PIECES

PrintE-mail Written by Scott Clark

There is nothing quite like Pieces.

And yet a hard-earned cult following built through years of all-night horror marathons, general word of mouth, and the empassioned cries of its many doe-eyed fans has seen it surpass expectations. Pieces doesn’t' fit in with the slasher boom, but niether does it come from the world of Italian Giallo films. It's painted in lurid shades of Americana, but feels oh-so-distinctly Euro-trash. The gore is as brutal as you could find in any of the "Nasties" and as cinematically sadistic as Argento's Deep Red.

So Pieces is a Frankenstein's monster of refrence, so what? Plenty ace '80s slasher's fuck around with tropes and play winking games with the audience. Why has Pieces stood the test of time? Like so many great horror films it's a perfect storm. All those genre touches and visual nods amount to an intense 90-minute course in the trends of the early '80s, seemignly written by soemone who hates horror, and directed by soemone who loves it.

The dialogue in Pieces is a silly as you might expect for a teen Slasher, but it has got the bonus of arguably the most preposterous English dub ever put to tape. The original Spanish version is a comparatively sensible and straight-laced thriller, and thus not worth much of your time. The dub feels like it was put together by a group of people who were given the dialogue totoally out of context. The result is a film with the single largest bank of quotables in exploitation history. Moments of overwrought mismatched and downright stupid delivery make the film what it is. When Lynda Day George screams 'BAAAASTAAAAAARRRRRD' not once, not twice, but three solid screeching times, there is little else to do but laugh at the dedication. Just when you settle into thinking this might be the stupidest film you've seen, clearly cobbled together by a bunch of nutless amatuers, something happens. Whether it be a gruesome but exquisite moment of dismemberment (Pieces has many), a beautifully composed image, or some Argento-inspired splash of colour. Simón is a talented filmmaker and through a series of unforseeable flops, put together a graphic ode to horror and a boldly individual take on a formula ravaged throughout the '80s with varying degrees of bombastic reinvention and stale thrill.

In the end, Pieces pulls a double-barelled shock ending which never fails to illicit audience reaction. It’s the glorious cherry on top of a well-humoured slice of camp, one which is a step closer to the type of recognition it deserves thanks to another stunning presentation from Arrow.

PIECES (1982) / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JUAN PIQUER SIMÓN / SCREENPLAY: DICK RANDALL, JOHN W. SHADOW / STARRING: CHRISTOPHER GEORGE, PAUL SMITH, EDMUND PURDOM / RELEASE DATE: 27TH MARCH
 


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