Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Movie Review: Pieces (1983)

PIECES - 1983 Slasher Flick - Movie Poster

Written by John Shadow & Dick Randall
Directed by Juan Piquer Simón

Christopher George .... Lt. Bracken
Frank Braña .... Sgt. Holden
Jack Taylor .... Prof. Arthur Brown
Edmund Purdom .... Dean
Ian Sera .... Kendall
Paul Smith .... Willard
Lynda Day George .... Mary Riggs

A young boy is caught by his abusive mother putting together a nudie-girl jigsaw puzzle, only moments before securing the vaginal piece into its home. She flips out and ransacks his room in search of more “filth.” Rather than part with his precious collection of pornography, the boy kills his mother with a hatchet and saws her body into...you guessed it: pieces. Covered in his mother's blood, the boy sits back down to complete the puzzle.

PIECES - 1983 Slasher Flick - Nudie Puzzle

Flash forward forty years, when the boy is a madman and his mother is nothing but memories and mementos in a shoebox.

Young co-eds at a Boston university have been found murdered and cut-up, each with different body pieces missing. The police believe it to be an inside job, either a member of the faculty or a student. They bring in a sexy young officer to go undercover as the new tennis instructor and enlist the help of Kendall, the resident ladies man, to help her out.

They find Willard the groundskeeper at one of the murder scenes, complete with a bloody chainsaw. He's arrested but is quickly released due to lack of evidence and then welcomed back to his job. The murders, of course, continue.

And that, unfortunately, is about the extent of the storyline.

Right off the bat we know that it's the boy from the opening scene who is behind the murders. The question is, it's forty years later, and who has the boy become? Is it indeed Willard? Or Professor Brown? Or the Dean? Or perhaps even the lieutenant or one of his men? And what's he doing with all those pieces he took, anyway?

This film has quite a number of plausibility flaws that I just couldn't get past. First of all, I found it odd that a tennis pro doubled as a police officer (and an undercover one at that.) I also couldn't buy the fact that the lieutenant deputized a horny frat boy with no experience or skills, for no real apparent reason. And a college with a kung-fu instructor? That's where I draw the line.

These flaws, coupled with the horrendous acting and ridiculous soundtrack, proved to be a near-lethal combination for this movie. It turns out to be nothing more than a mediocre slasher flick in a long line of mediocre slasher flicks, probably only of interest to those who think that a dozen or so Friday The 13th's just isn't enough. The only noteworthy part of Pieces, other than a small handful of entertaining shots, is the fact that it unsuccessfully touched on certain themes that Lucky McKee's May would later conquer.

ALSO KNOWN AS: One Thousand Cries Has The Night

89 Minutes
United States/Spain/Puerto Rico
Spanish (English dubbed)

Am I alone in thinking that a reproduction of the jigsaw puzzle from the opening scene would be a great product for collectors? With the same naughty pieces missing, of course.


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