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Home | Film Review: Bits and Pieces (1985)

Film Review: Bits and Pieces (1985)



A demented man with an unhealthy obsession with his mother goes on a killing spree.


Bits and Pieces is one of those slasher flicks that somehow flew under my radar as I had never even heard of it until recently. It is a pretty by-the-numbers slasher that doesn’t really bring anything new to the table and as a result it is pretty forgettable. I don’t really think that it is the worst movie ever made so to speak but at the same time it really isn’t anything that special or amazing either. To be honest just a few hours after I watched it I had already pretty much forgotten about most of it so that should tell you how much of an impression it didn’t leave on me. To say that I was a little underwhelmed is an understatement and I’m certain that I won’t go out of my way to ever watch it again.

Bits-&-Pieces-1985-movie-Leland-Thomas-(7) Bits-&-Pieces-1985-movie-Leland-Thomas-(6)

I think that the biggest problem that I had with the movie was the fact that it was just painfully unoriginal. While it borrows heavily from other slasher flicks the most obvious one is without a doubt Maniac (which it pretty much rips off for the most part). We have a socially awkward guy with a mommy fixation that kills women while a creepy mannequin talks to him. Now why does that sound so familiar? Oh yeah, because that is exactly what happens in Maniac! The thing is though, while Maniac is genuinely creepy and disturbing Bits and Pieces is not. In my opinion it comes off like a watered down version of Maniac and it felt like the people behind it were trying too hard to imitate it. I don’t know if they were fans of that film and wanted to do something similar as a tribute or if they were just lazy and stole several elements of it after they saw it and didn’t think anyone would notice but it just doesn’t work. There are a lot of similarities between the two films and I am a little surprised that the folks responsible for Maniac didn’t attempt to sue as a result. Then again it could be that they knew that Bits and Pieces wouldn’t be nearly as successful and didn’t think that it was even worth their time. I dare you to watch both movies back-to-back and not tell me that they are pretty much the same film in many respects (though it is obvious that Maniac is a much better flick in general).


Another thing that really took me out of the movie was the killer. I thought that he was just more annoying than anything and he wasn’t the least bit scary. I think that he was actually an even less intimidating killer than Jay Mohr was in Cherry Falls and that is really saying something. It didn’t help that his name was Arthur (which made me think of the 1981 film starring Dudley Moore the whole time I was watching it) which doesn’t really strike fear into the hearts of anyone (my apologies to anyone out there reading this right now named Arthur) and that he was just a nerdy-looking fellow in general. He looked more like an insurance salesperson than a serial killer and I’m pretty sure that most of his victims could have kicked his ass if they tried. I realize that the filmmakers were most likely trying to go with a normal-looking person to play the villain as opposed to a hulking beast of a man but it just doesn’t work. Imagine being kidnapped and then killed by your local tax preparer at H&R Block and you’ll get what I’m talking about here. Arthur isn’t quite in the same league as Jason, Freddy, or Michael and even though the people behind the film desperately want him to be like Frank Zito from Maniac he just can’t quite pull it off.


The acting was pretty lousy too. S.E. Zygmont is laughably bad as Arthur and the same could be said for pretty much everyone else in the movie as well. Suzanna Smith stands out (but not in a good way) as Rosie as all she does is cry and scream (and not very effectively) almost every single time she is on screen (seriously, why does she cry so much? I have no idea). Her performance reminded me of that of a bad soap opera actor and I couldn’t help but shake my head during her scenes. Brian Burt looks uncomfortable and seems to be somewhere else mentally in the role of Lt. Carter as he really phones in his performance with little to no emotion whatsoever. He looks like he is totally bored out of his mind (or about to fall asleep) every time he reads his lines and it is obvious that he just really didn’t want to be involved in the movie in the first place (plus his romance with Rosie is forced and quite unbelievable). The rest of the cast is made up mostly of a bunch of nearly identical looking blonde women who are there just to be fodder for the killer and none of them really stand out (I honestly can’t remember the names of a single one of them, not that it really matters anyway). To be brutally honest the acting in this movie is on par with your average p**no flick from the 70’s or 80’s and possibly maybe even a little worse.


Bits and Pieces just wasn’t for me. It’s boring, unoriginal, and just doesn’t have a whole lot going for it in general. While some of the death scenes are pretty okay they didn’t make up for the fact that the movie just isn’t very good overall. There’s no wonder I had never heard of it until now as it fails to deliver on many levels and wasn’t a whole lot of fun to watch. Check it out if it sounds like it might be something that you could be into, but take my advice and watch Maniac instead as it is much, much better.

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