PIECES (Juan Piquer Simón, 1982)
AVAILABILITY VIA JUSTWATCH
SELECTED BY @twiztor
"it is a totally underrated slasher film (my personal favorite type of horror flick). It's not super obscure, so there's a good chance that whoever gets it has seen it before, but IMO it's worth watching again."
REVIEWED BY @The Comedian
So my selection is Pieces (1982). Heard of it, but never seen it. Apparently it's a Spanish giallo (amarillo?)/slasher flick. The director is Juan Piquer Simón, most famous for his follwoing film, Pod People. Yes, that Pod People. So in Pieces, will Simón do magic things like Trumpy, or will I end up declaring bluntly that, "It stinks"?
We get a variation on the Halloween opening here, only in a very unconvincing 1942 Boston. Mom stumbles in on young Timmy putting together a jigsaw puzzle and singing "Humpty-Dumpty". She ain't too happy when the puzzle turns out to be a nudie pic though, so she flips out and commands the boy to get a trash bag so she can rummage through his room and toss his assorted filth. Instead of a bag, he brings an ax, then a saw, and you get the picture. Only Timmy's a bit older and smarter than Michael Myers was, because when the cops show up, he's hiding in the closet, playing innocent and mumbling something about a "big man". So instead of an institute for the criminally insane, Timmy gets to go live with his aunt.
40 years later, there's a serial killer loose, and we're straddling the line between slasher and giallo. Like the former, we know who the killer is; it's obviously grown-up Timmy. But like the latter, we still have a mystery; Timmy ain't Timmy any more, so we gotta figure out who he is. His first attack is to chainsaw a girl's head off on a college campus, which brings out a couple of detectives. One of the detectives is played by Christopher George, aka the guy that dies in comical fashion from a shuriken to the chest in Enter The Ninja (it's included in plenty of those "worst movie acting" youtube scene collections.) Before long a second girl gets cut apart, her torso taken from the scene. Pieces, get it? Jigsaws, Humpty Dumpty, anyway the second girl's boyfriend is Kendall, played by Ian Sera, Mr. "It Stinks!" himself. For whatever reason the cops bring him into the investigation, I don't know why. Nor do I know why the first obvious red herring suspect, Groundskeeper Willy..er, WIllard, gets caught literally red-handed, then is forgotten until later into the film. A female cop (who happens to be an ex-tennis champ) is put on the college staff, because famous people make the best undercover agents. And to round out the cliches, a nosy reporter wants in on the story as well. All this as more women get various body parts cut off. Eventually our ragtag bunch finds out who the killer is. And without spoiling too much else, I'll say this: just as Pieces opened with a nod to Halloween, it closes with a doff of the cap to Friday the 13th, as a story grounded in reality takes a bizarre last-second turn to the supernatural...
Is it a bad film? Yes. But is it so-bad-it's good? Yeah, I can easily go there. I've liked worse movies. Hell, I love Dr. Butcher, and that makes this film look like The Shining in comparison. It's dumb in an endearingly cheesy way. Like the police profiler going out of his way to tell us he's not a medical doctor, then later showing up doing medical work. Or the street cops letting a college kid boss them around like he's their superior officer. Or the F'N KUNG FU GUY. Seriously, what was that?!? And then there's the ending...wow.
Just remember one thing folks: the most beautiful thing in the world is smoking pot and fucking on a waterbed at the same time...
There is a full version up also on Youtube.
Also - and @odessastepscan correct me if I am wrong - Pieces was an early early DVDVR Movie Club selection (like so early it was before I was running it)