Pete’s Peek | There are a lot of slashers about, but none quite like the 1980s cult Pieces

Now here’s a sleazy 1980s hatchet job that’s best served as a splatter spoof than an exercise in excessive violence.

A masked psycho (who looks like Vincent Price’s Henry Jarrod armed with a chainsaw) is cutting up college girls and using their body parts to construct his ideal woman. Christopher George, best known as TV’s The Immortal, is the investigating detective, while his real-life wife Lynda Day is the undercover cop who screams one swear word over and over again. Meanwhile, Paul L Smith, who will forever be known as the sadistic warden from Midnight Express, just arches his big caterpillar eyebrows as the film’s red-herring, while genre favourite Jack Taylor gets some wonderfully inept dialogue to recite: “I’m not a pathologist, but even a lay man can see it was done with this [blood soaked chainsaw]’.

When director Juan Piquer Simón‘s film was first released, it caused controversy with regards to its violence against women, but watching it now, it’s more goofy than gory. It’s very ‘no holds barred’, but the film’s more bizarre elements (like a woman impaled by glass a la The Omen while out skating and the Flashdance-inspired music sequences) throw you off guard. You’ll scream in terror one minute, then with delight at the absurdity of it all the next. Even the soundtrack sounds like it’s spoofing one of Goblin’s Dario Argento film scores.

Pieces is totally crazy (especially the final scene), but also bloody good fun, and the waterbed death scene is a standout. The new Arrow Video DVD release features a vibrant print and comes with some nifty extras for slasher fans, including my favourite: an interview with the deadly serious Jack Taylor ‘an actor is born, not made’, about his long career in Spanish genre films.

Pieces is also available as part of two Pre-Order Specials from Arrow Films, which include the new Blu-ray release of Argento’s Cat O’Nine Tails and the DVD releases of The Man With The Severed Head, starring Paul Naschy, or the Christopher Walken actioner McBain. Both specials are released on 26 September.

You can also catch Pieces on The Horror Channel

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