Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 8th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Spain, 1982
Director: Juan Piquer Simon
Writers: Joe D’Amato, Dick Randall, Juan Piquer Simon
Cast: Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Frank Braña, Edmund Purdom, Ian Sera, Paul L. Smith, Jack Taylor
DVD released: October 28th, 2008
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital Stereo Spanish
DVD Release: Grindhouse Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
The Spanish language title for Pieces is “Mil gritos tiene la noche”, which translates into “One Thousand Cries Has the Night”. The original Spanish language title is to vague and the U.S. title “Pieces” is more to the point. Pieces was directed by Juan Piquer Simón who other notable films include Fabulous Journey to the Center of the Earth, Satan’s Blood (as producer) and Slugs. The screenplay for Pieces was co-written by maverick film producer Dick Randall (For Y’ur Height Only) and Italian filmmaker Joe D’Amato (Emanuelle in America). The score for the Spanish language release of Pieces was composed by Librado Pastor who also composed the score for Juan Piquer Simón’s produced Satan’s Blood.
Plot wise Pieces, does not diverge too far away from your typical murder by numbers body count slasher film. At the core of the story is a killer who as a young boy chopped his mother up with an axe. This event sets in motion the killers’ psychotic break that occurs forty years later. The killings in Pieces are gory and bloody with the standout deaths scenes being a murder in an elevator and a murder in a bathroom stall. There are a few red herrings which try to divert the viewer’s attention away from the real killer.
The film’s most WTF moment has to be Bruce Le’s brief cameo. He appears out of nowhere and attacks an undercover policewoman with his deadly fighting skills. The brief scene with Bruce Le is just one of many off the wall moments in the film. The film’s climax is also an appropriate conclusion to all the events that have preceded it. Performance wise the acting is adequate at best with the only performance of note being Paul L. Smith as Willard the handyman. Ultimately Pieces is an entertaining mix of carnage, nudity and absurdity.
Grindhouse Releasing presents Pieces in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This progressive flagged transfer also marks the first time that Pieces has been released on home video in the U.S. in its original aspect ratio. The image looks colorful and flesh tones look natural. Black levels fare well and details look crisp throughout. Overall this is another strong transfer from Grindhouse Releasing.
This release comes with two audio options English and Spanish. Both audio options are presented in a Dolby Digital stereo and removable English subtitles have been provided. Quality wise both mixes sound clear and evenly balanced with no major audio defects. The main difference between the two audio mixes is the score, The English audio mix includes music cues from culled from the CAM library of scores and the Spanish audio mix contains a score that was composed by Librado Pastor.
Extras on disc one include the U.S. theatrical trailer for Pieces, the original Spanish language opening pro-log / credits and an audio track titled “The Vine Theater Experience”, which is a feature length track of crowd responses as they watched the film when it played at the Vine Theater in Hollywood, California (recorded in August of 2002).
Extras on disc two include trailers for Cat In The Brain, The Beyond, Cannibal Ferox, Cannibal Holocaust, I Drink Your Blood, The Tough Ones, Massacre Mafia Style, Gone with the Pope, Scum of the Earth, An American Hippie in Israel, Death Game, Family Enforcer, Ice House and Mad Ron’s Prevue’s from Hell. Other extras include cast crew bios for director Juan Piquer Simon, producers Dick Randall and Stephen Minasian, actors Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Edmund Purdom and Paul L. Smith. There are additional extras hidden in each of these bios. These include a radio spot for Pieces, trailers for Primitive Love, Mark of the Devil, City Of The Living Dead, Day of the Animals and Witchcraft ’70 and a segment about director Richard Donner. The main extras on disc two are two interviews titled “Pieces Of Piquer” (55:21) and “Paul Smith: The Reddest Herring” (57:41). Rounding out the extras on disc two are four stills galleries titled “Production Stills”, “Pieces Publicity”, “Video Releases” and “Juan Piquer’s Still’s Show” which is more of a video segment than a standard stills gallery. Also included with this release is a brief text piece written by Chas Balun and a mini replica poster. There are two Easter Eggs the one on disc one can be accessed via the features menu when you choose the “The Vine Theater Experience” and the other Easter egg can be found on disc two in the stills gallery section. The first Easter Egg is a clip filmed during “The Vine Theater Experience” and the other is a continuations of the “Juan Piquer’s Still’s Show”, in which he shows revealing photos of some of the female cast members. Overall Pieces gets a definitive DVD release from Grindhouse Releasing.