Pieces (Juan Piquer Simón / U.S.-Spain-Puerto Rico, 1982):
(Mil Gritos Tiene la Noche)

The preamble rhymes the pieces of a salacious jigsaw with those of a mutilated scolding mother, and adduces a promising whiff of Ensayo de un Crimen: The boy is interrupted in his pastime, then continues calmly, covered with blood. Four decades later, the wanton slashing resumes in a Euro-hack’s version of a New England university, where students turn up with missing body parts. Who’s the cape-and-fedora campus ripper? The dean (Edmund Purdom as Thrift-Shop James Mason)? The spindly college "stud" (Ian Sera)? The effete anatomy professor (Jack Taylor)? The lumbering groundskeeper (Paul "Bluto" Smith)? Detective Christopher George, at the splatter-caked scene of the crime: "Now, could that have been done with a chainsaw? Like that one over there?" The scariest thing is the '80s Casio score, though the dubbing of the white-sweater coed ("The most beautiful thing in the world is smoking pot and fucking on a waterbed at the same time") is art of some sort. The out-of-nowhere kung fu, a victim wetting her pants (in close-up) as the maniac’s blade buzzes nearer, Lynda Day George bellowing every possible inflection of the word "bastard"—the Juan Piquer Simón touch. The unveiling of the murderer’s Freudian gore-masterpiece is a nice finish, even if Vadim’s Pretty Maids All in a Row had already told the tale a decade earlier in an intentionally funny way. With Frank Braña, Gérard Tichy, Hilda Fuchs, and Isabel Lugue.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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