As we’re all well aware, the horror genre can be divided up into virtually countless subgenres: you’ve got your slashers, your vampires, your evil puppets and ventriloquist’s dummies, your ghosts…and so on. Sometimes, though, it’s important to categorize a horror film in term of, for lack of a better word, quality. There are movies that are scary and good; there are movies that are good but not scary. There are bad movies that might have a redeeming feature or two, or something that might make me recommend it despite its general lousiness. There are movies that are so bad they’re unwatchable (insert standard Uwe Boll joke here), and there are movies that are so bad you can’t help but adore them. There are horror movies that are meant to be watched in the dark, in silence, and some that are meant to be watched with your friends and a six-pack so you can all yell at the screen in glee together. See, this is where reviewing a movie gets complicated- or it does for me, anyway. How do you rate films that aren’t good but you enjoyed anyway? I mean, you see that “2 out of 5” up there and you immediately think “Ah, OK, PIECES must suck!”- and you’d be right…in a way. Don’t get me wrong, PIECES does suck- but call me John Cougar Mellencamp, this movie hurts oh so good.
PIECES opens in 1942 as a pervy young lad is putting together a nudie jigsaw puzzle. As he’s salivating over tiny, oddly-shaped cardboard boobs, who should walk in but mom. What a buzzkill! Immediately she flies off the handle, berating not only the boy but also his absentee father- in fact, she goes so far as to promise to kill the boy should she catch him indulging his hobby anymore. She orders him to get some garbage bags so they can dispose of the filthy puzzle, but the boy doesn’t return with a load of Hefty bags, oh no. He brings bag an axe and proceeds to give his mother slightly less than the recommended 40 whacks. Out comes the hacksaw and before you know it, mom is in…yes, wait for it…pieces. When the police arrive, the boy puts on a fine act and tells them that a stranger broke in and murdered his mother; he’s shipped off to live with his aunt and that’s that. Or is it?
Of course it isn’t, or the movie would only be seven minutes long.
40 years later, someone wearing black gloves opens up a Super Special Memory Box that contains such goodies as scraps of mom’s dress and some bloodied puzzle pieces. Soon thereafter, female coeds at Unnamed University are being killed by this black-gloved, chainsaw-wielding weirdo as he attempts to put together another nudie puzzle, this one constructed of real body parts instead of cardboard. Which one of the cast members is our li’l perv all grown up? Is it the nerd who somehow manages to score with all the chicks? Is it the shifty-eyed, always-sweaty gardener? Is it Professor Brown, who seems oh so awkward and shy? The answer is: who cares? When the reveal finally comes, it won’t make sense much anyway.
PIECES see, is a horror movie for which, the journey is the destination. And trust me, this is one awful journey you’ll want to take with all your friends so you can revel in such cinematic awesomeness as a random kung fu fight (the Asian instigator blames his outburst on “bad chop suey”) and the scene where the killer gets into the elevator with his victim and very cleverly “hides” his chainsaw behind his back. There are lines you’ll remember well into your golden years, from “The most beautiful thing in the world is smoking pot and fucking on a waterbed at the same time!” to “It seems like a maniac is running loose. Or something like that.” And oh, honey, the death scenes! From the girl who skateboards into a giant mirror to the swimming girl captured by a pool skimmer who waits patiently for the killer to retrieve his chainsaw, PIECES really delivers a bloody, gory, absurdly good time.