pieces is a wonderful slice of hokey European slasher fun. Consider the opening scene: a seven or eight year old boy is busy putting together a puzzle of a naked woman in his bedroom (!). His mom comes in and freaks out on him, destroying the puzzle and screaming "Do you want to turn out like your father!!??". She then orders the boy to get her a plastic sack as she ransacks the room, finding porno mags and freaking out. The boy comes back, not with a plastic sack, but with an axe. He then proceeds to hack at his mother's head, decapitates her with a saw, and then continues to put the naked woman puzzle together as if nothing was wrong. Soon the cops arrive and, not believing the woman's killer is the kid, take him to a family member to live. Fast forward 40 years and a dude in a black trenchcoat and a black hat is ripping up college coeds with a chainsaw. Who's the killer? It ain't difficult to figure out, but it's a lot of fun watching along the way.
Pieces suffers from the usual suspects in terms of low budget slashers: choppy editing, a pace that bogs down in the middle, and some truly dreadful writing. The script is so bad that you'll find yourself laughing through most of the film. Early on, one girl gives a line that should be considered a classic: "The most wonderful thing in the world is smoking pot and fucking on a waterbed", and y'know, she says it in that sultry Euro sex-pot kind of way that makes it even funnier since she's trying to play it straight. But for all of its flaws, Pieces makes up for it with a lot of spunk, gore, and hammy glee. The killings start pretty much from the get go and they are quite graphic and impressive considering the time. Granted, this ain't Savini work, but there are plenty of shots of chainsaws severing arms, torso's and the like. At 90 minutes, the film feels about 10 minutes too long, but there are enough unintentionally hilarious moments, and unexpected death scenes, to keep one interested. The plot and "Whodunit?" storyline is passable and props must be given to the filmmakers for at least attempting to give some "depth" to the film, even if they don't quite pull it off. Plus, there are lots of naked European girls. That's a plus right?
If ever there were a film that needed to be released on dvd in a re-mastered special edition, Pieces is it. I've heard rumors that one is in the works, but as of now, there's only a really crappy looking version out. If you can find this as a vhs at some local mom and pop shop, rent it. If you like cheesy European slashers, Pieces is a must see. Now, where's my naked lady puzzle...
Comments from Jeff...
I love this flick, I have the cheapo $4.99 Diamond DVD release, which ain't great but is better than nothing. The great WTF? moment at the end caps off the movie's wackiness nicely. Thumbs up!