Pieces (1982) | Juan Piquer Simón’s bonkers Spanish slasher gets a 4k restored limited edition Arrow release
Back in 2011 Arrow Video released Juan Piquer Simón’s 1982 splatter hatchet job Pieces uncut on DVD, with just a handful of fun extras. Now, they have gone further by creating a new 4k transfer from the original camera negative to present both the US theatrical version and the original director’s cut (Mil Gritos Tiene La Noche) with the original score (by Librado Pastor, who only ever composed four film scores) in a limited edition 3-disc dual format box-set loaded with bonus content.
These include archive interviews with the director and actor Paul L Smith (of Midnight Express fame), new interview with art director Gonzalo Gonzalo (Slugs), a fan appreciation featurette, and an audio interview with producer Steve Minasian (Don’t Open Till Christmas, Slaughter High). The alternate re-score by Umberto is also a special feature, while a separate disc features the original 16 track score. Podcasters The Hysteria Continues supply the well-informed audio commentary, while artist Marc Schoenbach has come up with the new artwork (way less gory than Jeff Zornow’s 2011 artwork), and a collector’s booklet is also included.
Best served as a splatter spoof than an exercise in excessive violence, Pieces is a real guilty pleasure despite its flaws (and there are many), and this new release from Arrow is a real step up from their 2011 DVD release. So, if crazy Spanish splatter is your bag, then I’d highly recommend adding it to your collection.
1982’s Pieces is 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 a spoof one of Goblin’s 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 2011 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.