Monday, October 17, 2022

bits n bobs.

Day 17 of the whole 31 Days of Horror thang and with no complaints and/or death threats it's time to unleash the big guns.

And by that I mean Christopher George and his big trousers.


Pieces (AKA Mil Gritos Tiene La Noche, 1982).
Dir: Juan Piquer 'Simon'.
Cast: Christopher George, Linda Day George, Frank Braña, Paul L. Smith, Edmund Purdom, Ian Sera, Jack Taylor, Isabelle Luque, Gérard Tichy, Hilda Fuchs, May Heatherly, Alejandro Hernández, Roxana Nieto, Cristina Cottrelli, Leticia Marfil, Silvia Gambino, Carmen Aguado and Paco Alvez.

Now look, professor, I don’t want to wait for the coroner’s opinion, so can you give me yours? Could this killing have been done with a chainsaw like that one over there?

Our story opens in the year 1942 in a house somewhere in sunny Boston where the 10-year-old tank top sporting Timmy (Hernández, who scarily enough actually went on to have some sort of career outside homemade gay porn) is busying himself with a jigsaw puzzle of a nude lady.

A nude lady with a very noticeable 1970s style bush and Farrah-like flicked haircut.

Who knew that Bostonians were such trendsetters?

But obviously this childish fun can't last and when his mum (Heatherly, best know for playing a nurse in Cannibal Apocalypse) walks in and catches him in the act our poor pre-teen chum has no alternative but to bludgeon her (to death) with a handy axe before sawing up her body with a handy hacksaw of the kind we all kept in our bedroom as boys.

Just me then?

Worried when her sister doesn't meet up for bingo night, Timmy's aunt arrives at the house with the police (bizarrely it seems portrayed by the Super Mario Brothers) in tow to discover Timmy cowering in a cupboard and his mums remains scattered and smeared around the room.

Not wanting to get in trouble Timmy blurts out that a "bad boy done it and ran away!" before crying into his aunts dress.


Surprisingly for a horror movie, the police believe him and pack the boy off  to live with his aunt whilst arresting the first black guy/Hispanic/illegal for the crime.

The end.

Put it in me!

Not really - which is a pity - instead we jump forward forty years to find a black-clad figure furtively opening an old crisp box containing not only Timmy's mum's blood stain dress (alongside a handy photograph of her wearing it) but also the unfinished (still? really? after 40 years? I mean it's not like it's one of those 2000 piece jobs with a picture of baked beans on it) jigsaw puzzle.

There's little chance to ponder the meaning of such things tho' as we're soon away across town as the camera perversely focuses on Roxana Nieto's - albeit - peachy arse and smooth milky thighs as she lies - oh so naturally - on the grass outside the university busily studying for her quantum mechanics cum brain surgery exam.

Somewhere to park your bike.

Being a loosely plotted exploitation piece more interested in blood and boobs than anything remotely resembling a plot she's swiftly decapitated with a chainsaw by an shadowy figure clad in a large hat and welding goggles who escapes into the bushes with her head just as the hunky Lt. Brick Bracken (George from City of The Living Dead and your mum's dreams) and his partner Sgt. Randy Holden (Braña from The Story of O 2 - as in the sequel to The Story of O not a documentary about the phone company) arrive to investigate a complaint from an old lady about the noise.

And again, just because.

Finding no sign of any witnesses or any clues as to why someone would want to steal a teenagers head the pair head along to see the college's Dean, Axel Foley (Purdom who appeared to be in every low budget movie made between about 1950 and 1989) to see if he has any clue as to why the girl was targeted.

Remembering that she had a fairly pert arse he sends them off to chat with the college's anatomy lecturer, former pop star - and part-time student shagger - the sinister Professor Arthur Brown (genre stalwart Taylor), who upon denying any knowledge - carnal or otherwise - of the girl tries to make it up to them by giving them a guided tour of the campus and a chance to meet the students who will become the various victims of the killer as the story progresses.

Which I must admit is quite useful.

But unbeknown to our cool cop heroes, as all this chat is going down the college groundskeeper, Willie (Smith, from Popeye and Dune) is watching with a mad glint in his eye as he busies himself trimming some bush.

With a chainsaw.

A chainsaw that looks awfully similar to the killer's.


Sorry - I have my woman's period.

But we can't be spending too much time with sinister chainsaw wielding weirdos as we have to get back to those pesky sex obsessed students, especially the boss-eyed 'Danny' Kendall James (actor and producer Sera, best known for Extra Terrestrial Visitors and Marine Issue - no me neither) who has just received a note from the blonde bombshell - OK bombsite - Jenny (Former Ms Spain 1981 Cottrelli) asking him to meet her in the swimming pool for some of 'the sex'.

Unfortunately the killer comes across the note and arrives first, sticking something far sharper - and bigger - into Jenny before chainsawing her into tiny pieces and stealing her torso.

But not the film Torso which is unfortunate as they may have watched it and learned at least how to light stuff properly if nothing else.

And if that wasn't enough poor Willie, who just happens to be passing by, and - after a really shit slow fight that wouldn't even have passed muster in Blake's 7 - is arrested.

