From The Vault: Pieces (1982) Colin D Miller June 20, 2015 Editor's Choice, From The Vault 5742 If there is a moral to this story, it’s never get between a boy and his pornographic puzzle. Essentially, that’s what happens at the beginning of the film and after witnessing the said boy take an axe to his over-reacting mother, the film skips forward 40 years to see what the little devil is up to now. Described by Cabin Fever director Eli Roth as “a masterpiece of early 1980s sleaze”, Pieces is a typical early 80s slasher, that takes place in a university campus. Attractive, physically fit and scantily clad girls are being offed by a lunatic with a chainsaw and the authorities are so baffled by the case, they’ve taken student Kendall (Ian Sera) on board as a trainee officer in an effort to crack the case. What qualifies Kendall to be handed such a important and dangerous task is not really clear. But leading police detective Bracken (Christopher George) takes a shine to him after Kendall advises him that “something was not quite right” about a girl’s murder. Also assigned to the task is a tennis champion, Mary Riggs (Linda Day George), because being an undercover police officer is the perfect day job for such an athlete. Lynda Day George as Mary Riggs The incompetence of the police in Pieces is remarkable and easily the most amusing aspect of the film. They really are rubbish. Of the many things I learnt about police procedures, Pieces taught me that police will not waste a coroner’s time if there’s an anatomy school teacher at hand. They’ll also do their best to cover up the grim goings on by not telling the press, because a chainsaw wielding pervert on a university campus is not in the public interest and would result in “mass panic”. The fact that everyone is apparently a prime suspect and it’s the school dean that recommends this cover up doesn’t even register as weird to detective Bracken. Naturally, the acting is pretty much what you would expect from a 1980s horror film, which had the tagline “you don’t have to go to Texas for a chainsaw massacre”. And pretty much everyone is over dramatic. And like most horror films around this period, the soundtrack is actually quite effective and has that lovely retro creepy synth sound to grace the creepiness of the killer’s presence. The filmmakers actually outdid themselves with the murders, as some of the effects are genuinely quite chilling. In fact, director Juan Piquer Simón is on record as being quite proud of the visual effects, especially how they used a pig’s carcass to depict the effect of the chainsaw cutting through a young woman’s stomach. One of these dancers is almost definitely going to die at some point in Pieces. When I first started watching Pieces, I really wasn’t expecting much. But I have to admit, that despite it’s questionable content and it’s very dated depiction of women, it won me over with its ludicrous plot, the clueless police and the over-the-top gore. Definitely one to dig out.