Some horror movies achieve cult infamy and you go Eh, I guess its scary or I can see why people in the 70s or 80s thought this was shocking. As a later-in-life hardened horror hound, Ive seen many movies with just such a reputation and Im rarely astonished. Then I saw the 1982 slasher movie Pieces.
It might be the weirdest and silliest horror movie ever made. Seriously. Im going to describe a lot of this movie to you, and it will still need to be seen to be believed.
Pieces was directed by Spanish filmmaker Juan Piquer Simn, who would go on to direct schlock staples The Pod People and Slugs. This one might be his masterpiece, though. It has everything a great early-80s classic needs: incredible gore, immense sleaze, scenes that make absolutely no sense, and acting that boggles the mind. A perfect cocktail of insanity. Hell, its tagline is Its exactly what you think it is.
The movie starts in the 1940s, with a kid putting together a puzzle in his room. His mother approaches, smiling at her sweet little boy, until she realizes that the puzzle hes putting together is a nudie picture of a lady. Mom gets real mad, smacks her son, and yells that hes just like his good for nothing, whoremonger father. The boy then runs away, only to return with an ax, which he uses to kill his mother, and then hides in a closet when the neighbors come over, pretending to have been the victim and not the aggressor.
40 years later, a psychotic killer is using a chainsaw to hack up young women on a college campus. We know its the kid all grown up, but we dont know who that person actually is it could be the effete psychology professor or the gruff groundskeeper or the controversy-shy dean of students. Police Lieutenant Bracken (Christopher George) is called in to head up the investigation into the serial slayings, and officer Mary Riggs (Linda Day) goes undercover as a tennis coach to investigate. Also on campus is the inexplicable ladies man student, Kendall (Ian Sera) who coincidentally beds all the young women right before they die.
Okay, so thats the basic breakdown of the plot and characters. You get it; its a graphic Euro slasher movie mixed with a whodunit mystery. But, guys. Oh my goodness, guys. This movie is so much more than that, because within that context, we get scenes that defy logic. From a scene in which the killer (whos dressed like the Shadow for some reason) gets in a very tiny elevator with his next unsuspecting victim and pulls out a massive chainsaw as though there was any way on Earth he could have hidden that from her, to another where a girl is murdered atop a waterbed just so slow-motion water and red food coloring could engulf the frame.
But you also get scenes like this: Mary is walking across the campus at night when shes suddenly attacked by a kung fu master. Hes hitting and chopping and kicking at her and she barely is able to fend him off, kicking him in the crotch to subdue him. Kendall rides up on his motorcycle and says Thats my Kung Fu Professor, who then gets up and says Sorry, must have eaten some bad chop suey. So long! We never see this Kung Fu professor before or after; hes simply an actor from a martial arts movie the producer was making and thought itd be funny to put him in. Heres the scene in all of its glory.
Another infamous moment comes when Kendall and Mary are searching the grounds of the sports field (which has showers attached?) to find the source of the constantly repeating Souza-esque march music filling their (and our) ears. During all that hubbub, the killer has managed to hack up another girl. Kendall finds her and vomits, and then Mary sees the dead body andwell, she kinda loses it.
But the real kicker, the real moment that made me sit up and go Wait, WHAAAAAT?!?!? and actively hurt the brain of my poor girlfriend watching with me was [Im going to spoil the ending of this movie for you. If you dont want to know, go watch the movie (its on Shudder as we speak) and come back, but honestly even knowing about this scene will probably just make you want to watch it more.]
Are we good? Okay, so at the end of the movie the person who is the murderer has drugged Mary, after she went to his house to ask questions (I wont spoil the identity). The cops and Kendall (who, yes, is allowed to help in the investigation FOR SOME REASON) are racing to get there before Mary is killed. They manage to save her in the nick of time, and Lt. Bracken kills the bad guy.
Okay, great. All is wellexcept Kendall leans against a wall panel and Uh Oh! A dead body falls out, and right on top of our poor, strangely promiscuous young hero. Not just any body, but a body made out of parts PIECES if you will of the girls killed by the murderer. See, he wanted to make a puzzle of a girl in real life, just like when he was a kid.
But even THATs not the end. The dead puzzle lady is now under a blanket and Kendall has recovered from his shock, laughing with one of the other cops about it. As he turns to leave, the arm of the dead puzzle lady suddenly juts out from under the blanket, grabbing Kendall by the crotch, and TEARS HIS DICK OFF. He screams in agony, the music blares, and it cuts to the credits. WHAAAAAAAT?!?!
