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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Pieces" or "Mil gritos tiene la noche" or "Le sadique à la tronçonneuse" or "Le cri du cobra" or "Chainsaw Devil" )

 

directed by Juan Piquer Simon
Spain/USA 1982

 

In 1942, a young boy butchers his mother with an axe after she catches him assembling a puzzle of a naked woman. Forty years later, the now-grown killer stalks coeds at a Boston college with a chainsaw to assemble his very own girl to be fitted in his bloodstained mother's dress and shoes. The first victim is decapitated in broad daylight, but the student body is too preoccupied "smoking pot and fucking on a waterbed" to notice. The suspects include the cock-eyed, chainsaw-wielding gardener Willard (Paul L. Smith, POPEYE), the biology teacher Professor Brown (Jack Taylor, THE GHOST GALLEON), and the Dean (Edmund Purdom, THE EGYPTIAN); since the main action is set "Forty Years Later" it really narrows down the viable suspects. Tennis pro/police officer Mary Riggs (Lynda Day George, MORTUARY) infiltrates the campus as the new tennis teacher while Lieutenant Bracken (Christopher George, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD) and Sergeant Holden (Frank Braña, FABULOUS JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH) mill about. Rather than assigning Riggs to keep an eye on possible witness Kendall (Ian Sera, THE POD PEOPLE), Bracken asks Kendall to keep an eye on Mary. Kendall and Mary contend with sleepwalking karate teachers, sleeping partners who ask to be gagged, and Willard's glare, but the "lousy bastard" of a killer manages to accumulate more "pieces" to his puzzle without getting caught, and it seems that Mary may be next. Although the more popular tagline for the film is "You don't have to go to Texas for a chainsaw massacre," the film's alternate tagline "PIECES - It's exactly what you think it is" seems a better match in tone for the stupefying experience that will greet first-time viewers. It isn't "Exactly what you think it is" but it attempts to give you exactly what you're thinking. There's nudity and gore aplenty. The effects are not always convincing but they are executed with gusto. Utterly absurd scenes are played completely straight (Bracken asks Brown's professional opinion as to whether the bloody, gristly chainsaw at a crime scene could have been used to dismember the victim). Reportedly, Lynda Day George dislikes the film (one wonders whether this has to do with the graphic gore, or the popularity of her oft-quoted "bastard" line). Purdom had already acted in the Dick Randall productions THE DEVIL'S LOVER, FRANKENSTEIN'S CASTLE OF FREAKS, and INVADERS OF THE LOST GOLD and would get his chance to direct with the Santa slasher DON'T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS for Randall and Steve Minasian (one of the FRIDAY THE 13TH series investors). Randall and Minasian also produced the slasher SLAUGHTER HIGH. The Spanish version featured a mostly original score by Librado Pastor (he recycled at least one cue from his score for Carlos Puerto's SATAN'S BLOOD, which was produced by Simon) more appropriate to a silent film. The English dub was produced in Rome and replaced the music cues with library tracks from the CAM library (including Stelvio Cipriani's cues for Pier Carpi's RING OF DARKNESS as well as some cues by Carlo Maria Cordio from ANTHROPOPHAGUS 2) and also featured the infectious, anonymous disco song "Running Around" for the totally eighties aerobics class scene.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 23 September 1983 (USA)

Reviews                                                                                More Reviews                                                                           DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL vs. Grindhouse Releasing (Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) Grindhouse Releasing (Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

Grindhouse Releasing
Region 0 - NTSC
Grindhouse Releasing
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Arrow
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:21:54 (4% PAL speedup) 1:25:21 1:25:32.168 / Director's Cut 1:26:52.207 1:25:27.247 / Director's Cut 1:26:45.450
Video

1.65:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.22 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.65:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.39 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 45,903,558,065 bytes

Total Bitrate:28.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC

Theatrical Size: 23,362,781,184 bytes

Director's Cut: 20,235,884,544 bytes

Disc Size: 49,370,752,754 bytes

Total Bitrate:29.00 Mbps / 25.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC

Theatrical Size: 23,848,572,288 bytes

Director's Cut: 18,914,571,648 bytes

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Video

 

Bitrate:

 

Grindhouse Releasing (Deluxe Edition)

 

Bitrate:

 

