Directed by Juan Piquer Simon
Written by Joe D'Amato (as John Shadow) & Dick Randall
Produced by Steve Manasian
Cinematography by Juan Mariné (as John Marine)
Music by Librado Pastor
Cast: Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Paul Smith & Edmond Purdom
1983/90 mins/Color/Dolby Digital Mono
1:33.1 Pan Scan/English/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Diamond Entertainment DVD
What do you get when you merge the literary style of Joe D'Amato, the directorial fashion of J.P. (SLUGS) Simon, a little good ol' fashioned American 80's Slasher, some Eurosleeze, and a little Giallo for good measure? Well, you get a jumble of PIECES which make for a stitched flesh blanket of maniacal craptastic fun!
This gory cheesefest opens in a Boston household, the year is 1942. A young lad puts together a jigsaw puzzle singing to the song of Humpty Dumpty. The boy's mother creeps up behind him to see what he is doing and repeatedly smacks his face, yelling, when she finds the puzzle is of a nude woman. "I'll kill you if I ever find stuff like that in the house again", she screams and orders him to get a plastic bag so she can "junk" the pornographic contents of his room. The boy returns with a different surprise -- an axe to her head.
After removing his mothers head with a hand saw the boy finishes his prized puzzle before the nosy neighbor comes with two police officers to find the boy playing scared in the closet of his blood splattered room.
Jump '40 Years Later' where a campus of uninhibited co-eds is being murdered by a chainsaw wielding whacko leaving the young ladies in PIECES. It seems this unknown butcher is dismembering young women for a grisly human jigsaw puzzle of his own!
The film stars two George's -- Christopher George (THE GATES OF HELL, MORTUARY), who plays Lt. Bracken, hot on the case with his real wife Lynda Day George who plays his partner Marry Riggs posing as the campuses new Tennis instructor. The two struggle to find the perpetrator, and enlist the help of a local college boy, as well as some of the faculty. The problem is anyone could be the culprit. Only time will tell...
The acting in PIECES is rather stiff and laughable cheesy for the most part. The only actor to resemble any sort of talent was Christopher George as the no-nonsense detective. Other than him, we get a bunch of over, or under actors with ridiculous performances. Picture a woman finding a slaughtered co-ed, reacting by shrieking "Bastard" at the top of her lungs repeatedly, making for some chuckles, that's for sure.
It's strange with cheesefest's of this era, but they always seem to have the same sort of situations. For example, take the sequence in this film where we get a bunch of spandex clad hotties dancing to tacky music while doing aerobics, before one of them retires to the back room to show us her tits and gets brutalized. That instantly brought to mind the (non)Zombie film NIGHTMARE CITY, where the sequence of spandex clad dancers was shown on television, once again with lame music, to be interrupted by the dancers getting killed by Zombies. Now mind you, the nudity factor in these cheesy gore films is a must and a much appreciated bonus to ones viewing pleasure. If a young lass is about to be strangled and done away with in a pointless gory manner, she may as well strip beforehand to add to the enjoyment of the scene.
PIECES is now over 20 years old. A film of this nature already either has its diehard fan base or it doesn't. A movie such as PIECES doesn't need to recruit new fans. If you are reading this review, and you've gotten this far into it, you are either a fan of this film already, or films resembling the trashy fun of PIECES. So what can this reviewer really say any further to get new viewers to embrace this film? If you know what you're getting into, PIECES can be one of your best viewing experiences of a horror film. The viewer can equally hate and like this film, and take pleasure from the viewing experience. This movie has stiff and over-the-top pitiful acting, masses of nudity, lot's of great blood sprayed gore, a decent score, and not to mention a great ending, or even the kung-fu-chop-suey-munching Asian. I mean come on, with Joe D'Amato and Juan Piquer Simon in this trash tag team, you can't go wrong.
Diamond Entertainment presents PIECES from 'Fully Restored and Enhanced Digital Masters' in a chopped 1:33.1 pan scan version. The picture is no better than the dark and scratchy VHS, with certain scenes that get pretty dark, making it often hard to pick out situations. The film is watchable, but far from digitally enhanced. The audio is simply Dolby Digital Mono and is as uneventful as the picture quality. Just pretend you have the VHS tape and you'll be fine.
The extras herein are 'Direct Scene Access (Go Straight to You Favorite Scenes)' -- a whopping 4 chapters, a short Bio on Christopher, and Lynda Day George, as well as two taglines from the films trailer, but alas not even the trailer is included. The cover art for this DVD is nice and simple like the original poster and works well, but an insert would have been nice.
As it stands there are two other existing DVD's of PIECES -- a German R2 DVD that is actually widescreen, but out of print, and most recently a UK R2 release. For the price of this Diamond DVD (about $4.99), it's better to own a version of this film than not. And who knows when the topnotch Grindhouse version will be available with the mountain of SPIDER-MAN sequels I foresee in the future.
No points were allowed since there is no extras on the disc.
This Film Features:
Review by Chris Nayo. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©