Pieces is a gory, ridiculous horror movie from 1983. We don’t really get to know any of the characters well enough to care about them. The plot is all over the place. However, the kills and the suspense of said kills are fantastic. Pieces pulls from great horror movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween to create an exciting film.
While it doesn’t live up to any of these great horror films, Pieces is a lot of fun. It pays homage to the greats of horror while becoming something uniquely its own.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Chainsaws are OP in horror movies. How do you fight against something with that much power? It raises the stakes of any horror movie it appears in. When it famously appeared in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it terrified audiences. Since then, the chainsaw has been used in hundreds of horror movies following. Pieces is just one of these horror movies.
Pieces doesn’t necessarily have the same dark atmosphere that Texas had. Though the kills are just as gory, the setting of a college campus makes the setting less intimidating and bleak. Pieces is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre goes to college, completely with random sexcapades and the drama that comes with them.
The similarities end with the murder weapon. While Texas had a family of deranged killers, Pieces has just one madman. We don’t know who the killer is until the end, making Pieces a mystery as well as a thrilling horror film. In this way, it differs itself from the greatness of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Pieces takes the masked killer aspect from Halloween to create a similar terrifying atmosphere. Though we have our suspicions of who the killer is, we are never one hundred percent sure until the murderer, the Dean of the college, reveals themselves. The suspense of not knowing puts the audience on edge for the duration of the film.
The murderer in Pieces has a similar background to Michael Myers as well. The two were both troubled children who murdered close family members. However, the murderer in Pieces was never caught for his crime, blaming the act of violence on a random assailant. Myers, on the other hand, pays the price for his crimes in jail; the day he is released is the day he wreaks havoc on his hometown.
The killers in both movies seem to have differing motivations. Myers kills his victims with no clear sense of why, though he does seem to exhibit a sense of jealousy. The Dean also seems to have no clear motivation, though each kill he perpetrates does add to a grisly piece of artwork; he slices apart each of his victims to add to a disgusting mannequin of a woman.
Almost every horror movie is influenced by Alfred Hitchcock in some way. Whether it’s the suspense or the jump scares or the lighting or the cinematography, it’s hard not to be influenced by the Master of Suspense. Hitchcock pioneered filming techniques and story ideas that pervade film history.
In the case of Pieces, one is reminded of the iconic shower scene in Psycho. There’s a scene that’s basically a modern version of said scene. The Dean chases a college girl through the locker room on campus. The chase ends with the Dean cornering the girl in a shower stall, slicing her up succinctly with the chainsaw.
While definitely not as iconic as Psycho’s shower murder scene, it’s a fun tribute to it. Pieces has a similar alluring, disturbing thrill to Psycho. Pieces isn’t nearly as entrancing as Hitchcock’s pinnacle, but it’s still a fun way to kill an hour and a half (pun intended).
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