Grindhouse Releasing Theatrical Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

 

Grindhouse Releasing Director's Cut Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Theatrical Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Director's Cut Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Theatrical:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1778 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1778 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 1560 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1560 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2091 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2091 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB

Director's Cut:

DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 1526 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1526 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

Theatrical:

LPCM Audio English 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio Spanish 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Music Rescore :

LPCM Audio Undetermined 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Director's Cut:

LPCM Audio Spanish 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles English, none English, none English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.65:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by star Jack Taylor (16:9; 0:24)
• Audio Commentary with Fangoria magazine’s Tony Timpone, moderated by Calum Waddell
• Pieces of Jack: Interview with Jack Taylor (16:9; 17:54)
• Pieces of Deconstruction: Looking Back at a Grindhouse Gorefest – Hostel producer Scott Spiegel,
• filmmaker Howard S. Berger, critic Michael Gingold and horror historian Santos Ellin Jr. reflect on
• PIECES (16:9; 23:14)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 0:30)
• Liner Notes Booklet by NIGHTMARE USA author Stephen Thrower
• Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
• Double-sided fold-out artwork poster

DVD Release Date: 5 September 2011
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Grindhouse Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.65:1

Edition Details:
• DISC 1:
• Spanish Opening Sequence (16:9; 5:38)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 0:30)
• The Vine Theater Experience (audience track in Dolby Digital 5.1)
• The Vine Theatre Experience Introduction (4:3; 1:52)
• Easter Egg: Introduction by Eli Roth (16:9; 3:50)
• DISC 2:
• Pieces Of Piquer: interview with director Juan Piquer (55:21)
• Paul Smith: The Reddest Herring: interview with Paul L. Smith (57:41)
• Still Galleries, Liner Notes Booklet by Chas Balun
• Trailers for CAT IN THE BRAIN, THE BEYOND, CANNIBAL FEROX, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD,
• THE TOUGH ONES, MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE, GONE WITH THE POPE, SCUM OF THE EARTH, AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN I
• AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL, DEATH GAME, FAMILY ENFORCER, ICE HOUSE, and MAD RON'S PREVUE'S FROM
• HELL
• Easter Egg: continuation of Juan Piquer Simon still gallery of PIECES

 

DVD Release Date: 28 October 2008
Amaray

Chapters 33

Release Information:
Studio: Grindhouse Releasing

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Disc Size: 45,903,558,065 bytes

Total Bitrate:28.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC

Theatrical Size: 23,362,781,184 bytes

Director's Cut: 20,235,884,544 bytes

 

Edition Details:

• TWO complete versions of this shocking gore classic
• PIECES (83 minutes) - the original, unrated U.S. theatrical version, presented in English
• MIL GRITOS TIENE LA NOCHE (86 minutes) - the original uncensored director's cut, presented in Spanish with original score by Librado Pastor
• Spectacular new 4K transfers - scanned from the original camera negative
• Brand new audio commentary by star Jack Taylor
• Trailer (:32)

Blu-ray 2
• In-depth interviews with director Juan Piquer Simón (55:25) and genre superstar Paul L. Smith (57:46) - and Steve Minasian (2:59)
• 42nd STREET MEMORIES - all-new feature-length documentary containing interviews with Sam Sherman, Bill Lustig, Larry Cohen, Frank Henenlotter, Buddy Giovinazzo, Jeff Lieberman, John Skipp, Lynn Lowry, Terry Levene, and many other  exploitation icons (1:21:47)
• Extensive gallery of stills and poster art
• Exhaustive filmographies
 

• Liner notes by legendary horror journalist Chas. Balun and Rick Sullivan
• BONUS CD - original soundtrack - newly remastered from the original studio tapes
• Beautiful embossed slipcover

 

 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 1st, 2016
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters 36 (both)

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

Disc Size: 49,370,752,754 bytes

Total Bitrate:29.00 Mbps / 25.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC

Theatrical Size: 23,848,572,288 bytes

Director's Cut: 18,914,571,648 bytes

 

Edition Details:
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]
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 (15:04)
Brand new interview with art director Gonzalo Gonzalo (28:15)
Pieces of Juan a career-spanning interview with director Juan Piquer Simón (55:28)

