Thursday, August 4, 2011

Murder-Set-Pieces (2004)

Sour Kraut

Editor's Note: This review was originally written in 2006. While I will probably never watch this movie again, I still haven't gotten that part with the baby out of my head after all this time. So. Shitty movie. But still effective. Whatevz.

Anyone that knows me (particularly exes and my friends in Child Services) knows that I dig violence. If I’m watching a straight-up slasher film, I’ll pray to the Lord himself (Satan, obv.) for some good old fashioned nitty-gritty. I like my severed heads, skewered tongues, disembowelings, and all of the things that horny teenagers have coming to them. But when a film tries to take itself seriously and uses extreme violence to "make a point," chances are that it’s all for shock value and there’s really no message behind the red goop. Such is this case with Nick Palumbo’s gorenography film Murder-Set-Pieces, a serial killer movie where the sweat and tears are as fake as the the blood.

If you go through the cast list, there are about thirty characters that have things like "#2" and the word "Girl" following their role, such as "Dildo Girl #2" and "Basement Girl", whose number extends to a healthy seven. This already shows you how disposable the characters in this movie are. If you think you’re going to get to know or care about your victims in this film, think again.

Sven Garrett stars as the killer, simply credited as "The Photographer." After the movie’s opening, which begins with a very interesting Jack the Ripper quote involving Jews and blame, we’re shown some September 11th footage (making the movie’s opening even more WTF-worthy) before we see The Photographer (who’s German by the way) brutally torturing "Basement Girl #1." After this, the other 103 minutes of the movie are about the killer and his horrid sideburns going on a murderous rampage with no repercussions whatsoever. This dude kills a little girl in bathroom and yet nobody seems to notice a tall German covered in blood running through the park? This guy somehow manages to get women to sleep with him every five minutes of the movie by offering to take some modeling pictures with his shitty camera or by just simply existing. You hear that, guys? Just get your Wolverine sideburns going on, walk into any building, and boom’instant action. Once he takes their pictures, he rapes them, beats the shit out of them, and finally kills them in extremely gruesome ways. When he’s not doing this (i.e. nine total minutes of the film) he has a girlfriend, whose little sister can’t stand him. She doesn’t trust him and thinks he’s hiding something. Perhaps it was the scene when he shows her a picture of his Nazi grandfather and says, ‘My grandfather fought against the bad guys in World War II.’ Oh well, maybe it was his muddled accent that threw her off. Anyways, he kills people for nearly two hours and a pre-teen is the only one smart enough to figure it out. Roll credits.

I hate to rag on films, but goddammit if this one doesn’t ask for it. It utilizes abstract flashbacks of the killer that explain jack shit as well as his enraged socio-political dialogue that gets no other point across except "You’re the reason this country is going to hell." So...was that whole Jew quote and 9/11 thing at the beginning just a dream? Were you guys planning on coming back to that later in the film...or? No? Okay, awesome. I’ll just watch him anal rape a stripper and murder some children and try to figure it out myself! I mean, what the shit? What is the fucking point of this movie? It wants to be American Psycho in terms of heartlessness and Last House on the Left in terms of shock value, but it doesn’t seem to actually give a shit if there’s a message behind it all. If you’re going to use 55 gallons of blood in a movie, I suggest you have a very good reason to be doing it. Hell, I wouldn’t even care if the movie blamed the Jews for everything as long as it tried to make a point out of it.

Wait...Is that a knife or his adamantium claws?
Regardless of this inane mess, the film somehow manages to get cameos from fucking Gunnar Hansen, Tony Todd, Edwin Neal, and Cerina Vincent, who must’ve apparently been riding on the same bus which broke down near the set. However, it also features a cameo by August Underground series creator and fellow gorenographer Fred Vogel, who also serves as a Special Effects Tech on the film. Ah, no wonder all of this violence is in there. The August Underground series is also one that I don’t see the big deal about. Oh well, I still respect these guys for at least trying to do something for the horror genre. Unfortunately it’s just an extreme leap from mainstream torture films, showing what the big companies have to edit out for theatrical releases. Either way, they’re both losing their momentum and will hopefully die out as quickly as the "M. Night twist ending" phase did.

In its entire running time, Murder-Set-Pieces fails to make any valid commentary on the world or fill in the blanks that it drew from the beginning of the film. Though it contains a few extremely harsh moments (the scene with the baby has been permanently scarred into my mind), some really great effects, and a ton of fully-shaven female nudity, this movie’s only success is in taking the "art" out of arterial spray.

 1.5/5 Stars

Andrew's Hidden Message: Hey, put me in the credits! I'm "Negative Review #136"


  1. Wow ok never thaught I'd think such grousem things are cool