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Overall Rating

Awesome: 26.47%
Worth A Look: 8.82%
Average: 2.94%
Pretty Bad: 20.59%
Total Crap41.18%

1 review, 28 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"Pretty reprehensible, but clearly that's the intended reaction."
2 stars

When you can't make a good horror movie, you make a gore movie. And when you make a bad gore movie, you should (apparently) go way over the top in a blatant attempt to court controversy and pre-DVD-release hype. This is where a nasty little bugger like "Murder-Set-Pieces" comes in. Director Nick Palumbo deserves just a little credit for giving his film a proper name: this flick is nothing more than six or seven isolated sequences of horrific Gore & Torture, a rather sickening marathon strung together by the flimsiest of subplots and populated exclusively by blood-soaked strippers.

The website for this movie calls it "the most controversial film in history," which is kind of weird considering that you've never even heard of it. Another piece of news being floated about by the production company is that Murder-Set-Pieces "holds the distinction of being the only film in history rejected for processing by labs: Technicolor, DuArt and DeLuxe." And after sitting through this 100-minute chore, I can understand why: this is an intentionally vile little movie, one that gleefully wallows in the degradation of women, the murder of small children, and the fine art of really bad acting.

The tagline for Murder-Set-Pieces? "The most visceral horror film ever made!" Great. Viscera. Good stuff. All you need is a shopping spree at the local butcher's shop if "viscera" is what you're after.

The last noteworthy thing I came across at the film's website was the production company's claim that "scaring people is our business." Folks, trust me when I tell you that there's not a damn thing scary about Murder-Set-Pieces aside from how grungy things can get in the name of "shocking controversy...we hope!"

And I'm sure as hell no wilting wallflower. Everyone knows I'm a true-blue horror freak, which is why I can see through the flimsy facade of this film's pretense and call it what it is: low-grade exploitation of the slimiest sort. The plot? There's this German guy living in L.A. He's a porn photographer by day and a ravenous serial killer by night. We get to see the gritty details of both professions. Ad nauseum. (Pun intended.)

In between all the slit throats and bloodbag whores we're offered a paper-thin subplot about the killer's sweet-natured girlfriend and her two daughters. One of the young gals truly despises the German weirdo, but nobody listens to her whining. She'll get hers in the end.

So when the movie isn't lingering on a naked woman being hellaciously tortured or a stilted soap opera sequence flown in from left field...we get scenes of the bloodthirsty photographer as he drives around Las Vegas (a lot) he preens in the he does push-ups while listening to Adolf he contemplates the next woman he's going to remove the skin from...

Basically, anything that's not a "kill scene" is just plain old filler material, which means that Murder-Set-Pieces exists solely to deliver big, bloody buckets of gore. (Hence the title!) And that's all fine and dandy. Some people like brainless action, some of 'em dig mindless comedy. Gore for gore's sake has its place and its loyal fans.

But why, when the movie isn't slithering through the dankest depths imaginable, does it have to be so boring? Our lead psycho is either frothing at the mouth or admiring his own cheekbones, so there's not much to latch onto there. The supporting characters are uniformly bland...and then they're dead. Familiar faces (Gunnar Hansen, Tony Todd, etc.) pop up here and there; none are able to elevate the material beyond geek-show status.

Mr. Palumbo will toss out just about anything he can imagine, as long as it's ugly, shocking and sure to infuriate people enough to throw the flick some press. A basement full of naked hookers who get impaled through the wrists and chainsawed across the scalp! That's not nasty enough? Not even with all the Hitler stuff you just saw? OK, how about we kill a pretty little pre-teen girl by stabbing her in the gut...and you get to see it all!!! Hmmm, that's not gross enough to land a distribution deal? Well hey, I have some old 9/11 footage I can toss up there -and- I'll give you a few shots of a little kid with her head blown off! (Seriously, folks, World Trade Center footage somehow figures into this "plot." Not just a cheap shock tactic, but a painfully transparent one as well.)

So after all this oh-so-extreme, gonna-shock-the-world bloodwork that's just chock-full of subtextual insight about the rotten cancer that is modern society, we're talking about an Instant Cult Hit, right?

