One of my new favourite slashers and a glorious clusterfuck of a movie, Pieces (1982) is a Spanish film set in Boston. The film opens with a child putting together a dirty puzzle. (not a puzzle that's grubby, but a naughty puzzle) His mother enters, admonishes him and he hacks her into pieces. (geddit?!) When the police enter to find the gruesome scene they find the boy tucked away in a closet, an apparently survivor of the atrocity.
The film picks up a few decades later with nubile female coeds getting sliced and diced. It's clear that the little boy who killed his mother is behind these new murders but who did the little boy grow up to be? A police officer? A professor? A creepy landscaper? The above suspicion Dean? WHO?!?!
Granted this all may seem simple but there's also a lot tennis played, volunteer undercover cops and a Kung Fu professor. Part of my immediate love for Pieces is that it speaks to the bat-shit craziness of how these slasher movies were cobbled together. Take your basic recipe of slasher ingredients and garnish with a director's random assortment of interests and that would be your movie. Since slashers were the Found Footage Horrors of yesteryear independent companies where churning them out since they were guaranteed to see a return on their (and privates investors) funding. What I love about Pieces in particular is the interpretation of the American life. From the freshly cut lawns to the deeply held Puritan values it's always interesting to get an outsiders perspective on North American society.
As for Pieces as a film it's oddly disjointed but that's what makes it so glorious to watch. Beyond the paint-by-numbers slasher plot there's so much oddball hilarity and over the top gross out scenes that it's nearly impossible not to engage with it. Around every corner there's either a jazzercize class or a killer with something sharp, it's all part of the fun!!
ALSO: I watched this movie since it's set in Boston, where I will be on Saturday June 29th giving the lecture I originally presented at the Black Museum in Toronto. Tickets are on sale here for Ghosts in the Machine the Evolution of Found Footage Horror.