Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 days of terror - day 1 Pieces

 31 days of terror!

Day 1


PLOT - Young co-eds are being cut up by a chainsaw killer on a college campus. The killer is attempting to put together a human jigsaw puzzle made from body parts.

LOWDOWN – So to kick off my 31 days of terror for the month of October, I decided to base this week off the 1980's. The first day we will be looking back on the Grindhouse slasher classicPieces.

The first time I heard about this little underrated diamond in the rough was years ago when I first watched Going To Pieces: The Rise And Fall Of Slasher Films. This is by far one of the greatest documentaries I've ever watched as a fan of horror, and was instantly drawn whenever clips of this movie were shown or mentioned. That year I picked myself up an old battered bootleg copy at Rock & Shock and the rest is history. I enjoyed Pieces so much that I ended up buying the two disc special edition DVD the following year.

Pieces is exactly what hardcore slashes were supposed to be back in their heyday. In 1982 the slasher boom was in full swing and more and more films were being released despite the budget or the storyline. With an Italian director, actors Christopher George and his lovely wife Lynda Day George, a few untalented unknowns, a clever plot, cheesy over the top moments, a water bed, buckets of blood, a chainsaw, and one hell of a creepy unseen killer Pieces made it's way into slasher history. The most amazing is it's clever tag-line “You don't have to go to Texas for a chainsaw massacre!”

Pieces took some time to truly warm up to me. In fact for a while I found it's gory in your face nature a little depressing. After a few viewings and some much needed beers the movie began to show it's appeal to me as a great true red blooded slasher. These movies like I said were being cranked out one after another. Details and budget weren't really a huge factor. Movies were made for cheap and had more than enough bad moments. Still I feel that's where a good amount of it's charm comes from.

Pieces tells the story way back in the early 1940's in Boston (represent!) where a mother discovers her little boy playing with a puzzle that shows a naked woman. Outraged and over reacting a bit, she storms into his room breaking a mirror with his father's framed photograph from the air force. Demanding he throw everything out, she searches his room when out of no where the little boy comes in with an axe and starts swinging right into his stunned mother's head! Alone and covered in blood he hacks up his mother's body parts and stays with it's pieces for several days before neighbors come around and get the police to break in when nobody answers the door or phone. The little boy thinks fast, pretending that a madman broke in, butchering his mother. The police and neighbors are heartbroken and take the little boy away not knowing he's the one who did the horrifying crime.

Forty years later a pair of gloved hands open a box. Inside there's the mother's bloody dress and high heels. Along with the objects is the mother's photograph. The owner of these hands is outside one day of a college campus when a young girl on a skateboard comes wheeling by at full speed. By accident the girl crashes right into a large mirror two delivery men are carrying. Watching the accident triggers the person's memory of when their mother smashed the mirror all those years ago. The following day on the campus the unseen person waits seeing the same girl who was on the skateboard studying alone in one of the yards. That's when the person charges forward dressed in black and a tall hat. Raising a chainsaw they chop the poor girl's head off right in broad day light!

It isn't long before the police are involved as they interview the dean of the collage and it's teachers. It seems the girl's head was never found! The following night another young girl is killed late at night in the indoor swimming pool. Her body chopped into bits with pieces of herself missing. That's when the police decide to put an undercover agent at the school posing as a tennis instructor to see if she can find anything out about the murders. Along with the local campus stud, the two work with the police in trying to find out who's responsible and what's happening with all the missing body parts. One by one more young co-eds are murdered as the mystery continues.

With some really bizarre moments (the kung-fu guy, the two different women clearly playing the body, and of course the memorable line “BASTARD!” this is a movie you clearly have to just sit back and enjoy the ride. As many flaws that it has, Pieces is a gritty early 80's movie full of nudity, gore, bad dubbing, and body pieces! Believe it or not I really enjoyed the ending scene, and jumped the first time I watched the human puzzle piece fall out. With a head...or should I say ball scratcher of an ending, Pieces is a weird awesome blood soaked movie all gore and slasher hounds should check out. Much like Graduation Day (which also stars Christopher George) this movie is a classic that still lives on and is a must to see around this time of year!

Also head on over to Fright Rags to check out their stunning new Pieces shirt!

3 Stars!

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