(For 80s gore-heads, Bean Town is the setting for the fairly pedestrian slasher, Night School, filmed in the city’s Beacon Hill neighbourhood).
Like other slasher masterpieces from the era, Pieces whets appetites with a delicious prologue and a nudie puzzle-obsessed kid who wastes his mommy all in the first five minutes.
When the authorities arrive, no need for any further forensic investigation, as they just take the word of the child.
Fast forward into adulthood with the nature-nurture problem solved, and Timmy is back to his murderin’ ways, attacking coeds on a campus in a string of set pieces that are more bush than Ivy league.
Pieces then lives up to (or down to) its name depending on one’s perspective, with a couple of whiz-bang gruesome chainsaw killings, and a Red Herring in the form of a leering, cross-eyed college groundskeeper, Willard (such is the level of sedateness / quietude at this particular institute of higher learning that the school’s Dean himself, rather than an underling, is responsible for hiring the gardener and negotiating his contract!)
The real hilarity ensues when genre stalwart Christopher George (City of the Living Dead/Grizzly/Graduation Day) wanders in as law enforcement, with an oft-repeated gag about him needing a cigarette lighter that is as dead in the water as this pic’s vics. Rather than put out a notice to the study body that there are student bodies piling up, he hatches a plan to have one of his colleagues go undercover as a varsity tennis coach! (played by Linda Day, real-life missus to Mr. George).
Suffice it to say, there’s a lot to “love” about the embarrassing strokes (the cast members weren’t quite adept at racket sports). The crowd’s reaction to the matches, and women who the Williams sisters could best with just their backhands, is priceless.
Still, as some wag on Instagram put it, this is the finest Italian, Spanish, Puerto Rican production they’d ever seen! A total blast.
*** (out of 5)