The majority of the film is set on a Boston college campus, where a chainsaw killer brutally slashes young ladies to bits. There is absolutely no need to travel to Texas to engage in a chainsaw massacre! The movie’s tagline, “Pieces” (Spanish: “Mil gritos tiene la Noche”), capitalizes on the early 1980s American slasher trend.
Before being given to Spanish director Juan Piquer Simón, who filmed the film in Spain with a cast that was mostly composed of Americans, the script was written by Italian Joe D’Amato and American Dick Randall. The movie premiered on August 23, 1982, in Spain. Then, on October 14, 1983, it was made available in the US in Los Angeles.
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Pieces? Or the Boston chainsaw massacre?
The film starts out as a regular family film before abruptly changing course. Timmy, a 10-year-old boy, is pictured having fun in his room, but his mother discovers him occupied with a puzzle of a naked woman. After this, the movie abruptly changes course as the child’s mother begins striking him with a stick and screaming hysterically at him. She compares him to his father, foreshadowing a past of infidelity between the parents.
She commands him to get rid of the puzzle, and when he returns, he kills her with an ax before hacksawing her body to pieces. When the police show up, Timmy hides inside a wardrobe and pretends to be a victim of the assault. Timmy is then taken to live with his aunt after the police believe his version of the crime.
Four decades later, a man in a black cloak opens a box containing the bloodied clothes and a portrait of Timmy’s mother. Meanwhile, a girl skating on the streets is shown crashing through a glass, triggering flashbacks of Timmy’s mother smashing his bedroom mirror. The man in the dark clothing also starts assembling the bloody jigsaw puzzle after taking it out of its box. The scene cuts to a young girl who, while studying on campus, is being stalked by a man in a black cloak.
Suddenly, she is distracted by the sound of a chainsaw being used to cut bushes nearby by the same man stalking her. She asks if she should leave and find a quieter place, and the man replies that he won’t be long. Out of nowhere, the man attacks the girl with the chainsaw and decapitates her. In the meantime, Lt. Bracken and his partner, Sgt. Holden are assigned to investigate the murderer, who then inform the dean that they suspect the murderer to be someone from the staff, as they believe it’s an inside job.
We are introduced to Prof. Brown, mocked by a group of students led by a young girl who tries to intimidate him by asking him about pectorals and how her friends tease her by saying hers are funny, hinting at the professor’s sexuality. Professor Brown visits the dean’s office, where he is instructed to give the detectives a tour of the campus. Outside, the groundskeeper, Willard, is chopping branches when he sees two students having sex. Once again, the killer starts to build the puzzle, symbolizing another killing.
Elsewhere, in the library, a girl named Jenny flirts with another student named Kendall and invites him to meet her in the swimming pool room by handing him a note. Kendall naively throws the paper toward the bin, but it lands outside, where it is picked up by a shadowy figure in the same black cloak as earlier. Later, in the pool room, Jenny strips her clothes to nothing but a bikini bottom and takes a dip in the pool. She hears the door open but doesn’t bother checking as she expects Kendall to join her.
But as it turns out, it’s not Kendall, but the man in the black cloak who chokes Jenny with a skimmer pulls her out of the pool and slashes her body like the other victims. He returns to his apartment with his severed torso of Jenny. He opens a freezer where he stores the severed body parts of his victims. He is building his own puzzle, just like the picture puzzle. Kendall receives a letter from the dean’s office back at the library, and the scene cuts to the killer carrying severed body parts of Jenny.
Later that same evening, Willard goes to the pool room and finds the blood-covered chainsaw and the remains of Jenny’s severed body. Looking for Jenny in the pool room, Kendall sees Willard and flees the scene. Willard chases after him, mistaking him for the killer, but is met by the police, who arrest Willard, thinking he’s the killer. The police summon Professor Brown to inspect if this victim was also killed using a chainsaw.
The next day, the police question the dean, his assistant, and Kendall and inform the dean about two cops who have been placed on the campus to keep an eye on everyone. Lt. Bracken asks Kendall to visit him later to assist the police in identifying the murderer.
That evening, the killer stalks an aerobics class full of young women. A Boston Globe reporter, Sylvia Costa, goes to meet Lt. Bracken to find out about the rumors surrounding a maniac running loose on the campus. Meanwhile, Kendall and the audience are introduced to Mary Riggs, a former tennis player-turned undercover cop. Bracken asks Kendall to watch Mary and help her in any way she needs in order to get to the killer.
Mary takes her new job, where she participates in a tennis match against a student named Suzie, after which she meets the dean, who reveals to her that he’s already aware of her being an undercover cop, as the Lt. had already informed him earlier. The killer adds pieces to the puzzle where he adds two arms, indicating he looks to add two arms to his collection that evening.
