’80s Cult Classic Pieces Gets A Blu-ray Worth Killing For
If you haven’t seen Pieces—and chances are you haven’t—then you’re missing out on one of the foremost trashy horror flicks of the ’80s. If you’ve already had the good fortune of seeing Pieces, then you probably watched it on some grungy Betamax tape. Either way, Grindhouse Releasing has put out one helluva three-disc set that anyone who enjoys gnarly kills, shameless nudity, hilarious dubbing, illogical plot twists, and an over-the-top synth soundtrack will drool all over.
Back in 1942, a young boy gets scolded by his mother for putting together a nudie puzzle (a mini, blood-spattered version of which comes with the first 3,000 copies of this very release—sorry, mom!) and sensibly hacks her up with an axe and then saws up her corpse. Cut to 40 years later, we’re now at a Boston University (that is in fact somewhere in Spain), where young co-eds are getting chainsawed into pieces (in very graphic detail) by a mysterious killer sporting a fedora, not unlike your trademark Giallo stalker.
Trying to figure out who the killer is and why he’s doing it is beside the point here. Director Juan Piquer Simón and his team throw logic out the window in stunning fashion. Not just one of those so-bad-it’s-good cult films, Pieces is more like a so-bad-it’s-actually-blowing-my-mind cult film. The baffling ending alone is worth the price of admission, but thankfully the entire movie is consistently batshit crazy in the best possible sense.
Like I said, Grindhouse Releasing knocked this three-disc’r—which is made up of two Blu-ray discs and one CD of the jazzy, synthy soundtrack—out of the park. Disc one contains two versions of the feature: the wonderfully dubbed 85-minute English cut and the uncensored, Spanish-language director’s cut boasting about a minute-and-a-half’s worth of excised material. Personally, I prefer the goofier dubbed version for the full grindhouse effect. Heck, you can also watch the film with audio recorded from a 2002 screening, or with just the isolated original score. Also on the first disc is an audio commentary with actor Jack Taylor, moderated by 42nd Street historian of sorts, Calum Waddell, and a photo gallery.
If 42nd Street and/or Calum Waddell don’t ring any bells, disc two features his superb 80-minute documentary about the legendary strip, featuring tonnes of talent like Gremlins director Joe Dante, Basket Case director Frank Hanenlotter, and Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman reminiscing about the district’s golden age of ’70s and ’80s sleaze.
If all this leaves you wanted to know more about the man behind Pieces, there’s an hour-long interview aptly called Pieces of Juan that essentially recalls his entire life and career. Paul Smith: The Reddest Herring is another lengthy, career-spanning interview, this time with late actor Paul Smith, whose credits also include David Lynch’s Dune and Sam Raimi’s little-seen sophomore feature, Crimewave. Rounding out the trio of interviews is a much shorter one with producer Steve Minasian, who discusses the film’s U.S. release. Lastly, there are bios and filmographies, more Easter Eggs than you can shake a stick at, and a bevy of nutty trailers for other Grindhouse Releasing fare. Check out the one for Pieces below, and then just try not to pick up this release right after.