Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 11th, 2017
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
BluRay released: March 27th, 2017
Approximate running times: 85 minutes (Pieces), 87 minutes (Mil Gritos Tiene La Noche)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English (Pieces), DTS-HD Stereo Spanish (Mil Gritos Tiene La Noche)
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Blu-Ray Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region B / Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: £29.99 (UK)
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.
Pieces, the US theatrical version, and Mil Gritos Tiene La Noche, the original uncensored director’s cut are presented on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay and both versions are presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Both versions have been given 4K transfers that were sourced from the original camera negative. The transfers for this release are comparable to the transfers used for Grindhouse Releasing’s Blu-ray release.
Audio options while watching the U.S. release version include, a LPCM stereo mix in English and a LPCM stereo mix with original score by Librado Pastor. A third audio option included for the U.S. release version is an alternate re-score by composer Umberto and this audio track features no dialog. The Spanish release version Mil Gritos Tiene La Noche comes with one audio option, a LPCM stereo mix in Spanish. All of these audio options, are in in excellent shape. They all sound, clear, balanced and robust when they need too. Included with the release are removable English subtitles for both versions of the film.
Extras for this release include, an English language theatrical trailer (31 seconds), 2016 re-release trailer (40 seconds), image galleries (Production Stills / Publicity Materials / Video Releases / Bits and Pieces / Juan Piquer’s Still Show), an audio interview with producer Steve Minasian (2 minutes 58 seconds), a career-spanning interview with director Juan Piquer Simón titled Pieces of Piquer (55 minutes 28 seconds, in Spanish with English subtitles) and an archive interview with actor Paul Smith titled The Reddest Herring (57 minutes 46 seconds).
Extras new to this release include, a featurette titled It’s Exactly What You Think It Is! (15 minutes 3 seconds), an interview with art director Gonzalo Gonzalo titled A Thousand Screams (28 minutes 14 seconds, in Spanish with English subtitles), an audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues and an alternate audio option titled The Vine Theater 5.1 Experience. These last two extras can only be accessed while watching the U.S. release version of the film.
Rounding out the extras is a CD featuring the entire original score, reversible cover art and a booklet with cast & crew information, an essay about the film written by Michael Gingold and information about the transfers. Also, included with this release is a DVD. Overall a spectacular release from Arrow Video that contains two versions of the film and a wealth of insightful extra content, highly recommended.
Screenshots from Mil Gritos Tiene La Noche