EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|PIECES (aka: One Thousand Cries Has the Night) (aka: MIL GRITOS TIENE LA NOCHE) (director: Juan Piquer Simón; screenwriters: Dick Randall/Joe D'Amato; cinematographer: John Marine; editor: Antonio Gimeno; music: Librado Pastor; cast: Christopher George (Lieutenant Bracken), Ian Sera (Kendall James), Linda Day (Mary Riggs), Edmund Purdom (Dean), Paul Smith (Willard), Frank Brana (Sergeant Randy Holden), Jack Taylor (Professor Brown), May Heatherly (Mrs. Reston), Hilda Fuchs (Grace - the Dean's Secretary); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Dick Randall/Steve Minasian; Grindhouse Releasing; 1982-Spain-dubbed in English)|
|"It's exactly what you think it is!"
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Juan Piquer Simón ("Endless Descent"/"Mystery on Monster Island"/"Journey to the Center of the Earth") directs this wonderfully goofy exploitation shocker horror pic that has the tagline it lives up to: "It's exactly what you think it is." It's a low-budget sleaze fest, shot in Boston and Madrid. Writers Dick Randall and Joe D'Amato keep it splatter happy, cheesy, tongue-in-cheek with a macabre humor, and have enough titty shots for the film to appeal to the frat boy crowd.
In Boston, 1942, a ten-year-old is
playing with a jigsaw puzzle of a naked woman his overseas serviceman
father left in the closet. When his hysterical mom (May Heatherly) gets nasty with him and kicks over the
puzzle in a moral outrage, he axes her to death in little pieces,
decapitates her and hides in the closet when the police arrive
pretending to be scared of the mysterious killer. The film moves ahead
forty years later to 1982, and a coed is chainsawed to death on the
Boston campus of a private college and decapitated. Cigar-chomping Lieutenant Bracken (Christopher
George) and his partner Sergeant Randy Holden (Frank Brana) investigate, and when a string of gruesome
chainsaw murders take place on campus (my two favorites are the girl
who gets chainsawed in half in the elevator and the half-naked coed who
is so scared of the chainsaw that she pees in her pants) the stymied
homicide coppers bring in the sexy Mary Riggs (Linda Day, the real-life
wife of Christopher George) to be an undercover cop posing as the new tennis
instructor. All the vics are beautiful coeds hacked to death by the
maniac killer, who collects their body parts to create a likeness of
his late mom. Bracken decides to go against the book and use the
teenager campus stud Kendall James (Ian Sera), who knows everyone on
campus, to be his second undercover cop. The suspects are the behemoth maintenance
man Willard (Paul Smith), the creepy homosexual anatomy teacher
Professor Brown (Jack Taylor), and the seemingly innocuous loner
college dean (Edmund Purdom).
Surprisingly it's not just a
mindless slasher film, which it is, but it has more sustenance as a
somewhat provocative parody of contemporary campus life and as a
spirited Grand Guignol splatter film. Despite lame dialogue, has-been
or never been actors, being badly dubbed in English, overloaded with
gratuitous and graphic violence, clumsily helmed, and filled with
awkwardly shot slasher set pieces, it still is weirdly entertaining
because it has the guts to be just what it is--a refreshingly
unfettered grindhouse flick that shuns FX special effects to deliver
its brain dead grossness with buckets of blood from the slaughterhouse
and uses real chainsaws in its crazy-assed topless chainsaw chases
across the campus. You can't help laughing at it, it's so stupid and
genuine and diabolically absurd.
REVIEWED ON 2/28/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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