Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
Revolutionary extreme horror -- unreservedly brutal and sadistic
on 23 October 2008
Note: I'm surprised to see this director's cut of the film listed here, as I know the director's cut was banned by the BBFC on February 27, 2008.
Let me take a moment to personally thank director Nick Palumbo for going where few horror directors even dream of going - he doesn't just go there, he moves right in and throws a freakin' party. I can't imagine any gorehound not being impressed by what they see here (as long as they get the uncut director's version and not the extremely neutered R rated version). Murder-Set-Pieces is, in a word, brutal. No one can ever accuse Palumbo of being a gore tease like the established horror directors in Hollywood. Copious amounts of blood, ultra-realistic scenes of torture, and several extremely violent rape scenes await you in the main character's blood-soaked killing room. And this madman doesn't discriminate by age, either - he's more than happy to hack and slash little girls to pieces when he's not sadistically destroying young women. This film may or may not live up to its tagline ("The most visceral horror film ever made"), but if it falls short, it's not for lack of trying. That's why thought police all over the world have tried to deny you the right to see this movie. It was banned in the UK (not surprising, given the UK's history of censorship), and it was banned from every film festival in North America. The film proudly bills itself as "the only film in the history of cinema that was banned from the Big 3 film labs." The final credits list Herman Goering, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels alongside Robert Ley as executive producers. This Nick Palumbo guy just doesn't care about all of the critics lining up to condemn him and his film, and I love the guy for that. Heck, he even uses one scene in the movie to unabashedly plug his first film, Nutbag.
Go out and read some of the film's more critical reviews. It's been damned as "the lowest form of cinematic life," and the New York Times' Ned Martel actually opines about the psychological damage he "knows" some of the actors must have suffered just from appearing in the movie. If you thought the psychological hullabaloo over Danielle Harris' performances in Halloween IV and Halloween V was bad (and it was), you haven't seen anything yet. (Young Jade Risser appears nervous early on, but she rises to the occasion in plenty of time for the film's final harrowing scenes. This girl has all the makings of a terrific scream queen once she reaches the other side of puberty.) When the daiquiri-sipping elitists get this upset over a movie, you know it has to deliver. Criticism of the acting performances is certainly valid, but I have no problem with the killer's brooding, stilted behavior. For Pete's sake, do all of the poo-pooers out there expect an ultra-sadistic butcher to appear perfectly normal?
Needless to say, Murder-Set-Pieces is an independent horror film - a rather expensive one, as indie horror films go (the budget was 2.2 million dollars). Shot on glorious 35 mm film, most of the budget was obviously spent on blood and gore. It features several actual streetwalkers, strippers, and at least one pornstar (Crissy Moran) among its cast of victims (how's that for realism?), but that cast also includes Gunnar Hansen and Edwin Neal from the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as well as the legendary Tony "Candyman" Todd, who acts the hell out of his one memorable scene.
By the way, there is an actual story here underneath all of the blood and body parts. It basically comes down to an unfiltered and daring look into the mind of a sadistic serial killer, with plenty of cinematic tension supplied by the killer's oblivious girlfriend's sister, who seems to be the only person capable of recognizing that the weird German dude is creepy and dangerous. You can't help but worry about young Jade's possible fate, especially when you see how willing the killer is to slaughter innocent little girls.
Unlike most critics, I'm not going to psychoanalyze the killer or the movie itself. Instead, I will just say this: never before has sexual rage been unleashed this viscerally on the big (or small) screen. Murder-Set-Pieces separates the real gorehounds from the wannabes. It's so revolutionary that even some horror fans just don't get it - sadly, a few have even repeated the censorship mantra of the talking heads who make it their business to stifle creativity and to control what you are allowed to see, hear, and think. Whether you love it or hate it, don't let anyone deny you the right to judge this film for yourself.