Pieces (Mil gritos tiene la noche) (1983): Two Disc Deluxe Edition (DVD)


“The most beautiful thing in the world is smoking pot and fucking on a water bed.”

Armed with perhaps two of the funniest, most demented, and rapid fire twists in possibly all of film history, “Pieces” is one of the most insane horror films I’ve ever seen, a movie so rife with cheese and over the top splatter that it’s just impossible not to enjoy. I found myself disgusted, and cringing all the while laughing at the top of my lungs at scenes so poorly orchestrated that it’s just so easy to sit and watch without being bored. It’s impossible to pick a starting point in this review because I’m currently comprehending what the hell I’d just seen before my eyes.

For a long time “Pieces” was just a movie I’d heard of from other horror fans who spoke of it as something of an after thought. After receiving the fantastic deluxe edition from Grindhouse Releasing, I’m sure it’s a movie that warrants at least a couple of viewings just to get the full brunt of the psychotic force behind every inch of it. From its acting, horrible script, pointless nudity, and red herrings that are so blatant it’s impossible to fall for them, Juan Piquer Simon has made a valid argument for indulging in guiltless splatter that’s straight out of the mind of a grindhouse auteur that you will never find again. Competing with “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in terms of lunacy, “Pieces” is a murder mystery that is just so absurd and ridiculous, but so damn raucous and creepy. There were scenes that left me baffled (the gardener fighting three cops at once), laughing at its inanity (the kung fu teacher who comes out of nowhere to throw kicks at poor Mary, collapse, and then speak in the most stereotypical Asian voice imaginable), and just spooked to my core (the elevator sequence), that I couldn’t help but be won over by it.

Simon holds no conceit about what his film is supposed to be. It’s a ridiculous misogynistic gore fest that has no actual point when it closes up. When we finally do learn who or whom the killer is that is wielding a chainsaw and slicing up poor college women, there’s not a lot of explained as to the murderer’s motives or goals. I saw through most of the movie thinking “What in the world is the point to this?” and then realized that the whole point is that there is no point. Simon makes it clear to the audience that this is his domain and he’ll do whatever he pleases. A young boy is found constructing a jigsaw puzzle of a naked woman, his mother discovers it, lashes out at him, and for some reason this triggers him to murder her with an axe. Found by police, he pretends he survived an attack and is later adopted by his aunt.

Zoom forward forty years later where we drop down on a college where young girls are being stalked and mutilated by a chainsaw wielding maniac whose identity has yet to be revealed. Throughout the course of the narrative we’re given absurd red herrings, hammy acting, and bad dubbing all set to the tune of pure nihilistic gore and grue that involves the shadowy figure mutilating these women in the most horrific ways imaginable and stealing parts of their bodies. The mystery leads us down many roads and suspects where Simon plays with the audiences perceptions and allows them a guess or two with tricky camera shots and slight of hand, but by the time the climax rolls around it’s clear he’s just given up and is intent on making the most out of this insane scenario while making his stamp on the horror genre living in cult infamy. “Pieces” is such a fun little blood soaked gem, you’ll be surprised if you don’t see it again immediately after to catch its little nuances.

The Deluxe Edition from Grindhouse Releasing is a must have with a two disc version filled with many extras. There’s a fold in with a glimpse of the Italian poster, an essay from “Deep Red” Chas. Balum, and a fold out mini-poster for the film. Along with that, there are stills, poster art, full length interviews, an optional feature for the original score, and to experience it with the Vine Theater audience and just too much more to explain in one review. Nevertheless, Grindhouse Releasing pulls out all the stops for a movie well deserving of such a brilliant re-release. If you ever happen to come across Piquer Simon’s splatter gem, then plant yourself, pop open a few beers and prepare yourself for some bonafide guiltless horror oozing with gore, hammy acting, absurd plot twists, and two surprises in a climax that will leave you stunned and laughing at the same time.