Parts of a Whole – Pieces (1982)

Pieces is an extremely apt title for this slasher as the killer in question enjoys removing the limbs from his victims, leaving them, for lack of a better description, in pieces. Unlike other slashers that give the viewer a bit of background on the murderer in question to elicit a bit of sympathy, more often than not because it was never their fault for turning out the way they did, this film does not. This killer was born, not made, and there is no forgiveness to be found in either his actions or in the movie itself.

One way to describe the killer’s actions would be brutal, especially considering what the audience is subjected to on the screen. There are films that are worse, but director Juan Piquer Simón pulls no punches in living up to the movie’s title. There is plenty of blood and guts, literal guts, to go around and for those that think most slashers are fairly tame; at least when it comes to the visceral side of things, this movie is not one of those pictures. Simón shows the audience every gory little detail from the chase to the kill and finally the dismemberment. He even goes so far as to show a girl lose control of her bowels as she waits, terrorized, knowing that she will die within the next few seconds. It is, by all accounts, horrific and Simón does a great job of bringing that across to the viewer. Additionally, it also makes a person curious as to why the killer does what he does, why he kills. Though Simón essentially lays it out, letting the audience know what the killer is doing at any given moment, he never provides the answer why, leaving those motivations a mystery and it works, compounding the horror already present.

Christopher George stars as Lt. Bracken, a man who is getting nowhere on the case as each successive body turns up and starring opposite him is his wife, Linda Day as Mary who goes undercover in the hopes of bringing the killer out into the open. Most would think that in such a confined area like the school, there would only be a certain number of suspects and that at some point, a man with a chainsaw would be found out. Suffice it to say, it does create a little bit of a break in the logic of it all, but it never hampers the film, never slowing down even for a minute to give a person any time to really think about it until it is all said and done.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of slashers out in the wild for a person to choose from when looking for something to watch, yet looking at all the Prom Night’s and Sleepaway Camps and the various massacres that came out over the years, few can really hold a candle to Pieces. The movie is a little scary at times and quite disturbing more than anything else, but it could not be any better because of those very reasons.

3.5 out of 5

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