If youre not laughing, maybe picture me laying on the couch for an hour and 20 minutes and then STANDING UP IN EXASPERATION while that happened, and my girlfriend crying tears of laughter and yelling Why?!?! Why did this happen?!?!
Anyway. Pieces is bananas. The end.
Images: Film Ventures/Grindhouse Releasing
Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. He writes the weekly look at weird or obscure films in Schlock & Awe. Follow him on Twitter!
- Scary Movie - Everything2.com - December 3rd, 2018
- Scary Movie (1/12) Movie CLIP - Femme Fatality (2000) HD - November 28th, 2018
- Horror movies: What was the first scary movie you saw ... - October 29th, 2018
- The 35 Scariest Movies of All Time | Reader's Digest - October 15th, 2018
- Amazon.com: Scary Movie 4: Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Craig ... - September 26th, 2018
- Scary Movie 3 (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes - September 24th, 2018
- Amazon.com: Scary Movie [Blu-ray]: Anna Faris, Jon ... - September 14th, 2018
- Scary Movie 3 - Wikipedia - August 23rd, 2018
- Scary Movie Movie Review - Common Sense Media - August 22nd, 2018
- Scary Movie 3 (11/11) Movie CLIP - Down the Well (2003) HD ... - August 19th, 2018
- The Best Horror Movies of 2017 (So Far) - Vulture - August 1st, 2018
- Scary Movie 2 (2001) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb - July 28th, 2018
- Scary Movie (2000) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb - June 22nd, 2018
- Scary Movie 4 (2006) - IMDb - June 19th, 2018
- Scary Movie (2000) - IMDb - June 18th, 2018
- Bafana: A horror movie where nobody survives - Sport24 - September 7th, 2017
- Here's Why You Should Be Watching A Scary Movie During Your Next Workout - Elite Daily - September 7th, 2017
- 'It' May Be Scary, but Nothing Beats Your Childhood Fears - The Ringer (blog) - September 7th, 2017
- Tennessee teen has starring role in upcoming horror movie 'It' - WBIR-TV - September 6th, 2017
- It: a superb Stephen King adaptation fueled less by scary clowns than by real-life evil - Vox - September 6th, 2017
- 17 Horror Movie Remakes That You Should Actually Watch - Vulture - September 6th, 2017
- How Get Out Inspired a New College Course on Racism and Horror - Gizmodo - September 6th, 2017
- Scary 'It' does Stephen King largely by the book: movie review - New York Daily News - September 6th, 2017
- 'IT' Movie Reactions Are Scary Good - Uproxx - UPROXX - September 6th, 2017
- An Expert Explains Why You're Scared of Creepy Clowns and Other Horror Tropes - Slate Magazine (blog) - September 6th, 2017
- Syfy - Horror Movie Magic: The practical effects behind the grossest ... - SYFY WIRE (blog) - September 6th, 2017
- Don't let 'killer crown' craze return just because scary movie IT reaches cinemas this week - Gloucestershire Live - September 6th, 2017
- Kill Me Please is a dazzling teen nightmare, and the first great horror film of fall - The Verge - September 6th, 2017
- 10 Awesome Horror Movie Deleted Scenes You Won't Believe Were Cut - WhatCulture - September 6th, 2017
- How American Horror Story: Cult Handled Election Night 2016 in Its First 7 Minutes - Vulture - September 6th, 2017
- Tobe Hooper: How the director created horror's ultimate serial killer - The Independent - September 5th, 2017
- Scary stuff: Bloomington studio creates official 'It' movie poster - Bloomington Pantagraph - September 3rd, 2017
- IT Filmmakers on Adapting Stephen King, Delivering a Scary Pennywise and Earning Their R Rating - IGN Africa - September 3rd, 2017
- HELLRAISER Gets Mondo Soundtrack and Poster Release for 30th Anniversary - Nerdist - September 3rd, 2017
- IT Filmmakers on Adapting Stephen King, Delivering a Scary Pennywise and Earning Their R Rating - IGN - September 2nd, 2017
- IT movie: The TERRIFYING reason the original Pennywise star QUIT new film - Express.co.uk - September 2nd, 2017
- 'It was wonderfully scary': Tim Curry, Rob Reiner and Kathy Bates on the joy of adapting Stephen King - The Guardian - September 1st, 2017
- Stephen King's scary movie reboot provokes tears from 'legit clowns' - The Register - August 31st, 2017
- Stephen King's IT Poised to Be One Heck of a Scary Movie - TVOvermind - August 31st, 2017
