Blu-Ray Review: Pieces

Today, Spanish horror cinema is very much on the map. Films such as The Devil’s Backbone, Thesis, Rec, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Orphanage have seeped into mainstream consciousness. However, back when Juan Piquer Simon’s Pieces was released in 1982, Spain was a relative unknown in genre cinema. Which was a shame, as there were some great movies like Symptoms, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie and Tombs of the Blind Dead. Pieces not only opened-up a market for what was to follow, it allowed the spotlight to shine on what came before.

After the police mistakenly assume that a 10-year old boy had nothing to do with his mother’s bloody murder, he is sent to live with his aunt. Forty years later, a series of gruesome killings involving a chainsaw are taking place at a college. Lt. Bracken (Christopher George) and Sgt. Holden (Frank Braña) are called in to investigate. They believe it’s someone on campus, falling-on the Dean (Edmund Purdom), an anatomy teacher (Jack Taylor) and the groundsman (Paul Smith). A peculiarity of the murders is that the killer appears to be collecting body parts.

Pieces is a highly derivative film. It takes all the best bits of Spanish horror and throws them liberally at the screen. It has a truly awful dub, with some of the dialogue so bad that it actually changes the tone of certain scenes. However, if you watch the Spanish director’s cut, which is included in the package, then it becomes a very different beast. It’s very well-made, and whilst it encapsulates much of European exploitation films, the plot itself is very cleverly conceived. Pieces is a defining moment in Spanish horror cinema which acts as a showcase as well as a calling card for what was to follow.

Limited Edition Contents:

  • Brand new 4K transfer from the original camera negative
  • Two versions of the feature: Pieces, the US theatrical version, and Mil Gritos Tiene La Noche, the original uncensored director’s cut, presented in Spanish with original score by Librado Pastor [Blu-ray exclusive]
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original English and Spanish Mono Audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • 5.1 Vine Theater Experience
  • Alternate Re-score by composer Umberto
  • Brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues
  • It’s Exactly What You Think It Is! – brand new featurette offering up an appreciation of Pieces by various filmmaker fans
  • Brand new interview with art director Gonzalo Gonzalo
  • Pieces of Juan – a career-spanning interview with director Juan Piquer Simón
  • The Reddest Herring – extensive interview with actor Paul Smith, including a discussion of Pieces
  • Audio Interview with producer Steve Minasian
  • Image Galleries
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Marc Schoenbach
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Michael Gingold
  • Soundtrack CD featuring the entire original score

Pieces is released on dual format DVD and Blu-Ray by Arrow Video on Monday.

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