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  • The Bearden of Knowledge


Dir. Juan Piquer Simón (1982)

College coeds are attacked by a serial killer who wants to make a jigsaw puzzle from their body parts.

Today, we are gonna dive into a cult classic. One that defies expectations and is still just as enjoyable in 2024 as it was in 1982.  We are gonna talk about the perfectly imperfect slasher, Pieces. Co written by legendary exploitation producer Dick Randall and directed by Spanish filmmaker Juan Piquer Simon, Pieces is a film that needs to be seen to be believed, and one that shouldn't work, yet it does.

The movie tells you what you're in for, five minutes into the film, when a young boy putting together a nude puzzle gets caught and punished by his mother. For the four people that haven't seen it, I'll stop there. I'll just say that a quick 40-year time skip ahead, and we have a chainsaw-wielding maniac on our hands! All to kill beautiful co-eds at a Boston college and collect "pieces" to build the perfect woman.

This movie has a runtime of 85 minutes, and it doesn't waste a single second. When viewed as a whole, it's really just a film of FANTASTIC kill scenes. And I don't overplay them. They are a glorious representation of 80s practical effects. And as previously stated, they come fast and vicious! With the amount of nudity and gore on screen at practically every moment, it's no wonder it was considered a video nasty.

The cast is also phenomenal. You have Christopher George (City of the Living Dead) playing the hard-nosed Lt. Bracken, assigned to catch the killer. And his real life wife Linda Day as tennis pro Mary Riggs sent undercover to the school as the new tennis coach. Not to mention, it has an amazing supporting cast. You have Edmund Purdom (Beyond the Door, Don't Open Till Christmas) Paul L. Smith (Popeye, Red Sonja) and Jack Taylor (Conan the Barbarian, Edge of the Axe) in pretty significant roles. Hats off to Smith as the gardener, who mean mugs every scene and lovingly polishes his chainsaw (Rev's note: this is not a euphemism).

Although technically considered a slasher, this movie has more giallo roots than anything. Nonsensible plot, filmed in Europe and passed off as a US film, gratuitous, well.... everything. It checks all the giallo boxes. It's got weird plot points that go nowhere (looking at you random kung fu  professor), red herrings, enough gore to keep the hounds happy, and is just so nonsensical, that it's fun as hell. So many things in this movie seem so out of place. From the aforementioned kung fu scene to a skateboarder running through a plate of glass and never being mentioned again, they fill the time in between kills with some of the strangest things you will see in a film. And for some odd reason, it's all wonderful! I chalk it up as a right place, right time sort of thing. I don't think it could be duplicated again. And for that reason alone, it's solidified its spot in horror cinema.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend. And it's streaming on just about every service.  It's a grindhouse classic, full of problems, yet somehow great because of them. It's a perfect example of catching lightning in a bottle.


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