– By Sooz Webb
Ah, the 1940’s. The decade where soft porn was only available through jigsaw puzzles. Not really of course, but it was before the infinite mindgasm of cat memes and hard-core images was dreamed into being. Entertainment was homemade, and people often had to think outside the box to get any form of gratifying satisfaction. One such lad is at the core of our *ahem* story, who seeks to find a new form of amusement, after his overbearing mother disrupts his play. Combining the fundamentals of his beloved puzzle with matricide, no that’s not the act of killing a mattress, although that is a topic we’ll talk about later, the boy slices and dices Mamma like the human equivalent of Operation. With an axe. Feigning innocence when the police arrive, the boy is taken into care. We flash forward and catch up with the story forty years later, when murders, seemingly linked because of their copycat style, have started to occur on a college campus. So don your unitard, disengage your brain and channel your inner Farrah Fawcett, as we look at the frankly bizarre and tittytastic world of Juan Piquer Simón’s slashfest Pieces.
Fully embracing the ‘horny teenagers meet bloody demise’ premise that was du jour in the 1980’s, Pieces purports to be a murder mystery, but it is really just an excuse to cover as many chopped up nudie nubiles in fake blood as 89 minutes will allow. And believe me, they exceed expectations. We follow the police investigation of the campus calamities, which is led by Detectives Lieutenant Bracken and his partner Sgt. Holden. These chaps, in their grizzled cigar chewing way, make the Keystone cops look like consummate professionals. For example, they involve one of the kids from the college, who was for a time one of their chief suspects, in their investigation. He pretty much ends up a member of the force by the close of the film. Kinda hokey right? Let’s just say that this isn’t a movie that worries too much about reason or joined up thinking. We’re introduced to a lot of characters along the way, who are more parody of human being than vehicle to help drive story, and we’re led to believe that the killer could be any one of them. There’s Professor Brown who looks like an elongated version of Ron Burgundy. Or the school’s groundsman Willard, who’s a sweaty mix of Bluto and Brian Blessed. Then again, is it even a member of the faculty? Get ready to lose yours, as this mind numbing cheese fest, despite it’s many hilarious moments, none of which are intentional, is pure chewing gum for the brain.
What doesn’t help, or maybe it makes it more entertaining, I’m unsure, is that Pieces is so badly dubbed, that you often become uncertain which character is speaking. The lines start to bleed across the film, like a teenage girl dismembered on the bathroom floor. Not that that really matters. The dialogue is so bad at times it almost made me spit out my cuppa, which I think was the films way of telling me I needed to be drinking something a lot stronger. We reach a batshit crazy climax, with the random appearance of the school’s Kung-fu professor, who attacks someone, and then instantly blames it on bad Chop Suey. Yes, you just read that sentence right. The line is delivered in a Charlie Chan accent, that would make you believe the guy had picked up his order from South Park’s Shitty Wok. Sorry, City Wok. By the time we get to this moment however, we’re really beyond bothering to piece together any form of coherent rationale. Suspend your disbelief? Oh my friend, you’ll have to do a lot better than that! There’s no point in questioning the logic to anything throughout its run. Quite simply because there isn’t any.
The films saving grace is the excessive amount of blood and tits thrown at us, in order to keep us engaged. The special effects are great, in that low budget way of using farm fresh guts and gore from the local butchers, and there’s an ample amount of amputation to justify its chainsaw wielding horror heritage. In the tagline, the movie boasts that you don’t need to go to Texas for a Chainsaw Massacre. However, in terms of storytelling, I’d wager it’s more satisfying to get your kicks in the Lone Star State. That being said, there are some really cool horror moments, so if you just want to turn your brain off and indulge in a fun-bag filled slash-fest, then this might just be the film for you. Inventive to a fault, the death of a waterbed, both tragic and messy, is the film’s pièce de résistance, and is really something to be seen.
Pieces is a film that will take you on a journey through emotion. Mine, for example, was confusion, frustration, then back to confusion, before succumbing to stupidity and embracing the off the wall nonsense, which is entertaining for all the wrong reasons. A film unsure whether to take itself seriously, I implore you not to, because if you go into this film knowing that it’s riddled with silliness, then you’re guaranteed the best time. A cult classic that warrants its status, so grab a bevvy, lose all sense of reason, and enjoy.