Falling to Pieces - Sergio Blasco discusses friendship with Piquer Simón (8:51)
The Reddest Herring extensive interview with actor Paul Smith, including a discussion of Pieces (57:45)
Audio Interview with producer Steve Minasian (2:58)
Image Galleries
Theatrical Trailer (0:31 Re-Release - 0:40)
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

 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 27th, 2017
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 12 + 12

 

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray March 2017: Both Blu-rays take advantage of a 4K restoration and both include the 87-minute, Mil gritos tiene la noche Director's Cut version, in Spanish with original score by Librado Pastor - which is also of the of very similar image quality as the theatrical for each package. The Blu-rays compare favorably (Arrow is only one disc, the second being the CD) looking almost the exact same but the Arrow skin tones a shade warmer, colors slightly tweaked and it looks equally as strong.

Despite Arrow using linear PCM to Grindhouse's DTS-HD Master - their audio quality isn't much different although for the theatrical feature their mono track (with library score by CAM) is only 16-bit sounding a bit more hollow. Arrow include other audio options with a 5.1 surround 'Vine Theater Experience' and alternate re-score by composer Umberto plus the Spanish mono track option on the theatrical (score by Librado Pastor)!

Arrow offer a new audio commentary with the 4-person team of The Hysteria Continues, which I have yet to fully indulge but it sounds interesting. It's Exactly What You Think It Is! is a brand new 1/4 hour featurette offering up an appreciation of Pieces by various filmmaker fans. There is a new, 28-minute, interview with art director Gonzalo Gonzalo, Pieces of Juan runs 55-minutesd and is a career-spanning interview with director Juan Piquer Simón, himself proving plenty of detail on his vision. Falling to Pieces - Sergio Blasco discusses friendship with Piquer Simón for shy of 9-minutes. The Reddest Herring runs almost an hour and is an extensive interview with actor Paul Smith, including a discussion of Pieces. We get a short audio-only interview with producer Steve Minasian, short theatrical and re-release trailers and some image galleries (Production Stills, Publicity Material, Video Releases, 'Bits and Pieces' and Juan Piquer still show.) The package itself has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Marc Schoenbach and a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Michael Gingold. It includes a soundtrack CD featuring the entire original score.

Both are excellent packages but have some tweaks in the supplements that may swing you one way or the other if the price isn't the determining factor. The Arrow is likewise recommended as a complete Blu-ray experience of this strangely addictively exploitive slasher effort.  

***

ADDITION: Grindhouse Releasing (3-disc) - Region FREE - Blu-ray February 16': The new 1080P Grindhouse transfer is a significant upgrade from the SDs. Colors are richer and flesh tones warmer. The aspect ratio is 1.66:1 and seems to lose a shade of information on the left side - and gain a sliver on the right and top edges when compared to the DVDs. The included, 87-minute, Mil gritos tiene la noche Director's Cut version is exactly the same image quality as the theatrical (but not seamlessly-branched) - both 28 Mbps and they share the first Blu-ray disc (dual-layered) with a trailer - the rest of the extras are on a second, single-layered, Blu-ray disc. The HD is sharper, better contrast but I found the colors the most notable improvement. It looks excellent in-motion. These are cited as 'new 4K transfers - scanned from the original camera negative'. Impressive.

The films can be heard in either DTS-HD Master mono English at 1778 kbps (24-bit) or a similarly robust Spanish-language transfer (16-bit) plus the Theatrical version offers the options of a 5.1 audio option - the Vine Theater Experience! or a music rescore by Umberto. Another excellent score (US versions) by Stelvio Cipriani (The Night Child, Rabid Dogs, The Lickerish Quartet, tidbits on Amer) with credit for Carlo Maria Cordio Librado Pastor (as CAM). On the Director's Cut the score is by Librado Pastor. There are optional English subtitles on both versions. The Blu-ray disc is region FREE.

Extras add a new, revealing, commentary by Jack Taylor and most of the important extras from the 2008 DVD including the, almost hour long, Juan Piquer Simón and Paul L. Smith interviews, galleries etc. but many will enjoy the new 1-hour 20-minute, 2015,  42nd Street Memories: The Rise and Fall of America's Most Notorious Street documentary directed by Calum Waddell. It is the story behind the rise and fall of New York's 42nd Street. The cinemas, the films, the people, the crime and the rebirth of the block as "New 42nd Street" and its colorful history. It has Joe Dante, Buddy Giovinazzo, Veronica Hart, Lloyd Kaufman and many others.

