Pieces 1982 Movie Scene Paul L. Smith as Willard the gardener standing next to the bloody chainsaw and holding a huge set of sheers

Pieces [1982]

You might be thinking to yourself why should you watch another cheap, generic, and relatively unknown eighties slasher? Well, I assure you the movie we’re going to be talking about today is something much, much more. Pieces is quite an effective and gory eighties horror movie but it’s also hilarious so bad that it’s good movie. Now, Pieces is the international title while the original title is Mil Gritos Tiene la Noche or The Night Has 1,000 Screams. As you can notice, this is a Spanish-American coproduction trying to take advantage of the booming slasher subgenre. The most important element of any so bad that it’s good movie is the need for the filmmakers to take themselves seriously. And you can bet your sweet ass that Juan Piquer Simón and the rest of the crew did just that.

I dare you to watch the opening scene of Pieces and not watch the rest of the movie. What we’re talking about here is possibly one of the best opening scenes in cinematic history. And I do not say that lightly. The best thing about it is that it works on anyone. Just get your hands on the remastered and restored copy of this movie and play it to your unsuspecting guests. This is going to be the best movie night ever and you’ll be celebrated as the man who knows how to pick only the greatest bad movies. And just to be clear, the term bad here is endearing. I respect the effort that was put into making this movie. Granted, it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to turn out but that’s just life.

We will be following a police investigation into the murders of several young and sexy students at a university in Boston. What you can expect is the usual eighties horror movie package. A bit of nudity, a bit of gore and graphic murders, and a whole lot of mystery. Pieces is a movie that will keep its secrets right up until the very end. Meaning you won’t be sure who the killer is until the gloriously over-the-top finale. And you can also expect all the hallmarks of a great so bad that it’s good movie. Bad acting, bad dialogue, unintentional hilariousness, and heavy-handed storytelling will have you rolling with laughter. And keep in mind that this is a fully-functional slasher. Hell, Eli Roth says that Pieces is his favorite slasher movie.

The entire movie Pieces was shot in Madrid despite the fact that the story takes place in Boston. So, you can use this to study the ways they tried to camouflage this insignificant little detail. Of course, there’s the quest to find out who the killer hiding in plain site is. Apart from that, each scene is funny in its own way. And when you add to this the sleazy and sexually-charged atmosphere, you get a very entertaining movie. With a running time of barely over eighty minutes, fast pacing, and a lot of kills, Pieces is a movie that’s going to keep your attention peeled on the screen. Just when you think that the fun is over and that this is actually a solid slasher, something incredibly weird is going to happen.

Weird or heavy-handed, take your pick. I would love to go down the list of all these events but I don’t want to spoil anything. This is why there’s no summary, I want you to go into Pieces head first. It’s also a perfect time capsule, showing a cute piece of the eighties. And I’m not just talking about a visual but also a mental piece. We can see what people thought would be funny, interesting or scary back then. Not to mention the entire internal logic of the movie. Especially when it comes to the police investigation of these heinous crimes. I loved the “fuck it” attitude of the police I suspect wasn’t far from the truth.

Furthermore, you can take the internal logic of the movie and see what they were trying to do. Each kill only appears to be an excuse to show nude girls swimming or showering. They were actually trying to show us what the real killer felt. A serial killer with mommy issues, a foot fetish, and a chainsaw as the preferred weapon. Chainsaw was quite popular in the eighties after the release of Texas Chain Saw Massacre in the late seventies.

He reminds me of Ed Kemper, also known as the Co-ed Killer. And yes, in case you were wondering, they intentionally modeled his appearance to resemble The Shadow from the popular graphic novel. And if you’re not familiar with his appearance, the whole thing looks even more hilarious. Apart from female nudity we also have full-frontal male nudity, which is a nice touch.  

We also should forget about the killer eighties soundtrack. I only say this because it appears to be a cheap imitation of what popular generic music sounded back then. Just another little thing to enjoy. Finally, Pieces is one of those movies that end with a bang. A bang I’m certain you won’t see coming. And a bang I dare you to deconstruct. And the same goes for the title. Can you guess why this movie is titled Pieces?

Director: Juan Piquer Simón

Writers: Dick Randall, Roberto Loyola, Juan Piquer Simón

Cast: Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Frank Braña, Edmund Purdom, Ian Sera, May Heatherly

Fun Facts: The jigsaw puzzle featuring the photo of a nude young woman is in the possesion of the director of this movie, Juan Piquer Simon. And the girl who appears in the jigsaw puzzle is a Spanish actress Victoria Abril. She posed for the Spanish edition of Playboy magazine back 1979, and the photo could be from that shoot.

IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082748/

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