But the real victim in all this is poor Kendall who is fairly upset and not getting laid, so Lt. Brack - being a nice guy - sends him off to see Dr. Kat Jennings (Tichy, look him up yourself if you're that bothered cos I'm not) to talk about stuff and hopefully get an idea of who is responsible for all those bad murders and maybe, just maybe do a wee bit of investigating for them himself.

Which seems a wee bit of an odd way to investigate a crime but what do I know.

To help him in his investigation Kendall is teamed up with undercover cop extraordinaire plus former tennis player Mary Riggs (George, wife of the other George and mother of Boy George) who will be posing as a tennis instructor at the college with Kendall working as her ball boy.

Which is quite lucky as that night she's attacked by a tiny Chinese man as she walks home and it's Kendall who comes to her rescue.

As opposed to over her arse obviously.

Fear not tho' as it wasn't the killer but just the local Kung Fu instructor who is suffering from hallucinations after eating a dodgy chop suey.

No, really.

That's not the only trouble brewing because wouldn't you know it, an evil faced reporter, Sylvia Costa (Luque) has also arrived on campus and is determined to solve the case herself even if it puts everyone else in danger.


Luckily for us but not for the females on campus she's really shite at her job so the killer gets ample opportunity to carry on his murder spree, taking out a disco dancing dollybird before stabbing Sylvia to death on a handy (or should that be wobbly?) waterbed that they keep in the basement.

On a roll now (and knowing the film is nearing its climax) the killer strikes again, this time butchering Mary's tennis partner before stealing her legs much to the chagrin of Mary and Kendall who are spending way too much time gazing uncomfortably at each other rather than, ooh I don't know, trying to catch a murderer maybe.

Returning to the police station for tea and biscuits the pair are angry to discover that groundskeeper Willie has been let free mainly due to the fact that he's Innocent so, in order to have something to do, decide to start investigating other faculty staff members after Kendall realises that the killer commits his crimes during break periods and when no-one is looking.

Imagine a particularly shite episode of Columbo then lobotomize it and you'll be halfway to seeing how basic this whodunnit plot is.

Seriously I feel like I'm losing brain functions just writing it all down.

Fair enough.

And wouldn't you know it but after spending literally, oooh minutes,  searching thru' the staff files they discover that the Dean's name isn't really Axel Foley but Timmy Foley, just like the boy who chopped up his mum at the movies beginning.

It couldn't be could it?

There's only one way to find out.

Yup Mary decides to go alone to his apartment that very night to check it/him out.

Without telling anyone obviously.

Will she arrest the Dean and bring him to justice or will she get slapped then drugged whilst he attempts to steal her feet to completed his dead flesh sex doll cum mother replacement?

Will Bracken, Holden, and Kendall arrive in time to save her because as we all know girls are rubbish at crime fighting.

And after everything is all wrapped up will the jigsaw corpse inexplicably come to live and attempt to steal Kendall's testicles?

From Spain's very own (lo-fi) Orson Welles comes quite possibly the most inane, insane and downright shite slasher ever committed to celluloid.

Nonsensical, in every way the film lurches from one ever more unrelated and bizarre set piece to another with no care for logic, plotting or good taste.

 which bizarrely enough is probably the reason why it's so bloody brilliant.

It's almost as if director Juan Piquer Simon - who in case you didn't know also gave us the cheese-string superhero epic Supersonic Man, the Peter Cushing and Terence Stamp travesty Mystery on Monster Island, the ET bothering Extra-Terrestrial Visitors* as well as the oh so slightly homo-erotic Slugs among others -  had a bet going with the producers where they put random characters and situations into a hat and each day he'd pick one and have to put it in the movie for fear of not getting paid.

Or at very least getting the bumps behind the catering truck.

If there was a catering truck that is but I wouldn't be surprised if everyone had to bring their own sandwiches.**

To be honest that's the only reason I can think of as to why so much of it makes absolutely no sense. 

For example, in the establishing shot of the campus, there's a tiny-shorted girl riding a skateboard badly, wobbling about as she rolls down the street to a feel good score. 

Meanwhile further down the road a couple of guys are slowly carrying a huge sheet of glass that the girl crashes into (in glorious slow motion) screaming as she does.

And that's it, we never see or hear about her ever again because hey we've got Roxana Nieto's peachy arse to perv over.

Which if I'm honest is a much better prospect than having to listen to Love Ist OK!!, the 'sexy' song and dance she performed on the Spanish TV equivalent of Summertime Special.***

Yer maw.

And don't get me started on the surprise cameo appearance by stunt man, convicted fraudster and Bruce Lee alike Bruce Le.

Yup the 'star' of Challenge of the Tiger, Bruce, King of Kung Fu, Infra-Man and Return of Bruce appears for no other reason than the film’s producer - exploitation king and low rent Roger Corman - Dick Randall decided that with Kung Fu being quite popular that he should be in it.

Utter genius from start to finish.

*The bedroom belonging to Tommy (the wee pube-haired boy who befriends the alien) in this movie is actually the very same bedroom set previously used in Pieces.

But cleaned up a fair bit obviously.

**And I bet Edmund Purdom's were egg and cress.

***Oh you actually want to see it?

You're welcome.

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