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3.1 out of 5 stars16
3.1 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 25 April 2013
I ordered this in my quest for finding strong horror films that really disturb and horrify.

However, it seems that this film exists purely to show endless scenes of women being tortured to death without any semblance of plot or logic.

The killer is a Nazi obsessed woman hater, who picks up women in sleazy strip clubs and sex joints, then takes them home to photograph.
Here, he beats and tortures them in a secret room in his basement.

At the same time, he tries to hold down a normal relationship , and the younger sister of his so called "girlfriend" seems to be the only person who is suspicious of the killer. At the end of the film, she eventually goes to his house and discovers the truth about him.

Outside of this weak scenario, there is nothing in the film to structure or pace it. There is no build up of suspense, or any attempt to show why the killer is the way he is, or any police attempt to catch him either.

The film jumps from one scene of murder to another, with brief gaps in between of him dreaming of his childhood cutting up dolls, weight lifting to Nazi propaganda films etc, then on for more gratuitous and sick torture and killing scenes, often with victims that we haven't even been introduced to.
The director then throws in a few nightmare scenes of the killer being menaced by zombie versions of his victims, and then we are back to the next blood bath.

Gore for gore sake is not what makes a good horror film. When it is used to show the effects of violence it can be powerful. Battering people with it for 90 minutes with no context or reason just numbs the audience, or worse still, bores them.

I think the makers set out to deliberately push peoples buttons and make the most revolting and sick film they could. But armed with a clever special effects crew and no writer, all they got was 90 minutes of dull depraved murder with nothing to link it together.

The cast are all amateur, and this really is a chore to sit through.
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on 20 December 2010
Being the type of person constantly on the lookout for a decent horror film, some of the reviews of this film(including reviews of other films making reference to this one) grabbed my attention. After tracking this film down finally, I must say I'm somewhat disappointed with the content. There's no plot to speak of. There's just this lunatic photographer jumping from scene to scene, torturing & killing his female victims. There's nothing in this film that engages the viewer's emotions. There's no real interaction between the killer and his victims, and ultimately you have no real sympathy for the victims. In such a case you would alternatively be placing the success(or entertainment value) of this movie on the amount(and quality) of gore you get to see. And comparing it to the hype of this movie, the gore in my opinion was lacking.

Somewhat disturbing film, but not so much so that I'm left disturbed after the final credits start rolling. There's nothing really gripping or even scary about the main character. He's just weird(and not in an entertaining way). This is undoubtedly one of those movies I'd not care to watch again.
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on 29 October 2010
If this is the directors cut then i wonder what the uncut film was like. Having read a review before purchase i think the reviewer may well have done what i have done ~ described a different film. having had a few weeks pass before i write this it is difficult to remember anything about this film that makes it 'stand out' within its genre. A friend also saw it and felt the same. maybe it's our senility.
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on 12 February 2010
Watching this, it becomes apparent how daft the guidelines are by which the BBFC determine the classification of a film, let alone whether it be released for public consumption within the UK or not. I have to say, although this film is at times, disturbing, unnerving, and down right morbid, I can not for the life of myself workout the logic by which the BBFC effectively banned, and therefore censored the contents of this film. I have seen more realistic and horrific depictions of violence to both men, women and children in films that have been certified by the BBFC. All I can conclude is that when the BBFC ban a film or demand cuts be made these days, it is due to a scene or number of scenes that depict acts of sexual violence that may promote the acts within. Having seen the film for myself, I can confidently conclude that though some of the depictions in this film are graphic and horrific (though not much more than anything else available) it certainly does not aim to promote, glorify, or justify the act of rape, torture or murder at all, in fact far from it. By banning this film, the BBFC have mislead the public as to the contents of this film and the moral integrity of the writers, directors, producers and all others concerned in the making of this better than average movie. Not to mention, they have denied those involved the opportunity to recuperate the expense and profit from this dark but thought provoking and intelligent film. If you have not seen this film yet, I highly recommend it, it may be controversial now, but someday, in ten or twenty years time, this film will be viewed as a mile-stone within the horror genre, Paul Pallambo may well be regarded as the Hitchcock of the naughtues.
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on 12 May 2012
To clarify - my review is of the Unrated Directors Cut on Danish DVD which I have and not the R-Rated US Disc which is cut as I know a lot of buyers have been very disappointed by the edited Lions Gate version. Firstly the movie is very well made and has a great haunting score, the cinematography is brilliantly dark and menacing working very well with the main characters deeply disturbed nature. Acting and support acting is also great as it must have been quite a roller-coaster of a ride to deliver such convincing and professional performances working with such bleak and violent themes, however all the actors shine in their roles here. The violence can be extreme but is never in any way glamorised or exploitative and is in keeping with the story. Nick Palumbo has written and directed this with focus, intelligence and drive and it shows in the film. Again, not a film for the easily offended but lovers of serial killer / revenge type films may want to give it a go. Recommended for ages 16+.
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on 16 March 2008
I watched this movie a few years back. It was uncut so had some very gruesome scenes in it. This included a scene where a little girl is slaughtered in the public toilets. This made for uncomfortable viewing and I didn't enjoy that scene much. Not sure if this will be in this version or not. Worth a look if you like movies like this although it doesn't really have a storyline. Once was enough for me but it left a mark. If you like this then try and see august underground mordem, now thats seriously sick.
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on 5 April 2015
This ain't the uncut version I have been looking for. As a seasoned horror/gore fan I'm always looking for the next shocker. Read plenty of positive reviews about this movie and thought I was buying the UNCUT version. After 30 mins I turned it off. It's clear this has been heavily cut as just when you think something goods about to happen it cuts to the next scene. The total uncut version is available on amazon but at £100 I think I'll pass. Waste of £15! Utter pish!!!!! Going straight on eBay chaps!😉
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on 26 September 2009
I have seen both versions of this terrible film and all I can say is that it didnt shock me, it didnt disturb me and it most certainly is not well made. How on earth people are giving this decent reviews are clearly just trying to be clever. Murder set peices is drawn out, boring, predictable and really really badly made. Shot in the same dreadful digital style of his first (and even worse) film Nutbag, director Nick Palumbo comes across as an arrogant nasty bloke who quite simply is making films that are an insult to the genre. Avoid at all costs.
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on 4 October 2014
i like this film it was not bad it had good monments
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