He follows one of the aerobics girls from earlier to the elevator, where the girl seems to identify him and proceeds to enter the elevator with him, not knowing her fate. The killer chops her arms and leaves her battered in the elevator, where Kendall and two cops find her after hearing her scream. One of the cops throws up after seeing the girl’s battered body. Kendall orders the cop to notify the Lt. as soon as possible.
When the Lt. arrives, Kendall informs him that the girl is still alive, and they can now get to the killer as she’s seen him. To the Lt.’s surprise, Professor Brown comes down the stairs. Seeing him, the Lt. asks Brown where he came from. Brown declares he was in the library upstairs. The doctor exits the elevator with the girl’s body and informs Bracken that the girl did not survive.
Later that night, Kendall notices a dark figure outside his window while having sex with a girl. The figure is revealed to be Mary, surveying the campus, who is confronted by a Kung Fu instructor. Mary takes out her gun but is knocked to the ground by the master. Kendall comes to Mary’s defense but is shocked to discover his Kung Fu teacher, who tells him he got suspicious after seeing Mary lurking on the campus. Unknown to the three, the killer stalks the trio from the bushes. The three leave the spot, with Kendall offering to drop Mary off at home, and she goes with him.
After they leave, Sylvia seems to be snooping around the campus, looking for clues or evidence, when she realizes someone is observing her. She enters a building where the killer stalks her before stabbing her to death on the water bed. Kendall and Mary reach her home, where he tries to make a move on her, but she brushes him away after giving him a kiss.
The next day on campus, Suzie, one of Mary’s students, is distracted by the loud music from the speakers while practicing. She takes a shower in the locker room after being diverted by the music, not realizing she was being set up by the killer. Kendall and Mary also stall towards the tennis grounds and wonder why loud music is playing from the speakers. Suzie emerges from the shower in her towel and starts dressing when someone with a chainsaw begins chasing her. She starts fleeing the killer but cannot exit the locker room as it’s locked.
She somehow manages to hide inside a bathroom stall with no place to go, but the killer saws through the door with the chainsaw and slashes Suzie in half as she pees herself. Kendall and Mary come across Willard and enquire about the music, to which Willard says he’s got no idea.
The three of them focus on turning the music off while the killer flees with Suzie’s legs. Mary and Willard head to the control room. At the same time, Kendall goes into the locker room, where he discovers the gory, mangled body with both of her legs severed inside the locker.
Sometime later, Mary comes across Suzie’s body and cannot help but be unsettled by the view. Back at the police station, Bracken and Holden grow more frustrated with the number of victims increasing. The killer goes back to his apartment, where he completes his human puzzle by adding Suzie’s legs. Mary meets Professor Brown, suspecting him to be the killer, and finds some information.
Kendall goes to Holden, presenting his theory of the killer being someone from the staff as he knows when to strike, avoiding the police. The pair look into every staff member’s past files when they find something intriguing about the Dean’s past. They learn that Dean’s mother was murdered when he was a little boy by a man who had vanished and had previously changed his name.
They realize that the Dean must enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles since he has been using the parts of the deceased girls to build his own human jigsaw puzzle. While this is going on, Mary stops by the Dean’s office, where he takes her back to his campus apartment. Mary is drugged by the Dean, and he hatches a plot to kill her so he can saw off her feet to finish his human jigsaw puzzle.
The Dean was forced to flee as Kendall, Holden, and Bracken barged into his flat. The drug temporarily paralyzed Mary, who is seen seated on the couch. Mary keeps pointing towards the curtain, indicating the Dean is hidden behind, but everyone seems to miss the hint. The Dean emerges from behind the curtain and attacks after the police leave Kendall alone. The Dean is shot by Bracken when he returns, and he dies.
After that, Holden accidentally stumbles into Dean’s human jigsaw piece when he leans on a bookcase. It twists around, dropping the assembled body over Kendall. Kendall grabs his jacket as Bracken, Holden, Mary, and the rest of the group get ready to leave the site as the police remove Dean’s body from the scene in a corpse bag. As if by magic, the human jigsaw corpse suddenly springs to life and vividly castrates Kendall by grabbing his crotch and squeezing.
The slasher film “Pieces” is incredibly entertaining. It has a flawless exploitation background. Dumb, but lots of fun. Even though Pieces has its faults, it offers plenty of blood and guts for a low-budget horror film. Gore-hounds won’t be disappointed by this bizarre and unorthodox 1980s slasher, which is well-known for being on the UK’s video nasty list.
Beautiful college girls are being brutally murdered and dismembered at a college in the Boston, Massachusetts area so that the killer can use their body parts to assemble a human jigsaw puzzle. Pieces is a fantastic example of trashy grindhouse entertainment, featuring a ton of nudity and impressive modern gore, including Bruce Lee making a cameo appearance and Bluto as the groundskeeper from the Robin Williams live-action Popeye movie.
On the campus of a Boston college, girl students are being targeted by an unknown killer who is using their body parts to piece together a human jigsaw puzzle.