May 21, 2017 by Kareem Youssef
Murder Set Pieces (2004)
All written, produced, and directed by Nick Palumbo has been panned by Ben Kenigsberg as he writes in the The Village Voice that Murder Set Pieces is
“Depraved, disgusting, misogynistic, ugly, and interminable, Murder-Set-Pieces is the lowest form of cinematic life, a movie so utterly degenerate it makes you wish that indie filmmakers had to prove a basic standard of decency in order to buy a camera.”
To that I say, And? The audience of the extreme cinema of horror know’s it barely makes the cutoff to be considered so. We can all let out a sigh of collective relief that Kenigsberg has no legislative power to limit filmmaking; although it’s not his fault he stumbled on this niche genre (no one tell him about August Underground!) However that is not to say Murder Set Pieces is a masterpiece, the only audience for it is solely the extreme cinema crowd, and among those films there are a lot better examples of it.
In the ‘plot’ a nameless german photographer lures and brutally murders woman in his dungeon. He begins to date a woman whose little sister immediately suspects something is awry. It’s a Nazi’s obsession with violence, sex, and destruction, a thinly veiled plot to indulge the nameless photographer in his sadisms. The effects are great and there’s plenty of gruesome acts one in which he gives himself fellatio with a severed head. The photographer murders several little girls although luckily with no sexual component to the deaths. There are many hints and flashbacks to childhood trauma, sadly they aren’t fleshed out well and fall sort of the intended effect.
For gore hounds and connoisseurs of the extreme Murder Set Pieces is all that it promises to be; depraved, disgusting, misogynistic, ugly, and interminable, as what was intended.