Sorry to say, nope. At least not in this corner of the world. I'm sure there are horror hounds who will love being mauled in such hamfisted fashion, but the whole thing rings false to me. Credit is due to Palumbo's touch behind the camera; I do believe this kid's a solid director, albeit one too obsessed with "revolting" his audience instead of "entertaining" it. Fair credit is also due to the folks who worked on the actual gore effects in the film; they were contracted to concoct huge vats of blood and gushing geysers of gristle, and deliver they did. One just wishes that all this faux-Fincher nastiness had an actual point beneath all the bloodletting.

Needless to say, "Murder-Set-Pieces" is absolutely NOT for the squeamish, the sensitive, or the easily-sleepy. And while I didn't enjoy the film and absolutely would not recommend it to Joe Moviegoer, I do think it's something that the Hardcore Gorehounds should eventually see for themselves. (As if I could stop 'em.) I'm sure they'll all drop me a nasty email about how I missed the boat on some inevitable cult classic of monumental horror cinema. I'll stick with Re-Animator, thanks.

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originally posted: 12/29/04 00:17:36
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User Comments

2/17/18 Rosaleen I am a huge lover of horror but not gore for just gores sake. Charmless. 1 stars
5/03/08 Frankie C. If you want a plot go to some pg13 hollywood horror. They cant make em like this anymore. 5 stars
10/10/07 mr. mike sam and Indrid are right - Lionsgte DVD has 22 minutes cut! 3 stars
8/20/07 F. Vogel Nick Palumbo is a big faggy loser and his movies suck!!! 1 stars
8/20/07 Salvatore J. Alpino Worst movie ever made! Only retards like this film!!! 1 stars
8/16/07 Salvatore J. Alpino Best slasher film of all time! 5 stars
8/05/07 Salvatore J. Alpino Worst slasher film ever!! Nick Palumbo is a huge fag!! 1 stars
7/27/07 chinky boobs blood and gore. who could ask for more? damn good movie. damn good. 4 stars
7/24/07 S.J. Alpino One of the greatest horror films ever. Ignore the imposter I am the real deal. 5 stars
7/13/07 Sal Alpino One of the worst horror films ever! Boring and stupid. 1 stars
2/09/07 Indrid Cold Who releases the uncut version? The Lionsgate version is worthless: almost no gore. 1 stars
2/02/07 sam hateful i just watched the lionsgate release of this film. truly tragic what they did to an otherwi 1 stars
1/19/07 action movie fan bore with lotsof gore--no story--cannobal holocaust was interestingthis was not 2 stars
1/18/07 RRoland Are you kidding? A budget like that & this is what we get? Horrible! 1 stars
1/17/07 Zed Hated it. 1 stars
5/28/06 Lucifer Valentine Terrible film, boring and stupid 1 stars
4/15/06 Jason The best Horror film in decades.The bad reviews are from non-horror fans 5 stars
1/30/06 Reklc Full of cliches, no story, boring. SUX! 1 stars
8/22/05 mara So boring I almost fell asleep a few times. Well until he started screaming in German. 1 stars
6/14/05 John "M-S-P" is simply the BEST slasher film of all time. Period. 5 stars
6/07/05 eddie for the many who say don 4 stars
5/20/05 Rob Ignore the good comments, they're from the film makers. 1 stars
4/09/05 Jan Great horror film I would say its gorey, but hes a plot line and is oddly disturbing.. 5 stars
2/19/05 Jonathan Lamue This film is sick. (I mean that as a compliment.)Great directing, cinemotography, gore f/x 5 stars
2/18/05 Mark Legron Amazing horror film! The most wicked slasher I have ever seen! 5 stars
2/09/05 Huck Forrester Good thing the acting was bad. otherwise it would have been just too intense. 4 stars
1/03/05 chris harlow i thought it was great the fx rocked and the acting was good but we all know horror movies 5 stars
1/03/05 Jack Wouldn't have been so disappointed if it wasn't so overhyped. 1 stars
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  24-Dec-2004 (NC-17)



Directed by
  Nick Palumbo

Written by
  Nick Palumbo

  Sven Garrett
  Cerina Vincent
  Gunnar Hansen
  Edwin Neal
  Tony Todd
  Katie Richards

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