Name of the Movie: Pieces
(also, "Mil gritos tiene la noche" or Thousand shouts have the night)
Rated: According to the box "R", According to IMDB, "Unrated"
How you rate this movie: 4 Slimes (out of 5)
Copyright Date: 1983
-Spanish production with an American and Canadian cast
-Lt. Bracken - Christopher George! Semi-famous 70's TV actor who plays the detective investigating a girl's decapitation murder.
-Sgt. Holden - Bracken's partner, and a weird Leslie Nielson look-alike. Some of the worst dubbing comes from his mouth.
-Kendall - MST3K fans will know this dork as one of the stars of "Pod People". He's a college stud who gets to play detective for a few days, after his girlfriend gets hacked up. Gets his pecker ripped off (I think).
-Professor Brown - A strange anatomy teacher that all the girls seem to be hot over, despite his freakish appearance. We find out he's gay, but it doesn't fit into the plot at all.
-Willard - PAUL "Bluto" SMITH! A freelance groundskeeper who is pretty hideous... and handy with a chainsaw. Well, he MUST be the killer, right? He gets second billing, despite a pretty minor role. The previous year, he was in "Popeye" with Robin Williams, so I guess someone thought he was going to be a big star... he wasn't.
-Mary Riggs - Linda Day! An undercover cop who acts as a tennis player, and bait for the killer. Gets drugged into a zombie-like state, which turns out to be really creepy.
-Sylvia Costa - A reporter who hears rumors of a murder at the school, but no one will talk to her. Gets stabbed to death on a waterbed.
-The Dean - The palest human being alive, even with makeup. He looks like a certain famous vampire.
-The Killer - A heavy-breathing puzzle fanatic, who likes black clothes and pretty girls... parts of them, anyway. Gets shot in the forehead.
-The Women - A half-dozen or so nameless college students who get sliced up by the killer, in various stages of undress.
It's 1942 Boston, and little Timmy is quietly putting together a puzzle in his room, when Mom comes in the room and peeks over his shoulder. After discovering the puzzle is of a nude woman, Mom freaks out and starts tearing his room apart, berating Timmy for being such a perv. She tells him to go get a garbage bag, so they can burn all his porn (the kid's only ten). Instead of bringing back a bag, Timmy kindly brings back an axe, which he proceeds to chop Mom in the head with. (Take MY porn away, will you?) As a neighbor tries to get in the house, we see Timmy with a wood saw, doing something gruesome. When the cops finally show up, they find Mom's head in one closet, and Timmy hiding in another, pretending to be frightened.
Anyway, cut to forty years later, and it's an unnamed New England college. A pretty brunette is riding a very small skateboard down a sidewalk. She turns her head for a quick hello, and BAM! Right into a giant mirror being walked across the parking lot by repair men. Just like a Three Stooges skit, only potentially more ghastly. Except, wait! We don't get to see what happens to her. They cut away to a different scene, NEVER TO MENTION IT AGAIN! Ok, that was confusing. Now, a cute blonde is lying in the grass, exposing her cute butt to the world. She's getting annoyed with who she thinks is the groundskeeper behind her, sneaking peeks and making too much noise with his chainsaw. She gets killed in BROAD DAYLIGHT, with a great flipping mannequin head stunt. The killer takes her head as a souvenier.
The cops are called in to investigate the beheading, and we meet Vlad the Impaler... I mean, the Dean of the college. (Actually, I don't believe they ever refer to him by name, only The Dean.) Cut to Kendall getting an invitation to get lucky in the pool with another cute blonde. Evidentally, Kendall's a PLAYA, even as stupid as he looks. Kendall's late to his date, but the Killer's not. He drags our hapless (and topless) victim out of the pool with a net, and then slices and dices with his trusty chainsaw. He keeps a different piece this time, maybe her torso, I can't tell. Kendall and his friend get called in for questioning, regarding a mysterious note. We find out the killer sent the note, so Kendall wouldn't show up at the pool, but WE ARE NEVER TOLD WHAT IT SAYS!
Now, here comes another pointless scene. Kendall is taken to Dr. Jennings, a psychologist who is only in this one short scene, and NOTHING COMES OF IT! We meet police-person Mary Riggs, who gets the college undercover assignment. Turns out, she's the only one they can afford to send, so Kendall becomes her unofficial partner.
By the way, there are several scenes where you see the killer putting together his puzzle from when he was a kid. It took me a while to realize that each part of the puzzle he's assembling ends up being the next body part he collects. See, he's fascinated by the woman in the puzzle, and is trying to recreate her in real life (I guess). Next, it's arms. One of the dance students is doing a solo routine (?). The killer chases her down a hallway, and finally catches up with her. She recognizes him, "Oh, it's you, sir", and is not threatened to see him. That's our first clue as to who the killer might be. Anyway, she loses life and limb, and is discovered by Kendall and a couple of security guards. One of them blows chunks... hehe... you don't see that everyday.
We get to see Kendall in action with a hot brunette. Fortunately, she's a sexy, topless nympho who doesn't mind a little bondage. Unfortunately, we get to see Kendall's dong swinging in the moonlight... (shudder!) Maybe it's a way to get women to watch slasher flicks. Typical man, he spots another woman through his window, and bails on this hot mama, instead of gagging her, like she suggests. Man, he really IS a stud!