The case includes a bonus CD of the original soundtrack - newly remastered from the original studio tapes, liner notes by legendary horror journalist Chas. Balun and Rick Sullivan and an embossed slipcover.

Quite the amazing Blu-ray package of one of the more polished and better realized exploitation gem of the early 80s - if only they were all this good! The film is enjoyable on a few levels - with the gratuitous violence reaching amusing levels but Christopher and Lynda Day George add some class. One of the purest of the genre and the Blu-ray is brilliant. A very strong recommendation! 

***

ON THE DVDs: Arrow Video's transfer of PIECES appears to be derived from the same master as the Grindhouse edition, but the compression is of the Arrow transfer is noisier (it may be acceptable to some viewers, but those who have emailed asking if the Arrow is a significant upgrade will be disappointed).

Like the Grindhouse release, Arrow includes both the English and Spanish audio tracks with optional English subtitles. Besides the scoring, the Spanish opening sequence differs from the American one in that the credits appear during the opening scene on black. The Grindhouse edition handled this by using branching to include one sequence or the other depending on which language track was chosen. Arrow, on the other hand, have retained the English version opening and have edited the Spanish track to conform to the opening. This is very well-executed. Audio tracks sound comparable to the Grindhouse disc (which also offers the Spanish opening sequence as a standalone extra). Both discs utilize the same "cannot be shown" trailer (on the Grindhouse disc, there is a second, gory 30-second trailer that I found by looking through the individual titlesets (VTS 9) on my computer's media player, but I could not find the Easter Egg link for it in the disc's menus).

The main extra on the Arrow is an audio commentary by Fangoria editor emeritus Tony Timpone. It is not scene-specific and they occasionally talk over highlights, but we learn about as much about Timpone (one of the magazine editors thrown to the wolves as a guest at various conservative talk shows looking for an easy target on the subject of violence and misogyny in horror films) as we do about PIECES and other slashers that hit 42nd street in the eighties. We also learn that the film was offered to Terry Levene of Aquarius Releasing (THE BEYOND/ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST/CANNIBAL FEROX) but he turned it down because he thought it was terrible. Although slashers were probably the only horror item Edward L. Montoro's Film Ventures International (BEYOND THE DOOR) were not distributing, Montoro picked up PIECES for its camp value. The killer's image was also more inspired by the comic book character The Shadow than any of Dario Argento's assailants. The Arrow disc also features a pleasant interview with Jack Taylor (interestingly, he says he played the role straight because he did not realize it was supposed to be spoofy or campy). "Pieces of Deconstruction" features reflections on the film from horror filmmakers and critics. The collector's booklet also includes writing by Stephen Thrower (whose book NIGHTMARE USA is highly recommended) but it was not provided for review.

Grindhouse's 2-disc set extras are a bit more focused and feature director Juan Piquer Simon (who died in January of this year) and a long interview with Paul Smith. The optional Vine Theater Experience track (in 5.1) is not a bad way to watch the movie - although it might have been better if the film's mono soundtrack had been placed in the center channel so we could hear it as clearly as the audience). Simon gives an entertaining interview (he also lets us in on how the film's goriest effect was created). Like Taylor's interview on the Arrow disc, Smith's interview is more career-centric. Simon also gets to show off some pieces props (including the puzzle). Some trailers and an audio interview with co-producer Steve Minasian are hidden in the filmographies.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Grindhouse Releasing (Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

 

 

Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

Arrow - Region 'B' Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Grindhouse Releasing (Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Arrow (Spanish - DC) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - FOURTH

5) Arrow (Theatrical) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

Subtitle sample


1) Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Grindhouse Releasing (Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Grindhouse Releasing (Theatrical) - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Grindhouse Releasing (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Arrow (Theatrical) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Grindhouse Releasing (Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Arrow (Theatrical) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow (Theatrical) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Grindhouse Releasing (Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Grindhouse Releasing (Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Grindhouse Releasing (Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Grindhouse Releasing (Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

Grindhouse Releasing
Region 0 - NTSC
Grindhouse Releasing
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Arrow
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

 




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