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Murder Set Pieces

Directed by Nick Palumbo

Written by Nick Palumbo

Starring Sven Garrett, Gunnar Hansen, Cerina Vincent, Tony Todd

Produced by Nick Palumbo

Not Rated

80 minutes

Zero Stars

You know…people bandy the word “unwatchable” around a lot. Uwe Boll movies, the latest game or comic book adaptation, Nick Cage…the word comes up every so often. Well, congratulations, folks…a copy of “Murder Set Pieces” now appears next to the word in any dictionary. Oh, and if you can’t find the picture or the word, it’s not my fault.

There is a plot in “Murder Set Pieces,” though it’s of the most shaky sort—a fashion photographer roams Las Vegas chopping holy hell out of his models, building a body count to make Jason Voorhees cringe, and frequently screaming in German for little or no apparent reason.

I confess that when I first saw “Murder Set Pieces” I was concerned. The fact that they put “Warning: Shocking, Horrific, Controversial.” on the cover of the box was enough to get me unsettled. Usually when a movie advertises its own controversy, this is a magnesium flare-clear sign that means: “This is gonna be godawful.” On, not to mention trotting out not one but two naked chicks in the first six minutes. That’s another nice clear sign that this movie’s not going to be working with much. Even worse is the box quote that comes from Hustler, of all places, that describes “Murder Set Pieces” as “the most graphic horror film ever committed to celluloid.” And if Fango’s calling it “sick” and “repellent,” well, that’s even worse.

And with this kind of body of evidence built up against it, I’m not in the least surprised to discover my every fear was completely founded. “Murder Set Pieces” is utter garbage. Someone who obviously watched “American Psycho” one too many times and said “me too!” went out and made a movie. Trying to turn Christian Bale’s nonchalant slasher—which worked because Bale was damn good and could pull off that kind of thing—just can’t translate into some massive cold killing machine with a German accent so thick you could throw blocks of it into a lake and walk to the other side. It especially doesn’t help when director / writer / producer Palumbo has clearly paid his lifetime membership in the “gore-for-gore’s-sake” school of filmmaking and has thus thrown buckets of red corn syrup around every set on which he shoots.Even worse is the repetition. If it weren’t for the fact that he killed a different girl every several minutes, we’d almost be watching the same scene over and over and over again as our Germanic murder machine kills girl after girl after girl.

I do, however, have to give “Murder Set Pieces” the credit it deserves for suddenly switching the language track to German at the times that it’s most freaky. Got to admit, the gutterals and harshness of the German language really ramps up some tension.

But sadly, this isn’t enough to separate “Murder Set Pieces” from what it actually is: one non-stop series of random murders perpetrated for no other reason than to be shocking. And you know what? it’s not shocking. It’s really not. It’s just trite. An endless, pointless barrage of blood-soaked imagery with no point or plot to hold it together is just so thoroughly asinine that, well, frankly I can’t believe someone even bothered to put it together, let alone give this waste of plastic distribution.

And then they inserted footage of 9/11.

And that was the last nail in the coffin of “Murder Set Pieces.”

The ending is actually kind of exciting, sending a twelve year old girl on her own in to do battle with the German monster killing machine, but still not enough to forgive what happened for the entire hour and ten minutes leading up to it.

The special features Spanish subtitles, English closed captions, audio options, a commentary track, and trailers for “Saw III,” “The Punisher,” “Crank,” “The Descent,” and “Grim Reaper.”

All in all, I can’t find enough synonyms for “reprehensible garbage” to adequately express my feelings for “Murder Set Pieces.”

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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