Next, a nosy reporter gets an exclusive... knife... in the back of her head. The killer strips her, and hangs her up in his walk-in cooler, intact. Why doesn't he use any parts off of her? We'll never know, because now he's after legs, and someone else is on his list. She's a lovely brunette tennis player, who's practicing when the school fight song starts blaring over the PA system. She tries to ignore it, and goes to take a shower. The music distracts everyone long enough for the killer to take Suzie's legs off, in what is probably the most famous scene in the movie, if there is such a thing.
Kendall and Sgt. Holden stumble upon the real identity of the killer, just in time to save Mary. They arrive to LOUD cop-show theme music, and find Mary paralyzed from some drugged coffee. Kendall tries to revive her, and the killer jumps him from behind. Lt. Bracken shows up just in time to shoot the killer in the head. We are led to believe that it's over, but they shock us with not one, but TWO surprise endings, a.k.a. Friday the 13th. The first one is somewhat plausible, and very very funny. The second is much less realistic, which makes it even funnier.
I picked this up on DVD for only $6.99, brand-new. I'm almost glad I waited this long to see the whole thing, so I could truly appreciate its crapulence. The thing I like about this movie is that if you take away the nudity, the gore, and the two surprise endings, it feels like a 70's cop show. It's written just like "Streets of San Fransisco" or "Kojak", except the dialogue sounds like it was written by chimps. And of course, it's ALL looped... badly. There are times you can't understand anyone, because the lips don't match the words. Very surreal, but normal for this time period and genre. Very cheap credits, and crappy music by someone called "CAM"... whatever.
The acting all pretty much sucks, with a couple of exceptions. Ian Sera as Kendall was slightly more impressive here than in "Pod People", but that's not saying much. I got the idea that Christopher George was much better than the material given to him, but it doesn't matter, because he died soon after this stinker was released... probably of shame. I especially liked Linda Day George (Christopher's wife, but only listed as Linda Day in the credits) as Mary Riggs. She plays the part pretty naturally and low key, except for her creepy paralyzed scene, and her freak-out scene when Suzie gets her legs lopped off ("BAAASSSS-TAAARRRRRDD!!!").
Then, there's Paul Smith. I can't stress enough how utterly strange this guy is. He looks like he's playing "Bluto" throughout the entire movie, even cocking his head to one side, and looking at people through one eye. Not only that, but I don't believe that's his voice in the overdub... maybe I'm wrong, since I've never really heard him speak. Every moment he's on the screen, I'm not at ease. Maybe that was the director's plan the whole time, to keep the audience off their guard. Or maybe it's an Ed Wood/Tor Johnson thing, who knows? Now that I think about it, I did get an Ed Wood vibe from a lot of the dialogue... hmm.
Anyway, I recommend you search out this forgotten gem. With the glut of slasher flicks in the early 80's, a lot of them got buried on video store shelves. However, this one has a better story than some I've seen. Besides, it's good for several chuckles at a party, simply because of the strange cast, the naked chicks, and truly violent gore.
Things I Learned:
Little kids in 1942 had easy access to porn.
College students smoke pot in the hallways.
Women refer to the bathroom as the "john".
Motorcyles sound just like chainsaws.
New England colleges teach kung-fu.
All college campuses have walk-in coolers that no one goes in.
Policemen pay their informants in lollipops.
Stuff To Watch For:
1 min - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A MIRROR!
8 min - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A *GIANT* MIRROR!
15 min - Oops! Bluto just flubbed his line... Cut! What? We're gonna keep that one?
19 min - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
32 min - How freakin' far IS the bathroom?
48 min - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
51 min - Who the hell invited Jackie Chan to the movie?
56 min - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A WATERBED!
58 min - RANDOM GRATUITOUS FULL NUDE SHOTS!
61 min - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A DOOR!
71 min - She specifically asked for saccharin in her instant coffee, it must be the early 80's.
78 min - Hell yea, now we're talkin'! Starsky and Hutch, eat your heart out!
83 min - Whew! I'm glad that's over... AHHHH!!
83:15 min - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
84:15 min - Whew! I'm glad that's over... AHHHHHH! Noooo!!
Bracken: "This case is giving me the creeps."
Holden: "Me too. I wonder what the hell he's doing with all the pieces that are missing."
Bracken: "That's what I mean! He's creepy."
Kendall (to his loudly orgasmic lover): "You want us thrown out? Anyone would think you're in bed with Chainsaw Charlie."
His Lover: "I'll control myself, Kendall, if we do it again. What if you gag me, huh? I wouldn't make any noise, then."
Professor Brown: "I guess I'm so used to bodies... dead ones... that I'm callous."
The Dean: "I'm very strong, you know."
As an aside, I submitted this to Andrew several years ago, but he was overseas and didn't have the time to post it. I'm resubmitting it because a local movie house is showing "Pieces" next weekend from an original 35mm print. It's one of my favorite crappy 80's slasher films, so I'm excited. It's part of their Grindhouse Redux series... good stuff!
(Andrew, if you need a copy of the movie to get images from, let me know)