Tuesday, August 19, 2014

REVIEW: Pieces of Talent - Making Movies Will Make You Crazy

With horror movies so focused on being realistic it's difficult to actually have a good time while watching one. Even when I'm enjoying a horror picture I can't help but think that I want to be entertained, not simply disgusted or jump-scared or confused (STOP CONFUSING ME HORROR MOVIES!). Pieces of Talent from Joe Stauffer is a clever beast with some awesome gore, meta-horror story line and, best of all, it's absolutely a pleasure to watch. The combination of black comedy and crazy mixed with the over the top kills is only perfected by the bat shit performance by co-writer David Long who plays the charismatic antagonist. Pieces of Talent has been getting some good press as of late, and I'm glad to say that it is justified.

Set in the small coastal town of Bright Leaf, North Carolina, Pieces of Talent centers around Charlotte, a disillusioned aspiring actress that can barely get by. Charlotte catches a break when seemingly chance circumstances put her in contact with a local filmmaker, David Long. David and Charlotte form a quick friendship that leads to Charlotte landing the starring role in David’s newest project. David quickly becomes obsessed with Charlotte and begins building his bloody masterpiece. David is a happily obsessed individual willing to do whatever it takes to make “true art.” He utilizes his charm and skills to make something dark and deranged seem utterly beautiful and loving.

You can see how it's meta. Pieces of Talent is first and foremost a movie about a guy making a movie who is totally maniacal but all for the sake of art. You can't help but wonder if his actors were more agreeable or could hit their marks if he'd have been a kinder, gentler director (less Lucio Fulci). Each time David Long graces the screen is a moment of complete dualism. One minute he is a rather likable artsy type, perhaps a bit quite but convincing. When the switch or should I say when the film begins to roll, Long turns into a violent man, overpowering and completely dominant. You only root for his victims because you want to see him track them down longer, you'd prefer Long to get all the screen time. He's not the only good performance, but his is exceptionally strong and makes the movie. You aren't sure whether you want to laugh at this guy as he "directs" his cast or call your local screen actors union to ask them to pay them hazard pay.

The concept could have yielded a pure found footage movie, but luckily we follow Long's character throughout rather than being forced through the camera eye to watch the entire movie removed from the action. The whole thing seems to set up a slasher style formula with set up scene followed by kill sequence on repeat until a great big finale where you get to learn just how mad our kill is while living with the faintest sense of hope that Kristi Ray (his star) will learn what has happened on set in her absence. The movie adopts a slasher kill pattern that carries it through until the finale when we can ask Mr. Long if he wants a second print for protection.

This release comes in multiple edition from a double disc, extra filled, signed package to a single DVD to a limited VHS tape. Extras include a commentary from David and Joe, behind the scenes footage, extend and unreleased footage, "The David Long Song" (a must watch feature), blood art from David, a trailer and vlogs as well as the original short that helped to get Pieces of Talent made, The David Long Story. I adore the cover art for this release with plenty of bloody smeared to perfection. This is a gritty picture with a gritty package.

Of course I'm driving to North Carolina this weekend which makes me wonder if David Long is still out there. You can order your copy through the links below and follow along as this movie continues to grow its fanbase. Support good indie horror.

For more information and to purchase Pieces of Talent, visit the film's official website Pieces of Talent can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Hey and it there's a free soundtrack online! 

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