Connoisseur of Cheese Movie Review: "Pieces" (1982)
Do you like excessive gore? Do you like illogical dialogue? Would you appreciate a scene of random kung-fu? How about chainsaws? Would you like a great movie to get shitfaced and enjoy with the homies? Personally, I'm a fan of all these things. I'm a huge fan of these things, actually. It's a bit of a condition that I have. I never claimed to be normal, moral, or decent.
I also happen to believe that a large number of people out there are just like me. It's for you kindred spirits that I write this review, so that you might enjoy a real gem from the early years of the Reagan administration.
Here's your batshit crazy synopsis: Young coeds are being dismembered on a Boston college campus by a chainsaw wielding psycho. The police are baffled (although the crimes are brazenly committed in broad daylight with a noisy-ass chainsaw!). They turn to a local lothario by the name of Kendall and a former tennis star named Mary Riggs to go "undercover" and catch the killer, whom we see as a young boy at the beginning of the film killing his mother with an axe after she tries to destroy his porno stash.
You can't make this shit up.
Originally a Spanish-language film titled Mil gritos tiene la noche (A Thousand Cries Has the Night), this one plays out like a serious cop thriller that loses its fucking mind every few minutes and decides to go all splatter and gratuitous tits and ass. The logic is nonexistent. The kills are super splashy; the SFX aren't "top notch" but they are pretty good for the day and age it was made in.
It's easy for me to picture an American distributor in the early 80's heyday rise of the video store seeing this in Spanish, popping a greedy little chubby and thinking "Slap some dubbing and a simple title on it!". It's made with some serious heart and a sense of great fun; you can see the crew having one hell of a time making it. That translates to the screen in a very organic way that you can't act out. Your film either has it or it doesn't.
The cast is loaded with those "where have I seen them?" faces that are the hallmark of solid genre schlock. Highly inept (but deadly shooting) Lt. Bracken is played by Christopher George of Love Boat fame. His partner, Sgt. Randy Holden, is played by Slugs star Frank Brana (aka the Silver Stud). "Undercover" tennis coach Mary Riggs is played with aplomb by the beautiful Lynda Day George, most remembered as Lisa Casey from the hit 70's TV show Mission Impossible. Last but not least there's suspected killer Willard (or as the Dean says it: Will-Lard), played by genre demigod Paul L. Smith.
If you don't know who Paul L. Smith is look him up. When your resume is highlighted by being Bluto in the 1980 shitshow Popeye, The Archduke in the crazy fun 1994 film Maverick, & stealing the show as The Beast Rabban in the criminally underrated 1984 film Dune you have, in my opinion, a hell of a lot to brag about. His crazy facial expressions and mad fighting skills are not to be missed.
Even the tagline hits the mark: "You Don't Have to go to Texas For A Chainsaw Massacre!".....brilliant. Just fucking brilliant.
There are so many things to love here:
- Chainsaw decapitation
- Chainsaw de-limbing
- Hot naked girls
- Prerequisite dorky sidekick
- Random kung-fu encounter meant to increase dramatic tension
- Poor dubbing of near kung-fu movie caliber
- Opening scene with busty mom being axed to death
- Naked girl puzzle, both literal and figurative
- "Bastard!! BASTARD!!"
- The world's most uninspiring tennis scenes
- A detective with a never-lit cigarillo that he constantly chomps on
- Killer in the shadows
- Oedipus level Mommy issues
I really don't know how to go much further in expressing my love for this little gem. Actually, I'm ashamed at myself for not having seen it before. I feel like I don't truly deserve to call myself the Connoisseur of Cheese.
IMDB rating: 6.1/10
Connoisseur of Cheese rating: 9/10