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Review: Pieces (1981)

Writer: Lance Vaughan


In 1942 a small boy is scolded by his mother when she finds him putting together a jigsaw puzzle that depicts a naked pin-up girl. The child mildly over reacts to his mother’s haranguing by slamming a fortuitously located axe into her skull. Now it’s 40 years later and college girls are being similarly dispatched on a Boston campus. It seams that kid with the anger management problem is now all grown up and creating a 3d version of his beloved puzzle out of female body parts! Will the police be able to discover who the killer is in time?

It’s not likely with Lt. Braken (Christopher George) on the case. Rather then bother with the only suspect who is old enough to actually be the killer in question (Edmond Purdom of Nightmare City), Braken decides to rely heavily on an undercover tennis coach (Linda Day) as bait and the dubious assistance of one of his main suspects, the school’s homely lothario (Ian sera). luckless coeds are mutilated left and right with maniacal abandon and even a nosey reporter gets slashed to ribbons on the school’s waterbed (?) as our intrepid investigator half heartily attempts to catch up with the audience.

Written by sleaze legend Joe D’amato (Anthropophagus) and directed by Juan Piquer simon (Pod People), Pieces like the tag line assures, is “Exactly what you think it is.” From it’s opening depiction of matricide to it’s mind boggling left field closing shot, Pieces leaves few stones unturned in it’s commitment to the sleazier arts. logic must bow to the god of gore here and thankfully so, Otherwise we wouldn't have a scene where the killer hides a chainsaw behind his back upon entering an elevator just so he can fashion his own version of the Venus de Milo.

What Director Juan Piquer Simon lacks in finesse he easily makes up for with enthusiasm and bravado. Bad dubbing, gaping plot holes, backward logic, skateboarding mishaps, arbitrary kung fu attacks and the most hilariously over the top hysterics ever recorded on film do nothing to slow down this mad mosaic of sadism, graphic violence and "bad chop suey". (You really have not lived until you have witnessed the back alley altercation that inspired a shout out in Cabin Fever not to mention, Linda George’s oscar baiting meltdown ) Actually, the cock eyed delivery of red herring Paul smith (Crimewave) is more than enough to recommend this film.

Pieces has everything possible going against it but thanks to Simon’s lunatic spirit (and commitment to the pillars of slasher film, nudity and gore) it is never anything less then hypnotically entertaining. It’s a beautiful example of the slasher pick in it’s purest, most base form and grows more and more intriguing with each viewing.



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