Friday, July 8, 2011

It's ALWAYS what you think it is. Day 4 PIECES review

               When I was 13 years old ( during the summer of '97) I spent almost every imaginable hour at my grandmother's house , which rested on a busy street  surrounded by trailer parks and failing businesses. It was a common practice for me to wake up at 9am everyday and rush up the street to the video store and spend countless hours poring over every single lurid tittle and sleazy big box I can find. It was upon one of these trips that I came upon the worn out visage of a film that would soon change my entire outlook on the horror genre as I knew it. That film was Juan Piquer Simon's Pieces a sleazy take on the chainsaw mythos that introduced an entire generation to the " sleaze slasher film " and outraged an entire nation of lesbians.....oh I mean feminists. While countless fans where salivating over the cool calculated scares of John Carpenters' Halloween ( way overrated in the eyes of yours truly ) I was jamming out to the sheer anarchy and misogynistic glory that was pieces.

       Pieces was originally given to director Juan Piquer Simon by producers Dick Randall and Steve Minasian and was intended to be a a two part television mini series. The producers offered Simon the scripts with the hopes that he could inject a bit of realism and urgency to the proceedings, " making it moderately believable". Well Mr. Simon failed this task just a tad and we are so damn thankful that he did. The film itself was co - written by none other then the maven of Spanish sleaze himself Joe D'Amato . And boasts a wide array of special effects that are exceptionally  bloody thanks to the use of a real pig carcass is a truly " stomach " churning evisceration scene.

           Pieces opens on the right note as  we are treated to a young boy putting together a jigsaw puzzle of a nude women as his mother walks in the room. The mother is not pleased at the sight of her son drooling over a naked women and proceeds to beat the shit out of him , ordering him to get a trash bag so they can clean his room of all the porn. The little boy obeys his mother and quietly walks out the room returning soon after with a big fucking ax which he uses to slash his bitch of a mother to pieces. Forty years later someone is reconstructing  the erotic puzzle with beautiful babes slashing each women  and using the limbs as piece is his gory little jigsaw puzzle. It is up to a tennis star undercover with the police , and a hard ass cop to track down the killer before it's too late.

                   What follows is a journey into sheer madness and insanity where scene after scene is filmed without any regard to to who it may offend and any sort of logic when it comes to the laws of common decency.In short , Pieces is a FUCKING blast !!! There are moments in this film that will leave you scratching your head and then staring in amazement at the sheer genius on display before you. Scenes unfold with no logic or reason or sense of time or place. One scene early on in the film has a young women laying on a blanket in broad daylight minding her own business reading a school book , suddenly a large man dressed in a parka pulls out a LARGE chainsaw and lops the women's head right off in a river of gore. No one notices for awhile. One of the more " truly " bizarre scenes has our protagonist wondering along the streets at night when he is suddenly attacked by a crazed " kung fu " master who's only explanation for the attack is  " bad chop suey". Duh, Gets me everytime . The school the film is set in seems to have everything ,  at one point it is revealed that a water bed has been installed in the gymnasium , to which a character replies " There's nothing like getting high and fucking on a water bed ". Did I mention Joe D'Amato co wrote this baby with Dick Randall ( producer of the classic Slaughter High)  , say what you will about these men but there is no denying they are artists.

                                  The gore itself is simply put , fucking fantastic it flows freely and has that Hershell Gordon Lewis tinge of dark crimson to it that gives the violence a cheap dirty feel. Arms are hacked off , a women has a knife thrust through her face , yet another women is dismembered in a bathroom , and a man has his penis ripped off through his pants. Good shit my babies , good shit.

                                Piece's does slow down a bit in it's second hlaf but is never boring thanks to some very fun and likable performances from such veterans as Christopher George , Lynda Day George , and the always phenomenal Edmund Purdom ( both Lynda and and Christopher would star next year in the equally bizarre and wonderful Mortuary ). Edmund Purdom being the stand out in the film his character The Dean is a cocky British aristocrat of sorts who wants the everything kept on the hush hush so as not to damage the reputation of his university.

         Pieces is , for me , a very important part in how my love of sleaze cinema developed. It is a merciless and  nasty descent into slasher territory that avoids all pretense and tension in favor of lavish gory set pieces, graphic nudity , and aerobics. Pieces is a film that demands to be seen and even if the second half does bog down just a little the extreme twist ending is guaranteed to make you forget any complaints you may have had and cherish the brilliance before you. It is that fucking good.

Until next time.......


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