Thursday, October 31, 2013


Pieces (Mil gritos tiene la noche or 1000 cries is the night) Directed By JP Simon starring Christopher George (1982).
Last year I reviewed something totally off the cuff and Halloween unrelated (but no less horrific and terrifying). That film was Alan Clarke's SCUM, a visceral unnerving portrayal of English borstals. This year after the onslaught of Asian flicks that have been invading the blog, I decided to take one day of rest and bring them back later, right now its time for some pieta stuffed with entrails and book learning or Juan Piquer Simon's classic Pieces!
   When I first saw this movie as a youngster I didn't get it and turned it off. All I knew about it was that Paul "Bluto" Smith (who kinda looks like my dad) was chopping up co-eds with a chainsaw at a college. This was during the heyday of 80's snuff scare, Reagan religious hysteria and it was covered in enough controversy which made me want to not revisit it for a long time or maybe I just wasn't ready.
    Then a bunch of shit happened, I went to community college and after the Grindhouse Releasing ultimate version came out, I thought I'd give it another shot, since it was in a less fuzzy condition than the video tape I had seen. That's when I fell in love and now treasure it as one of my favorite slasher flicks! There's two different audio tracks that have separate music (I like the Spanish version soundtrack better than the CAM library score) but the badly dubbed version is essential!
    At no point should there be logic applied to anything in this film, that would unravel it like a pathetic naked mummy. 
   In Boston 1942 a young boy's prude mother freaks out when she finds him putting together a naked girl puzzle. The same thing happened to me when my mother saw an ad for The Gore Gore Girls in Fangoria that showed nipples, accept I didn't hack her to bits (or "pieces") like this rambunctious pint sized maniac did! 
   Years later I went to CCSF, which resembles the campus in this film, there's a pool, a tennis court and lunatics in charge of the asylum.
   Now in present day 1982, a cute skater girl gets decapitated in broad daylight on the lawn by a gardener with a chainsaw.  
Yawn, I wish I had some hotdogs to cook on my desk
   Exploitation vet Christopher George (The Exterminator, Enter The Ninja) and his real wife Lynda Day George show up to investigate. They always work together as a package actor deal I'm assuming. Paul L. Smith is seen polishing a huge chainsaw and case closed, he seems to be the only murder suspect, but OH SHIT! after he's taken away, gruesome murders keep happening. The killer is shown in a silhouette of a hat and cloak that reminded me of those 80's "neighborhood watch" signs.
Have you seen this man? call Mcgruff the crime dog
   In the world of Pieces, five minutes will go by before a naked girl shows full bush and than is dismembered in the ghastliest way possible. All the students are overly exaggerated and Simon is clearly poking fun at the genre (which was still in its infancy in 1982). The students say random things like "there's nothing better than smoking pot and fucking on a water bed". Kendell (Ian Sera) a winter wonderland sweater sportin moppet and his nerdy pal Goggles (or sometimes Swartz) help solve the case. The teachers are totally inept and the shrimpy Dean played by Edmund Purdom seems the one least likely to handle a chainsaw and lug around garbage bags full of mangled body parts, but just wait!
I'm holding this for a friend I swear!
Kendell works with Mary (Lynda George), who goes undercover as a tennis instructor, for what reason I have no idea! She does run into a fake Bruce Lee impersonator and almost gets pummeled to death! Mission accomplished!
I suspect it was Colonel Mustard in the conservatory 
   If you like busty girls in leotards who get naked and than immediately die in the most hideous way, this is the movie for you!! There's an over the top waterbed murder that boils down to the entire slasher genre in one scene, a misogynistic orgy of cathartic violence and catholic repression. Lucio Fulci accused Friday The 13th of that crime before anyone and he was right. Simon however mentions in the DVD interviews, that he was more influenced by Mario Bava. In the early 80's the film was accused of hard edged misogyny and people wrote "sexist pigs" on the poster in lipstick, Simon mentions this in the DVD extras interview. Pieces is impossible to take seriously because the splatter is thick with irony!    
Dusty old bones full of green dust

   So after each murder the killer assembles another piece in his rusty old jigsaw puzzle that he had as a child. When they finally reveal the killer, I was flabbergasted! I mean there's no way he could hack and dismember with such force, using those frail boney hands and fingers (don't worry I'm not spoiling it this time, for those who haven't seen the big reveal). Lynda Day George howling in an awkward fashion BASTARD! is made for a goofy Youtube moment! I also love how after everything is wrapped up and solved, a dick grabbing Franken-corpse pops out of the closet and turns Kendell from man to female!  
The director J.P. Simon in the Grindhouse interview extras mentions that after SuperSonic Man (which just recieved a Rifftrax treatment), he hooked up with producer Steve Minasian and they exploited King Frat together in the Spanish market! 
Available to stream on Huluplus and Buy the DVD, which is packed with tons of vital extras
Remember, You Don't Have to Go to Texas, but you can't stay here (or whatever that tagline was)! 


  1. I also didn't appreciate the brilliance that is Pieces when I saw it as a child. Pieces was the first movie in the first Dog Farm program that I arranged for my friend Phil. It was a roll of the dice. The audience for that wasn't a group of people predisposed to horror films. Fortunately, everyone wound up on the right wavelength, and it was a rousing success. The "ninja attack" brought the house down, and we all wanted Wendy's afterwards. If you've not seen Simon's Slugs (but I'm sure you probably have), it's a hoot, too.

  2. I like how everyone wanted to eat WENDY's in your story!! The ninja guy was like "I must've eaten some bad chop sui". I loved Slugs the movie, of course.

  3. This played for a week or two at the local theater here. I remember begging my mom to take me in '83. She had seen the commercial, so there was no way in hell she was taking me. I did finally see it the following year when it hit VHS. My dad rented both it and BLOOD FEAST, and I got to see them both back to back after school one day. What a double feature that was.

  4. You were pretty lucky, my dad hates horror movies and I would always have to hide this stuff and go over to a friends and watch them in secret. I would see all of these pictures in Fangoria before I ever watched them, both Bloodfeast and Pieces are steeped in self awareness.

  5. I finally got to see Pieces on the late night satellite UK Horror Channel & boy what a schlocky smile enducing slice of Fun it is, replete with the completely unrelated Bruce Le cameo insert, due to Producer Dick Randall's prolific involvement with Kung Fu movies at that time. Such a shame it was Christopher George's penultimate film as he was a real Euro favourite actor of that time & appeared in some beloved horror movies.Good to see the Pieces love :)

  6. It's just got so much to like and I'm not a huge slasher fan at all. It's so trashy and retarded. it never gets old in my opinion. George is always pretty much the same in this as in Gates Of Hell, he delivers!


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