Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Christopher George, Linda Day, Frank Brana, Paul Smith, Edmund Purdom
Directed by Juan Piquer Simon
Released by Grindhouse Releasing
Now this is an 80’s movie if I’ve ever seen one. Dancing, nudity, skateboarding, and lots and lots of blood. Pieces may not have lived up to the hype heaped upon it by such vocal supporters as Eli Roth, but it is a good time for anyone looking to shut their brain off and enjoy some senseless bloodshed.
The story beings in 1942. A young boy is sitting in a barren room, piecing together a puzzle. When his mother comes in and finds that the puzzle is of a naked girl, she freaks out like the imbalanced nutcase she obviously is. She orders him to get a plastic bag so she can throw all his perverted stuff away, but instead he returns with an axe, like the imbalanced nutcase he obviously is, and finishes her off with a few blows to the head.
Cut to 40 years later and a black-gloved killer is stalking a Boston college campus with a chainsaw, transforming the female student body into student pieces. Ha! Anyway, a detective named Bracken (George) is in charge of the case and soon enslists the help of student, Kendall (Ian Sera) and former tennis pro-cum-cop, Mary (Day) to try and find out who’s behind the killings.
As the bodies pile up and still not a single clue presents itself, one has to wonder just how crafty this killer is. I mean, he’s slaughtering girls with a chainsaw for God’s sake, not exactly the stealthiest of weapons. How is it that no one’s hearing their screams or, at the very least, the roar of the chainsaw? That’s only a small bit of logic you’ll have to set aside if you’re going to enjoy Pieces, though, so why nitpick?
Los of blood, lots of parts and more than enough nudity are in place to keep fans happy and move things along at a decent pace, though it does slow way, way down in some parts. You really can’t fault it too much however, considering the mayhem that is incurred when things pick back up again. Of course, there’s the infamous ending that will most likely make up for any and all issues you have with the film as a whole; it’s that good.
Grindhouse has done a great job with the DVD, as is to be expected. Though the cleanup isn’t spectacular, something tells me it’s as good as it will ever look on any format. Besides, a film like Pieces is supposed to look grainy and dark, that’s part of its charm.
For audio tracks, you’ve got a lot of choices; you can watch it in English with the wonderfully cheesy 80’s soundtrack, in Spanish with the original soundtrack done by Librado Pastor (which is dubbed, but honestly the music is much better) or with a live audience soundtrack recorded during a Pieces screening at The Vine back in 2002. This last option is the best if you want the full experience of seeing this with a crowd, it’s a helluva lot of fun and I wish more cult films had this option. Good stuff!
As for features you’ve got a nearly hour-long interview with director Juan Piquer Simon, in which he goes into much detail on his life and history in the cinema, and another hour-long chat with star Paul Smith, who played the stink-eyed gardener/red herring Willard. I found the latter a lot more interesting, as Smith’s worked with everyone from Robert Altman (as Bluto in Popeye) to David Lynch (as Beast Rabban in Dune) and he’s got some great stories.
There’s also some terrific still galleries, one full of behind-the-scenes and production shots from Pieces and another featuring covers from all the film’s various video releases over the years, some of which are just downright confounding. There’s also a nice 10-minute video segment with the Grindhouse guys talking with director Simon about all the lobby cards and posters he has from the movie.
Cast & crew bios and a huge selection of trailers from past and future Grindhouse releases round out this well-stacked 2-disc set.
Honestly, Pieces really does have something for everyone; boobs, blood, mystery, sex, dancing and non-stop puzzle action! Grindhouse has shown once again that they’ve got the utmost respect for this kind of cinema and have given the film a DVD release more than worthy of its cult status.
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
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