My giallo fest continues with the 80s gore flick PIECES directed by Juan Piquer Simón (SLUGS, THE RIFT) This fantastic giallo goodness packed with 80s wonder as well.
We start out strong with a boy taking an ax to his mother because she slaps him around for having a pornographic puzzle.
ZOOM! we teleport 40 years ahead to a college campus where randy 20-somethings try stroll around trying to hook up and tease teachers with sexual innuendo. But, there's a killer wandering the campus with a chainsaw....killing them one by one and shopping them into...pieces. Get it?
I love that the killer uses a chainsaw on campus to kill folks. A giant, loud, yellow chainsaw. The police are lead by the awesome Christopher George showing his awesome detective work by asking questions like, "Do you think this could have been done with a chainsaw...like that one over there?" as he points to the bloody chainsaw next to the chopped up remains of a co-ed. Amazing deduction. Bluto from Popeye (Paul L. Smith) stomps around growling before getting caught in the same room with the body and chainsaw. Christopher George's then wife Lynda Day George goes undercover as a tennis teacher to see if she can sniff out the killer. And, yes, the introduction of her into the campus environment features a tennis match that is...so awesome. :::giggling::: Clearly, the balls are FLYING all over the place, but the magic of editing saves the day.
Red herrings abound and between the ham-fisted dialogue, over the top gore, and the bad dubbing, this film is a real treat! Man...the dubbing. They are always trying to keep up with the lips being shown, so we get sped of phrases and...very...slow phrases that...come...out stilted.
We have great giallo scenes with the killer sporting a long trench coat, mask, hat, and giallo issued black gloves as he travels around the campus leering at young women in various states of undress as they swim, practice awful dance numbers and more - his giant chainsaw always at the ready. I thought, "Must be easy to sneak around carrying a massive chainsaw." There are scenes where the killer is stalking someone and you see their shadow with the HUGE chainsaw large and out in front. Mind you, the police are looking for this killer on the campus (No...they don't shut the campus down or have patrols cruising the area), yet he walks around freely with this giant...tool. :)
When the gore appears on screen, its big and wet and nasty. Limbs fly and blood splashes. The detective enlists the help of one of the students - Kendall...over and over again. The same student that bosses around two police officers when they hear one of the victims screaming. "Come on! Don't just stand there! Call the Detective!" Shortly after, the student has no problem trying to have sex with another girl even though he discovered the body of a woman he knew sans limbs just shortly before. Great stuff!
There is a rather clever hook to the film that actually had me saying, "Ohhhh...I get it..." out loud at one point.
There are some fantastic trivia nuggets associated with the film including:
Because producer Dick Randall was simultaneously making kung-fu films in Rome, a cameo for a Bruce Lee imitator, Bruce Le, was written into this film, even though this scene makes no sense in the context of the rest of the film. This was a really amazing WTF?! moment that is worth the viewing alone! Just one of the many, "Wait...what...what the HELL did I just see and WHY?!" scenes in the film that are a lot of fun.
In the only trailer released, one of the final shots shows the chainsaw killer approaching the camera. As this happens, the same scream from Janet Leigh, the scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) when she gets killed in the shower scene, is used.
I had not seen it for ages. I remember renting it back in the day on VHS - the cover calling to horror fans from across the store with it's sexy body and GIANT chainsaw splashed across the front of it. It was one of the VHS tapes that really had us chomping at the bit to see it.
Fans of 80s slashers have to add this to their TO WATCH LIST at once if they have not seen it. Currently available on SHUDDER in the US.