Bits & Pieces Directed by Leland Thomas, Starring S.E. Zygmont (1985).
The credit music sounds like fake DEVO, probably because they couldn't afford "Bits and Pieces" by the Dave Clark Five. After sitting it through a marathon of slasher flicks, I imagine the 13 year old me eagerly awaiting the next blood drenched skin flick and then popping this dime store oddity in and immediately shutting it off. It opens with a bare-assed male strip scene as the camera leans in uncomfortably close to those hairy ham hocks. That would definitely scare me off and be like a bucket of ice water on my libido, after wanting to see more co-ed shower scenes and axe hacking maniacs. In this slasher movie, we get a killer with an Oedipus complex that according to Chas Balun "tries hard to be the U.S. equivalent to J.P. Simon's Pieces". I think it's trying to be Maniac for the LGBT community.
|Let's get this paunchy belly party started!|
The star creepo is named Arthur (played by S.E. Zygmont, which sounds like a fake name). He immediately reminds me of Joe Spinell, since he talks to mannequins and is haunted by his mother. Tanya (Sheila Lussier), a teased up blonde get abducted by the bowl-hair cutted wacko who wears office attire and calls everyone "Mommy". He straps her to a table and grunts and groans like he's taking a shit as he cuts into her.
|Are you even listening to me?|
Lussier ended up in some semi mainstream garbage like Glitch! and Beverly Hills 90210. No one else in this film however was ever seen or heard from again (sort of, more on that later).
The shoestring budget is pretty apparent, but I've seen worse and it's rare for this style to be shot on film instead of the usual shitty-o.
Bob Carter (Brian Burt), a seasoned lieutenant shows up to where the dead body was found cut up in a dumpster. Most of the actors are terrible and this film is oddly fascinating.
|What if Ron Swanson and Ron Burgundy mated?|
Tanya, the girl that was chopped up and stuffed into garbage bags has a friend named Rosie that Arthur decides to stalk and kill. The voice of his mother antagonizes him into following her in order to get rid of any witnesses. The lieutenant puts out a police sketch of the missing girl that looks like a bad drawing of Murphy Brown.
|NYUK NYUK NYUK!|
I feel like the director Leland Thomas may have owned the male strip club that the movie is centered around and basically wrote a slasher movie around its location. Arthur the maniac uses the parking lot of the strip joint as a human hunting ground and finds plenty of victims. He resembles Vincent Gallo in a Shemp Howard wig. In a flashback they show his mother humiliating Arthur, after she finds him spying on her while she has sex. That kind of abuse reminds me of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. They punish the child by making him wear a wig and put on lipstick. His mother is a total drunk skank and he eventually kills her.
|I wore those spectacles from The Jerk and now I'm cross eyed|
Tanya's friend Rosie is very stupid and keeps calling her friend for weeks on end to see if she's home. She doesn't figure out that her friend is dead until the police sketch shows up on the front page of the news.
Every girl in this film has bouncy blonde mall rat hair for some reason. The soundtrack frequently plays this irritating magical wind chimes sound. Bob starts a relationship with Rosie (which is against protocol, he should probably be thrown off the case)! They have a little beach date montage scene accompanied by some terrible music. The killer murders another one of her friends as Bob and Rosie hump by the fire side (man she moves fast)!
|Grain Alcohol wishes and Cheese Doodle dreams|
Arthur breaks in and kills Rosie's parents (I like how her father was in the middle of conducting music on his stereo, then gets knocked out)!
Bits & Pieces wants to get so authentic with the police radio jargon that it sounds like the credit sequence from COPS played for 10 minutes, Breaker, Breaker--10-4 Good buddy. I mean why do we need that?
|I'm the Mummy, I scare people|
You've seen Freddy, Jason, Michael Meyers and Leatherface . . . now get ready for Arthur! That tagline may have worked into duping impressionable 10 years olds to rent this. This film is on that level of "can't believe how dumb this is" combined with "why is this so enthralling and stupid", so in that respect I enjoyed it.
There's an unexpected ending that's pretty satisfying, so get really drunk and you'll be able to make it through. Leland Thomas it turns out is a film professor at Columbia College in Hollywood and made a cameo as the guy who calls Arthur an "Apple Ass". If I went to that school I would bug him all the time about this film. I'm thinking when they remade Maniac with Elijah Wood, they obtained the wrong film and remade Bits & Pieces instead, Bill Lustig you owe Leland a paycheck!