Murder-Set-Pieces (2004) from Tuna

A serial killer is shaving the heads off of strippers, hookers and models in Las Vegas. He actually divides his time evenly between photographing his victims, and slicing-and-dicing them. Director Nick Palumbo, in the interests of authenticity, hired actual hookers, adult film stars, strippers and models to play the corresponding roles as victims. 

I would love to say more about this film, but there really isn't anything else to it except naked women being photographed and chopped up. There's no suspense. Although we follow another point of view in the film, that of a young girl whose older sister dates the freak, we are in on the killer's secrets. 

This obscure title is Nick Palumbo's second horror film, made with a whopping budget of $2M. He served as writer, director, and producer. Judging from his comments in the special features, he's also the film's biggest and possibly only fan.  He confides that Texas Chainsaw Massacre is his idea of the perfect horror film, which goes a long ways towards explaining why he likes this one so much.

I, on the other hand, hated the film and won't ever be watching it again.  In fact, for probably the first time in my life, I agree with the Village Voice, which said,

"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. Nothing more than a succession of fake, snuff-like executions perpetrated by a hulking Nazi serial killer, it's too shoddily assembled to qualify as narrative and too conceptually bankrupt to count as avant-garde."

Yup. What they said.

The killer is a German Nazi, as the Voice mentioned, but his party membership adds nothing substantial to the film. It's just a shorthand device to give him some dimension. He could just as easily have been a Quaker, as far as the plot goes, except that Nazis are instantly identified with mass murder rather than Oatmeal. 

If boobs and gore are enough to entertain you for 105 minutes, go for it. As an alternative, you could watch Girls Gone Wild, then visit a butcher shop.


DVD INFO (left)



  • We have breasts and buns from: Christina Holdsinger, Jenna Vellani, Crissy Moran, and Valerie Baber

  • Just breasts from: Lauren Palac, LeAnn Clinton and Renee Sloan.

  • Several strippers also show various body parts.

The Critics Vote ...


The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 4.1/10, and that's with some obvious ballot-stuffing! The top 1000 voters score it 3.9.
  • It must have had a theatrical release because the New York Times reviewed it and said it opened January 7, 2005, but Box Office Mojo does not include it on the list for that weekend.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a D+, a sub-standard and depraved genre film. (Scoop's note: Tuna is undoubtedly right about the film. I'm sure not going to watch it, but I think it probably should be a C-, based upon some appreciative notices from the people who love extreme gorotica and consider substandard depravity to be a positive thing. Just be advised that the target audience is VERY small.)

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