The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Bits and Pieces (dir by Leland Thomas)


You’re sitting down and you’re watching the 1985 slasher film Bits and Pieces on YouTube.

“The Bits and Pieces Murderer has struck again!” a television news reporter solemnly intones after a homeless woman finds a dismembered body in a trash bag.

Meanwhile, in a dark bedroom, a phone rings and wakes up Lt. Carter (Brian Burt), a balding man with a mustache.  He answers it and is told that the murderer has struck again.  “SHIT!” he yells….

A few blocks away, a sweaty man named Arthur (S.E. Zygmont) sits in a filthy basement, surrounded by plastic mannequin heads, half-eaten breakfasts, and flies.  He hears a voice telling him to kill and he says, “Yes, mommy…”

Down the street, in a club that appears to be populated largely by elderly woman, the world’s greasiest male strippers perform while a deathless song plays in the background.  Do you want/want my body/do you like it like that....

The next morning, college student Rosie Talbot (Suzanne Snyder) tells her mother about the strip club.  “I was surprised by the wide variety of the routines,” she says as her mom nods along.  Rosie says she never would have had the courage to go to the club if not for her best friend, Tanya (Sheila Lussier).  However, for some reason, Tanya is not answering her phone….

That night, Arthur has flashbacks to being abused by his mother so he kills again.  When the latest body is found, Lt. Carter receives that call.  “SHIT!” Lt. Carter yells….

The next morning, Rosie looks at the newspaper and sees a drawing of the girl who was found in the trash bag and she immediately screams because it looks just like Tanya!  She meets Lt. Carter who asks her if Tanya had any strange sexual proclivities.  “What type of sexist question is that!?” Rosie shouts….

Later, Rosie walks through a strip mall and runs into her friend Jennifer (Tally Chanel).  Rosie tells Jennifer about Tanya but then mentions that she did meet a really handsome policeman and that’s been the only good thing about her day.  “That sounds promising!” Jennifer says….

Meanwhile, Arthur lurks behind them, unnoticed despite his unwashed hair, his skinny black tie, and the look on his face that practically screams, “I am a psychopathic murderer and I’m stalking you.”  A random man bumps into Arthur and Arthur falls to the ground.  “Watch it, apple ass,” the man snaps….

A few hours later and Lt. Carter calls Rosie at home.  Carter tells her that this is a social call.  Would she like to spend the day at the beach with him?  That seems like a great way to forget about all the dead people who are piling up around the city.  “I’m really looking forward to it!” Rosie says….

Meanwhile, Arthur flashes back to his mother’s boyfriend forcing him to put on lipstick….

And so it goes.

There’s actually a pretty charming little story about this film.  It was told by a student who had just completed a film class.  On the last day of class, the professor announced that he was going to show the class an example of how “not to make a good movie.”  The movie that he showed was Bits and Pieces and the professor was the also the film’s director.  (For the record, the director also appears in the film, as the guy who calls Arthur an apple ass.)

Bits and Pieces may be a bad movie but it’s so amazingly inept that it becomes oddly fascinating.  The night scenes were clearly filmed at night, meaning that it’s often next to impossible to see what anyone’s actually doing for at least 10% of the movie.  In the role of Arthur, S.E. Zygmont gives a performance that’s so over-the-top that it bring to mind the “Egyptian feast” scene in Herschell Gordon Lewis’s Blood Feast.  (“You waaaaaaant to plaaaaaay….” Arthur hisses, at one point.)  As well, I don’t know if there’s many other movies out there that mix scenes of brutal murder with scenes of a middle-aged police detective and a young college student happily frolicking on the beach.  I guess brutal murder and intense emotional pain brings out the romantic side in some people.  The fact that the blood and gore looks real while everything else feels fake gives the film a strangely surreal feel.

Bits and Pieces is currently on YouTube, proving that even inept movies will live forever.

2 responses to “The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Bits and Pieces (dir by Leland Thomas)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 9/17/18 — 9/23/18 | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 10/1/18 — 10/7/18 | Through the Shattered Lens

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