Release Date: August 23rd, 1982 (Spain)
Directed by: Juan Piquer Simon
Written by: Dick Randall, John W. Shadow
Music by: Librado Pastor
Cast: Christopher George, Paul L. Smith, Edmund Purdom, Linda Day
Artists Releasing Corporation, Film Ventures International, 89 Minutes
“Yes! While we were out fumbling with that music, the lousy bastard was in there killing her! BASTARD! BAAAAASTAAARD! BASTAAARD!” – Mary Riggs
Pieces is a Spanish-Italian-Puerto Rican-American production that is actually quite good, even if it is essentially a rehash of several slasher and splatter film tropes.
The film takes place in Boston, where some exterior shots were filmed. The rest of the production was done in Spain, which is obvious by the architecture as well as the flora.
It is mostly a Spanish-Italian co-production and because of this, reflects the visual style of those regions. While it is a straight up slasher flick with a heavy emphasis on chainsaw dismemberment, it has a giallo styled visual flair. There are lots of dark shadows and high contrast with beautiful vibrant colors added in. While it isn’t as vibrant as some of the traditional giallo pictures, the influence of the style is quite prevalent.
The story isn’t anything to write home about but all you really need for a good gore-filled slasher is a setup. Any setup will do, really. As long as there is some sort of violent or twisted backstory about the killer. In this case, as a boy, our killer murders his mother after she freaks out about him playing with a nudie puzzle. Forty years later, the killer, whose identity is a mystery, murders young girls and takes specific body parts from them. While committing his violent acts, he puts pieces of the nudie puzzle back together: forming a full woman with each murder.
The real highlight of this film is the murders. They are all pretty graphic and for a foreign picture from 1982, I was really impressed with the special effects. Practical effects, even when resources are limited, always show the passion of those creating them. The effects and the gore were just really well handled and executed in Pieces. There is a fantastic scene where a knife goes through the back of a head and comes out the mouth. There is another scene where a girl is literally chainsawed in half and it was just a great sequence.
There is some random bizarreness in this movie. The biggest example is when a Bruce Lee lookalike jumps into a scene and kung fus the shit out of one of the ladies. She pulls a gun on him, he kicks it, knocks her down and then another actor runs up and apparently the guy was just messing around and then runs off.
Pieces is a pretty good slasher movie. While some people still remember it, it has since been mostly forgotten due to the high number of slasher picks from the era. It is nowhere near the best in the genre but it is better than average and a better movie than some of the more famous slasher films.