Written by Joe D'Amato and directed by Juan Piquer Simon, PIECES is one of the shoddiest yet most perversely entertaining trash movies out there. Packed with grisly gore sequences of people being chainsawed to bits, appallingly dubbed, and with a great exploitation cast, this is truly a one-off experience the like of which had never been seen before - or since - this film was made. This unlikely Spanish/US co-production, which would have us believe the action all takes place in Boston, kicks off in firm NIGHTMARES IN A DAMAGED BRAIN territory with the gruesome scene of a young boy axing his mother to death.
Years later, "beautiful" American teenagers are being murdered by a man with a chainsaw at a university campus. The killer is decked out in the classic giallo garb: hat, gloves, long black coat, and chainsaw tucked behind his back - you name it. We see shots of him piecing together the jigsaw puzzle of a naked woman throughout the film yet his identity is supposedly hidden as D'Amato strives for a whodunit element to the plot. The "plot" then lurches from one shoddy but graphic chainsaw murder to the next, wallowing in graphic carnage as naked girls have their arms and heads cut off and are sawed in two, with cheap blood splattering the walls and surrounding sets - gorehounds certainly get their money's worth here.
The unlikely 'hero' of the film is geeky college student Kendall, as played by Spanish nobody Ian Sera without an ounce of charisma or intelligence - he's just a hilariously dumb nerdish guy, drafted in to help with the police investigation for no apparent reason! You've gotta love the extra scenes like some kung fu and a girl rollerskating into a pane of glass which are there for padding and have no relation to the story in any way. The dialogue is funny and dumb throughout, typical for the era.
The cast is a mix of American and Spanish actors, none really familiar unless you're a fan of US and Spanish cult movies from the past twenty years. First up is Christopher George playing a hard-nose police lieutenant who is even less successful at catching the criminal here than he was in THE EXTERMINATOR! His wife (nepotism perhaps?) Lynda Day George pops up as the pretty-but-ageing blonde heroine who predictably gets stalked by the killer in the final stages and has a great melodramatic outburst scene. Edmund Purdom is wonderfully hammy whilst the menacing Paul Smith is wasted in a red herring role as the janitor! As for the Spanish cast, Frank Brana plays it like John Saxon as a hard-knuckle police sergeant whilst horror stalwarts Jack Taylor and Gerard Tichy prop up the supporting teacher roles. Worth sitting through to witness the out-of-left-field finale which sees the assembled corpse suddenly springing to life in a supernatural twist - yes, it had me cheering!
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