(Mil Gritos Tiene La Noche) 1982
Directed by Juan Piquer Simón, Starring Jack Taylor, Christopher George, Lynda
Day George, Frank Braña and Paul Smith. Arrow 3 disc Blu-ray, DVD and CD.
continue to satisfy our hunger for classic slasher movies with their latest
release "Pieces" (1982), a classic slice of sickening nostalgia which emerged during
the height of the video nasty era.
Boston college campus is being terrorised by a black-clad maniac who collects
body parts from his unfortunate co-ed victims. As the corpses (and red
herrings) begin to pile up, can Professor Brown (genre veteran Jack Taylor)
unmask the murderer before his morbid puzzle is complete?
of the genre should be incredibly pleased with the treatment given to this
three disc collector’s edition. Let’s be clear from the outset, “Pieces” is not
the best directed movie you’ll ever see. Director Juan Piquer Simón, a native
of Valencia, Spain, began his career working in advertising; he was a marketing
man at heart. However, it’s a background that taught him everything regarding
exploitation. Because of his career, Simón arguably constructed his films
around the shock element, the all-important ‘money shots’ that fed his
audience. Simón almost regarded plot and narrative as secondary, and instead
focused on the essential elements, which in this case were the film’s
outrageously gory set pieces.
of the highlights of Arrow’s collection is the inclusion of the original
uncensored cut of the film, Mil Gritos
Tiene La Noche. It’s not, of course, because it is simply uncensored or
because the gore factor is increased by a notch or two. It is purely because
the original Spanish language version stands up far better than its U.S. dubbed
counterpart which suffers quite dreadfully in translation. Thankfully, Arrow
has intelligently covered all corners by including both versions of the film
and allowing for the individual’s preference.
terms of quality, the film benefits hugely from a brand new restoration in
glorious 4K. Colours are rich and vibrant and look exceptionally good for a
film of its age and in consideration of its tight production budget. The audio
tracks (presented in original English and Spanish mono) are also clear and
sharp with no evidence of hiss or distortion.
deep into this collection reveals an awful lot of treats, especially in the
audio department. The inclusion of Mil
Gritos Tiene La Noche, which is exclusive to the Blu-ray, also features the
original score by Librado Pastor. There is also an option to hear an
alternative music only re-score by composer Umberto. Switching to “Pieces” (the
U.S. version) enables you to experience an entirely different score consisting
of various composers such as Stelvio Cipriani and Carlo Maria Cordio. There is
also a separate audio CD included within this package containing the original score
with 16 tracks and lasting 36 minutes. This appears to be an expanded version
over the 14 track LP debut which ran for 28 minutes and was released in
Switzerland in 2015. There is also an enjoyable and informative audio commentary
by horror and slasher loving podcasters The
Hysteria Continues featuring Joseph Henson, Justin Kerswell, Erik
Threlfall, and Nathan Johnson. These guys really know their subject, and its
inclusion here is a very welcome feature. If all of these audio options are not
enough, you can also watch the film with the 5.1 Vine Theatre Experience, a
rather curious addition allowing you to watch the film with the audience audio which
was recorded when the film was shown at the Vine Theatre in August, 2002. As I said,
it’s a curious one which doesn’t really serve much of a purpose other than listening
to audience reaction, if that’s your thing…
Other bonus features are also plentiful. First, there’s It’s Exactly What You Think It Is!, a brand new featurette, this retrospective documentary offers an appreciation of “Pieces” by various filmmakers and fans of the movie. There is also a brand new interview with art director Gonzalo Gonzalo (28 minutes). Pieces of Piquer is a career-spanning interview with director Juan Piquer Simón which runs for a generous 55 minutes. The Reddest Herring is another extensive interview (58 minutes) with actor Paul Smith. This is a delightful interview with Smith who appears both charming and totally engaging throughout the many stories he has to tell. Falling to Pieces is a featurette where Spanish filmmaker Sergio Blasco discusses his friendship with Juan Piquer Simón and the script of their un-produced sequel to Pieces. The disc also features a brief audio Interview with Pieces producer Steve Minasian and the theatrical trailer. Rounding off the bonus material is a super image gallery which catalogues virtually everything including full frontal casting photos for the ‘jigsaw’ girl, production photos, newspaper advertisements, posters and an extensive history of VHS video and DVD covers, all of which is highly impressive.
Overall, “Pieces” has been afforded some incredible treatment. Arrow has clearly recognised its cultural interest and its importance within the genre. It’s a collection that fans will not only admire, but also respect. It’s a job that’s been done well and because of it, the results clearly shines through.