Horror, Slasher

Pieces (1982)

Comments Off on Pieces (1982) 06 March 2016

Pieces BD

Studio: Grindhouse Releasing

Theatrical Release: September 23, 1983 (USA) 

Blu Ray Release: March 1, 2016

Director: Juan Piquer Simon

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

I had already reviewed Grindhouse’s DVD release of Pieces several years ago which you can check out here.

So, I am going to skip past the synopsis and get right to the blu ray release of this cult classic. Simply put: it’s time to update as Grindhouse’s release of Pieces may be ranked as one the best blu ray releases of 2016 by the end of the year.

Grindhouse Releasing did one hell of a job in remastering the picture of Pieces. I was fairly impressed by their DVD release in 2008 but this new transfer blows it away. The 1:66:1 presentation of Pieces is quite remarkable. The picture is much brighter and clearer than ever before however it’s not overdone or bright to the point that detail cannot be made out. In fact one can see the textures in people’s clothing or skin features so clearly it’s quite amazing. And the colors just pop right out; the blue sky, the green campus grass and the red blood make this low budget gorefest actually looks gore-geous! Aside from the dated hair styles and clothing, one could think this film was made now and not 35 years ago. The 2.0 DTS sound mix seems to sound the same, at least to my ears. I didn’t notice any significant change from the past DVD. The dialog can easily be heard and the sound effects like the buzzing of the chainsaw are rather loud. This may be the best Pieces will ever look or sound and that is just fine. It’s hard to imagine this movie looking any better than it is.

This three disc set is so loaded with extra features that it will take an entire day just to get through it all. The main highlight of the extras is the alternate Spanish cut of Pieces. I never knew this even existed and while there isn’t too much of a difference, it is nice to have included on this set. The biggest difference is the opening credits with the Spanish version intercutting with the opening prolog of the boy chopping up his mother. I actually prefer the American version in that aspect but this was still nice to see. Cutaways of the killer putting together the puzzle are also longer. There is also a little bit of extra dialog thrown about here and there, the one I picked up of course was a longer sequence of the infamous “kung fu professor” scene, still maybe one of the strangest and funniest moments in the entire film. While not a huge difference, the Spanish version is still a treat to watch.

The blu ray also has a new audio commentary track by co-star Jack Taylor who is often times so soft spoken that I found it to hard to hear what he was saying. Because he isn’t in the film as much as Christopher George, Edmund Purdom, or Paul L. Smith who have all since passed away, Taylor speaks more about his film career and working with various actors on certain films (he has nothing but praise for Arnold Schwarzenegger who he worked with on Conan the Barbarian as Taylor played the gay priest who Conan beats up for his clothes). It’s a mediocre commentary and one where I doubt I’ll listen to ever again. But that’s not all, there is also a commentary track called The Vine Experience. This track was taken at a revival house several years ago with fans of the film screaming, laughing and yelling comments at the screen as the movie played. This too is an interesting commentary track as there are long moments of silence in between rowdy and obnoxious screaming from the crowd.

There are some interviews with the late Paul Smith and director Juan Piquer Simon that go on for a rather long time (Smith’s interview is also another “career interview” as he speaks about not only Pieces but films like Midnight Express, Popeye, and Crimewave). Not only is the trailer for Pieces on this blu ray but also trailers for all of the films put out by Grindhouse Releasing such as Cannibal Ferox, Gone With the Pope, The Swimmer, and Cannibal Holocaust.

42nd Street Memories is a great feature length documentary about the history of the 42nd Street theaters in NYC. While I have heard many stories about these cinemas, what makes this even more interesting are the amount of celebrities that speak about their own experiences such as Frank Hennenlotter, Larry Cohen, Joe Dante, William Lustig, Debbie Rochon, Lloyd Kaufman, Jeff Lieberman, and 42nd Street Pete himself who has some of the wildest and strangest stories to tell. He doesn’t hold back either and his blunt remarks are some of the documentary’s best moments. Watching this doc made me long for the glorious days of grindhouse cinema where movie theaters just lined the streets of NY showing various genres of films like westerns, horror, European films, martial arts, and of course horror.

There is also a third disc which contains the soundtrack to Pieces! For those who are interested in the music of this bloody feature, here’s your chance to get your hands on this CD. I instantly copied this on to my ipod and have listened to it on my way to and from work. Rounding out the extras is a linear notes booklet and with the first 3,000 units sold, there will be a mini puzzle from the movie inside the blu ray sleeve. While this is particularly odd, it makes for a great promotion “piece”.

There is a rumor that Grindhouse Releasing will be putting their catalog DVD titles on blu ray and then throwing in the towel once they are through. I hope this is a nasty rumor as it would be a shame to lose such a fantastic company who has given fans of the genre some of the best HD releases yet. I implore each and every one of you to purchase this 3 disc set immediately, even purchasing it from their actual site so the money goes straight to them. Show your appreciation and love to Grindhouse Releasing – buy the blu ray of Pieces as this is one blu ray that should be on every horror fans shelf.

Movie Rating: ★★★★☆

Blu Ray Rating: ★★★★★

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