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Set against Sin City, Las Vegas, "Murder-Set-Pieces" tells the story of a fashion photographer whose vocation is murder - a voyeuristic nightmare of blood, sex and brutality. Written by
Fright Flix Productions
Taglines claimed this film to be "the first American NC-17 horror film", but this is incorrect for two reasons. First of all, many American horror films have received an NC-17 rating in the past. Second of all, this film was never rated NC-17. See more »
From the "Naked Dead Girl Cult" school of juvenile film-making...
Here's my review of the "controversial" MURDER SET PIECES:
Story: beefy German-speaking serial killer murders tons of naked women in Las Vegas. For 90 minutes, we see various naked women getting killed by the serial killer. The women are tortured, sliced, diced, chainsawed, etc, to death.
There's very little attempt to create suspense or understanding into the few characters populating this claustrophobic flick. It's all surface. No depth whatsoever. And any level of realism in MSP was thrown out of the window because the abysmal acting, certainly from all the bimbos. I mean, we are talking HG Lewis level of acting here.
The main actor, Sven Garrett, was OK but he's definitely not a seasoned pro. He looked more like he belonged in the WWE than a horror film. The lack of coaching or practice, which is standard in low budget films, was evident with Garrett. For instance, he was totally unconvincing as a photographer. I'm sure he never held a 35mm camera in his entire life before making the film. He should have spent a bit more time researching for his role than doing weights at the gym. Oddly enough though, the casting of Garrett is one of the few "original" aspects about MSP. Garrett is a somewhat good-looking, somewhat Neantherdal looking (depending on which angle he's shot from). Unlike MANIAC or DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE type of films, where the psycho is always homely, the director probably thought having a hunky serial killer would make sense due to the humongous amount of women murdered in MSP. His presence and the director's intent to show off his physique are the only things that contrast with the plethora of naked girls in the film. This includes the pointless scene with Garrett in a swimsuit and having visions of 9/11.
The serial killer's psychosis is confused and, like the rest of the movie, hopelessly muddled and badly written. Why does he kill all these women? Because is grandfather was a Nazi? In one scene, you see him chew on a corpse. Is he a cannibal? Is he a Neo-Nazi cannibal? He also has sex with his victims while he kills and tortures them. Does this mean he can't get it up without blood or violence? Is he a an impotent Neo-Nazi cannibal?
If it wasn't for the really bad acting on the women's part, the movie and the level of violence towards women seen in it would have been impossible to watch. The ONLY truly "disturbing" aspect of MSP is the unrelenting violence made towards women, which is numbing. The women all blend together and I couldn't tell who he was killing after a while. Just look at the film's credit to see the number of anonymously named women written for this flick: Basement Girl #2, Hooker #3, High Chair Girl #1, Tree Girl #2, Dildo Girl #1, etc. Because the violence made towards women is so unrelenting (I've lost count after 20 minutes into the movie...) but also because of what is left out of the landscape: we basically only see the beefy psycho killing naked, screaming women. We see almost nothing else. Are there any other people out there? Whatever happened to the scene with the medium/card reader seen in the trailer? This somewhat minimalist approach to the "story", more to do with the director's complete inability to come up with any other idea than killing naked women, accidentally creates the film's only distinctive quality, and indirectly, the film's unrelenting violence shown towards women became more and more disturbing as it went along. Disturbing because I suddenly realized that what I was watching was something clearly made by people with, hmmm, a *lot* of issues.
The direction is stilted and awkward. You can really see that the director was "influenced" by films like "Texas chainsaw Massacre" (the film starts with flashbulbs illuminating a corpse of a naked woman...) or HALLOWEEN, and a lot of nights spent at strip clubs trying to woo investors. Oddly enough, the look and direction of MSP reminded me more of THE BOOGEYMAN (1980), Ulli Lommel's horror opus. The filmmaker has no vision or understanding of what horror is. He just used clichéd aspects of horror movies (gore, naked girls, Nazies, chainsaws, naked girls, Halloween, etc) and tried to make something shocking. The director's inexperienced is obvious throughout the film and seeing him try to combine heavy subjects like serial killings, sex, violence and 9/11 was the only true entertaining aspect of MSP. Watching all these missteps was fascinating, to say the least, and the reason I gave this 3 stars instead of 1.
Here's a question I have for the director: Would the film have been more effective if, let's say, the women actually had kept their clothes on? Probably. Because the nudity is so gratuitous (and, in the end, unrealistic) that the only thing I got out of watching MSP is the number of "actresses" out there who are willing to take their clothes off for a few bucks for roles in a low-budget film; how many of them actually had sex with the producers; and how "interesting" the casting sessions must have been ("Can you scream but with your clothes off?"). Scenes of the Photographer taking pictures of two naked 'playmate' women against a tree were included only to titillate the male audience. It's eye candy, for sure, but in the end it's more of a disservice to the film's 'realism' than anything else.
MURDER SET PIECES suffers from the fact that it's too trashy to be seen as a serious "shocking" portrait of a killer and it's not fun enough to be seen as great exploitation.
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