Forty years after a little kid murders his mother with an axe, a college campus is terrorized by a crazy killer that is using the body parts of his victims to put together a human puzzle.
There isn't much you can say about this gory slasher from Spain that hasn't been said before. Most of us have seen it before, but with the new releases it has gotten it is well worth a revisit. If you're like me, you probably made sure to get your hands on the blu-ray release from Grindhouse Releasing. At the same time, Studio S Entertainment have released the movie here in Sweden. If you're from Sweden and you only want to see the movie, then their release will do - and it's the release I am reviewing here. Unfortunately it's overshadowed by the amazing Grindhouse Releasing release, which doesn't just have the blu-ray and soundtrack, it also has an additional blu-ray disc with a ton of extra material. Why Studio S Entertainment didn't include anything with their release is just too bad, but perhaps they know something about the Swedish people that I don't. Perhaps we don't care about extra material that much? I know I do, but maybe I'm in the minority. That said, there isn't anything wrong with the actual presentation of "Pieces" on Studio S Entertainment's release, despite being "just" the movie on a DVD.
"Pieces" starts with the infamous scene where a mother finds her son putting together a puzzle of a naked girl and completely freaks out. In return, the son grabs and axe and hacks her up in pieces. The movie then jumps 40 years into the future, to a college campus that seems to be terrorized by the now adult son. The movie becomes a classic mystery of trying to discovering who the killer is before he kills off too many college girls. While Lieutenant Bracken tries to search for clues, undercover agent Mary Riggs pretends to be a tennis teacher. Together they use the first suspect, who turns out to be innocent, to try and find out who the killer is, and what he is doing with the bodies.
This movie never stood up to the best of the slasher genre, but it definitely proved how violent the genre could get as early as in 1982. It's easy to forget that when some of the highlights of the subgenre are actually pretty light on the violence (such as "Halloween" and "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre"). It's only appropriate that the tagline of "Pieces" takes a bit of a jab at Tobe Hooper's chainsaw slasher ("You Don't Have to Go To Texas For a Chainsaw Massacre"), since when you compare them on its graphic content, "Pieces" is the only one with an actual massacre. It's gory enough to stand up to some of the modern violent movies! That said, it won't be shocking anyone as much as it did back then, and the movie itself is fairly standard slasher stuff. That's the real reason why it is not talked about as much as the usual titles.
It still includes all the ingredients of a fun slasher though: nude girls, a ton of gore, a fun whodunit mystery (albeit predictable), and a memorable killer design (inspired the comic "The Shadow"). Anyone who loves slasher movies should have seen it already, and if they haven't then this is the time. It's one of the better slashers that aren't on the most typical top lists, despite having some very cheesy moments. You can't help but laugh every time the over-the-top suspicious-looking janitor is on the screen, despite the fact that it's so obvious that there is no way that he could be the killer (he is much larger than the killer).
"Pieces" is a great addition to the slasher genre that some fans actually could have missed out on (but probably haven't). It's worth a watch even if just for the fact that it is one of the only movies that actually feels like a chainsaw massacre! It has great gore and checks every point for a satisfying slasher movie. That said, the reason it never got the recognition as titles like "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre", "Halloween", "Friday the 13th" and "The Burning" is because it's not as good or as original (it's as simple as that). It often becomes funny even when it doesn't want to and doesn't carry the mystery as well as some of the other movies. That and it has some absolutely ridiculous scenes such as the random kung-fu attack (which was only there before they had access to a Bruce Lee-impersonator). Still, you will be getting everything you need from a slasher in this notable grindhouse movie. Not to mention it is an unusually gory slasher of its time!