- PG-13 Horror Movies That Prove You Don't Need an R-Rating to Be Creepy AF - Collider.com - August 31st, 2017
- How the Original It Miniseries Traumatized a Generation of Kids - Vanity Fair - August 31st, 2017
- The Hollywood Tastemaker You've Never Heard Of - Vanity Fair - August 31st, 2017
- Screenwriter Gary Dauberman is the new 'It' man - The Ottawa Herald - August 31st, 2017
- The Unpopular Opinion: 'Dead Silence' is One of James Wan's Best Movies - /FILM - August 31st, 2017
- Horror movie season in full swing in Sept. - Graffiti - August 30th, 2017
- Defining IU's breakthrough - South Bend Tribune - August 30th, 2017
- "Scary as sh*t" - the first It movie reactions are in and it's good news for King fans - GamesRadar - August 29th, 2017
- 'It' Clips Show Off Pennywise the Clown, Terrified Children, Etc. - /FILM - August 29th, 2017
- WAMG Giveaway Win the LIFETIME SCARY MOVIE SET From Lionsgate - We Are Movie Geeks - August 28th, 2017
- Ne Obliviscaris' Xenoyr On His Top 10 Epic Horror Films - Dread Central - August 28th, 2017
- In 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre,' Sympathy for the Devil - New York Times - August 28th, 2017
- Annabelle: Creation - This is the REAL story behind the incredible film scaring people across Essex - Essex Live - August 28th, 2017
- Innocence lost: Stephen King's IT and the real-life horror of kids in Hollywood - The Guardian - August 28th, 2017
- Early reactions to It praise Stephen King film: 'Totally terrifying,' 'scary as sh--' - EW.com - August 28th, 2017
- Now they're really asking for It: film fuels scary obsession with Stephen King's 1986 novel - CBC.ca - August 28th, 2017
- Tobe Hooper, the horror filmmaker behind 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,' is dead at 74 - Mashable - August 28th, 2017
- The First Reactions To It Are Scary Good - Gizmodo - August 26th, 2017
- EXCLUSIVE: Lakeith Stanfield Reflects on Breakout Year and 'Crown Heights' - 9NEWS.com - August 25th, 2017
- The Mist - Stephen King's adaptation oozes a familiarity in which old-school horror fans will be happy - review - Telegraph.co.uk - August 25th, 2017
- Eli Roth Puts Horror Classics 'in a Blender' in Terrifying New Trailer for Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights - PEOPLE.com - August 24th, 2017
- These Horror Movie Bath Bombs Are Terrifyingly Awesome - Simplemost - August 22nd, 2017
- James Van Der Beek's Daughter Has 'Great Taste' in Movies: Find Out Which (Scary!) Film She Loves Makes Him ... - PEOPLE.com - August 22nd, 2017
- The Horror Movie Jump Scare Actually Has a History - TVOvermind - August 19th, 2017
- 15 Best Horror Movies on Hulu Right Now - Den of Geek US - August 19th, 2017
- 5 scary doll movies like Annabelle: Creation - The Indian Express - August 19th, 2017
- 'Scary Mother' Wins at Sarajevo Film Festival; Bosnia-Herzegovina Selects Oscar Entry - Variety - August 19th, 2017
- Scary Movie Bath Bombs Make the Perfect Halloween Soak | Brit + Co - Brit + Co - August 17th, 2017
- Top 10 Horror Movies You Need To Watch! - Instinct Magazine - August 17th, 2017
- 68 Kill Coming to Cinemapolis - ithaca.com - August 17th, 2017
- Annabelle: Creation movie review - Genuinely creepy; the best film in the Conjuring universe - Hindustan Times - August 17th, 2017
- 10 Things You Didn't Know about The Conjuring - TVOvermind - August 17th, 2017
- Five Easy Steps to Making a Better Horror Sequel - Vulture - August 17th, 2017
- Annabelle: Creation Movie Review: More Giggles Than Scary Screams - koimoi - August 16th, 2017
- Marlon Wayans dishes on new Netflix movie 'Naked' and NBC sitcom 'Marlon' - WTOP - August 14th, 2017
- 'Annabelle: Creation' is scary good - The Spokesman-Review - August 11th, 2017
- Marlon Wayans sees work in sitcom, movie as finally coming into his own - The Columbus Dispatch - August 11th, 2017
- 'Annabelle: Creation' is scary good - Washington Post - August 10th, 2017
- 'Annabelle: Creation' burns its hard work to the ground - CNET - August 9th, 2017
- Chris Pratt Shares A Heart-Breaking Message As He Announces Split From Scary Movie's Anna Faris - Capital FM - August 7th, 2017
- At This Horror Movie Sleepaway Camp, Nightmares Are the Ticket to a Dream Job - Thrillist - August 7th, 2017
Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero