Grindhouse-Releasing-Pieces-Cover-ArtHorror  |  23 September 1983 (USA)

Young co-eds are being cut up by a chainsaw killer on a college campus. The killer is attempting to put together a human jigsaw puzzle made from body parts.

Director: Juan Piquer Simón (as J.Piquer Simon)

Writers: Dick Randall (screenplay), Joe D’Amato(screenplay) (as John Shadow) , 1 more credit »

How does one review Pieces properly? That’s my biggest question going in to this. For example, I just finished reviewing V/H/S 2. I gave it a mediocre score, and now, here I am. It is difficult to be consistent when going from a sub-par 2000’s film to an also sub-par, but TONS of fun, 80’s cheese-fest. Try to keep in mind that I’m reviewing this on a 1980’s slasher scale and I think we can get on the same page.

Mommy issues

There are many negative things that people could, and do, say about Pieces. It’s certainly no cinematic piece of art, nor is it well-acted or even very well written. It’s just a low-ball film from a very different time for the industry. No movie that has come out in the past 15 years can capture the same feel that it has, it’d be nearly impossible as a matter of fact. Either the video quality is far superior even if it has the same rough script and acting, or the entire thing is just extremely bad and hard to watch. Let’s face it, there are a plethora of new slashers with great video and audio quality, cheesy lines and bad acting with their share of gore. And hey, the gore is usually decent. But what it fails to do is entertain, as Pieces manages. This film is a great example of horror being subjective. But let me try to make a review if I can.

There’s a lot wrong with this film. As I mentioned earlier, the script is bad, the acting is bad (not all) and the quality is less than stellar, but somehow I still enjoyed myself a lot. I picked up the Grindhouse 2-disc version due to most others having very dark imagery, I had heard good things about this release.

For the time it comes from, the budget and everything else, it really does look pretty good. This is one of those films though that can be what it is and still keep you happy even if VHS is absolutely all you can see it on. But who am I to turn down a disc version?

The packaging it comes in is pretty rich to say the least. It’s a bit corny, sure, but as soon as you open it up, you’re feasting your eyes upon a pretty disgusting scene from the film. That made me that much more excited to watch, not that I’m sick or anything, but that is pretty much what it’s known for. Well, that and the lack of any real cinematic value. It’s never been known as a ‘good’ movie, nor will it ever be. It’s just a slasher that you HAVE to turn your thinker off for to enjoy. If you try to make sense of what’s going on, you’re probably not going to find anything about it that you like.

Here’s a good example to help elaborate; the cops allow a student to hop right on board with them and investigate, keep an eye on an undercover and bare witness to each gruesome scene even though he’s had little to actually tie him to any of it. They just welcome him in and TRUST him (it’s in the dialogue!) as if he’s been a beloved force-friend for a decade. A KID! It’s a real stump if you ask me, but if you have any potential of enjoying yourself, you HAVE to overlook it!

Bag O'Pieces
Bag O’Pieces

The film starts off, as I’m sure you’ve heard having done any research about it at all, with a little boy putting together a puzzle of a naked girl. His mom comes in, sees it, loses her mind and he goes psycho absolutely out of nowhere. We’re never offered an explanation of why he overreacted, nothing at all, but he really does a number on her. He hides in the closet, cries for his mother and he’s let right off the hook instantly. The times were surely different, but have you ever heard of Lizzie Borden? He’s capable, VERY capable we find as the film progresses. And somehow, he manages to get her shoes and dress to keep as a token of her murder. Would they really just give bloody things to a person, especially a child? I doubt it. Even if so, they’d definitely do all they could to get the blood out.

We’re lead on a wonderfully corny journey through so little really, but one that was quite fun for me. Although the acting can be painful at times, the fact that the characters are really hard to understand and the story just doesn’t help much becomes a big part of why most would rather avoid it.

The movie is just silly mostly. Bloody takes second tier though they did make sure to give viewers plenty of splatter for their buck. If you’re looking for a Friday night flick with friends (ones who hate gore especially), then it might be the right one for you. I enjoyed it, but I’m not too hard to please when it comes to this sub-genre. I’ve seen a lot of what most consider ‘bad slashers’ and have found joy in them. It is absolutely cheese at its cheesiest. One would have to look to Trauma to find anything more-so. If you’re a fan of Trauma films, chances are, you’ll find something about Pieces that you’ll like. You can probably go in with the right mindset and come out with a grin.

The ending is certainly an absurd little scene, but nothing that’s groundbreaking in these times.

Basically, if you can get into something like Father’s Day or a later Toxic Avenger flick, then you should seek it out and give it a watch. If you have tried schlock and didn’t like it, you should probably invest in something else.

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