Well. I dunno about y’all, but boy am I in a mood today. One of those healthy, introspective, reflective kinda days when one curls up with a nice cuppa, maybe a decent smoke, and takes a forlorn stroll down one of the sketchy, unmarked side trails off Memory Lane. You know the kind. One of those days when you look at almost every decision you’ve ever made and regret each and every one of them. For me, this always culminates in seething rage.
Now…it’s been a minute since I’ve done a good hatchet job, so to speak, on a movie, and since I am in a mood, it’s with this as my backdrop that I decided to have a look at a movie I’ve detested for quite some time, Juan Piquer Simón’s Pieces (1982).
Let’s start with the trailer which cuts back and forth between movie clips and text. “Warning: What you will see in the movie Pieces cannot be revealed” (someone starting a chainsaw), cannot be described” (screaming woman), “cannot even be imagined” (figure advancing with chainsaw). “You don’t have to go to Texas for a chainsaw massacre. Pieces. It’s exactly what you think it is.”
First of all, I can imagine some pretty weird, graphic shit. Second, if by “exactly what you think it is” means “giant, uninteresting pile of crap,” then I agree. We open up with young Timmy who’s busy putting a jigsaw puzzle together—the image is a naked woman. After his mother flips out and makes him get rid of it, he kills her with an axe then cuts her up with a hacksaw. Like ya do.
The cops find him hiding in a closet, and he pretends to have witnessed the whole thing (which, technically, is not a lie). The police buy this, and he’s shipped off to his aunt. 40 years later, somebody (ostensibly an adult Timmy) sees some girl in a dress on a skateboard. She crashes into a mirror being carried by two workmen. Inexplicably it never occurs to her to jump off the fairly slow-moving board.
This seems to set our mystery observer off, and we cut (heh) to somebody opening a box that contains an X-ed out picture of Timmy’s mother, her bloody clothes, and the also bloody jigsaw puzzle. Almost immediately women start getting killed (the first with a chainsaw in broad daylight) with various bits going missing from the crime scene. It sounds a lot better than it actually ends up being.
And now on to the spoiler portion of our show. There’s not much to spoil if I’m honest. It should come as no shock whatsoever that The Big Bad is putting together his own jigsaw puzzle person in an effort to “reassemble” the dead mother. The whole thing comes crashing down with what, I guess, is a decent jumpscare except for one thing. It’s the jigsaw corpse which suddenly, with zero explanation, jumps up and castrates the male lead. Da fuck?
It’s worth wondering how held Timmy held it together for 40 years, especially if his grip is so tenuous as to be pried open by the skateboard accident. Ultimately, there ain’t much to recommend this flick. It’s difficult to believe that Simón would go on to direct the slimetastic cult fave Slugs (1986).
Really, about the only things Pieces even remotely has going for it is that A) it did make the Video Nasty list and B) it was written by exploitation purveyor/porn producer Dick (of course) Randall.
Along those lines, there’s plenty of gore to be had from Pieces. I’ll give it that. Surprisingly, though, there’s really nothing new or interesting about any of it. One would suspect otherwise, given the exploitational nature of a movie that basically comes off as hot and cold running misogyny masquerading as softcore slasher porn (right down to the staging of some of the male/female encounters).
One would be wrong.
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