Sunday, December 19, 2010


Pieces (1982)
Dir: Juan Piquer Simon (Slugs)

Sometimes while watching a film I feel a sense of deja vu, I experienced this more than once while watching this film. I swear that this is the exact movie that the classic horror spoof Student Bodies was riffing . From the Campus Killer and everyone in the faculty becoming a suspect to the Heavy breathing killer , very similar to the Breather from the comedy take on the genre, and also the premise of the film was pretty similar to another Gore film from prior to this one with the whole creating of a body by sewing parts of other bodies reminded me allot of Blood feast, although this film being more of a standard slasher as opposed to the whole Egyptian sacrifice angle in the H.G. Lewis classic. I did however have to appreciate the original approach as to why the killer does his bidding, That was truly a new concept for sure.
    So the film opens in 1942, And we see a young boy doing a jigsaw puzzle when his mother shows up and see's that the puzzle is of a nude woman. furious by this the mother searches his room frantically finding several adult mags and when she threatens to burn the pornographic material the Boy returns to the room with an Axe to chop his mother down in order to save his precious smut. Now that is a first for sure.

Shortly after a neighbor hears screams and police are called to the scene, when they arrive the head of the mother is found amongst the blood splattered room and the boy is hiding in a closet crying for his mom , Playing it off as if he was innocent. the child is then apparently sent to live with his Aunt.
Flash forward to 40 years later, Which kind of limits the options for suspects since it becomes obvious very early on that the killer in this film is indeed the child grown up as after each murder we see the puzzle from earlier being put together and the killer is keeping certain parts of each victim in order to complete a human jigsaw, So the viewer knows from the beginning that the killer could not be any of the students and must be someone at least in their late 40's .The killing starts off right away as a student has her head chopped off by a chainsaw wielding man while out in the open of the campus lawn and after that Detectives arrive on the scene and the suspects begin to stack up as most of the faculty are questioned.
The film throws several Red Herrings into the mix , Focusing mainly on The dean , A grounds keeper who looks like the most likely suspect since he resembles leather face and has a knack for the chainsaw, Mr. Brown a potentially homosexual teacher and A student named Kendall who becomes the films main hero later.Kendall is invited to the pool by a girl for a romp but before he makes the date the girl is chopped to pieces by a man wearing all black and the body is found by Kendall later , Upon discovery, Willard the Grounds keeper also arrives on the scene just in time for cops to rough him up and take him into custody after Kendall sneaks off unseen. As this is going on we see the killer heading to a freezer where he stores the body parts until he can sew them together. Basically eliminating those two from the picture in the viewers eyes but not the agents on the case apparently.
After this scenario The body count begins to rise at a rapid pace, with  most of the killings being relatively brutal and the aftermath is always shown in extremely graphic fashion. As for the effects they are pretty well done for the time and Lead me to believe that the only reason this one did not garner as much attention as the more popular films of the genre during the time is because this one may have been deemed to violent for most film goers. As the killings continue not much sets this apart from the typical American slasher, I mean it is the standard College kids get caught alone and killed, while the police and students of main interest investigate. Which is pretty much standard stuff. the jigsaw body thing has also been done before as I said in Blood Feast and the Heavy breathing Killer is a bit ridiculous as was pointed out in The spoof I mentioned before. Also we quickly learn that the victims all know who the killer is as they seem completely comfortable around him until the saw is brought out, yet they do a good job of hiding the identity throughout the film.
There is one utterly ridiculous scene where the killer goes into a elevator with a potential victim and she does not seem to even notice that he has a giant chainsaw behind his back the whole time.
In a brutal change of pace  the killer trades in his saw for a standard kitchen knife in order to shank the female victim several times on a water bed then finally through her skull and mouth, which makes for a good visual.
As the closing scenes approach we get our first look at the human jigsaw and they did a decent job with it , but the head and face and honestly most of the body completely change by the end of the film which kind of makes for a goofy slip up  but not a huge enough one to hate the film over.
Other than the origin of the killer this film does not offer too much originality,  but it does provide some good kills although some are ripped straight from other films ... But with that said this film came out before the Texas chainsaw sequels and those films took a few Kills from this one so I gotta give it credit where credit is due.
Of course like all other films with the whodunit, slasher  theme they attempt at a twist ending but, this one you see coming from a mile away but, the film does manage to pull off a surprising yet very strange bit at the very end after the killer is dead and right before the closing credits roll, that seems to come out of nowhere and truly makes no sense at all but is amusing nonetheless, As we once again see the human puzzle in completion.

Notice though that the jigsaw now is a blonde when earlier it was not.... Small problem there guys....
So as far as Slasher films go, this one is a decent little addition to the genre and I am surprised it is not more well known especially given the body count and the gore being so well done.This one is not the best by far but it is to an extent a innovative one and it influenced several others that came out later and that can be seen easily. Also if you watch this alongside Student Bodies it would be a real trip because this comes off as the dirty version of the same film in many ways. Being a fan of slashers I must say that i truly enjoyed this one although it tried too hard to hide the killer when it was obvious the entire time who it was gonna end up being and the scene right before the credits is truly unexplained and makes no sense but, with that aside this is a pretty good film.
Gore: 8 (Pretty good for it's time , some being downright brutal)
Nudity:6 ( Standard for the genre)
Story:7 ( Basic slash by numbers but, the killers back story gets this one points)
Characters:5 (Nothing special but not the typical group of stereotypes the genre goes to often)
Overall : 6.5 out of 10

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