Wednesday, 17 February 2016

BLOODSUCKING PHARAOHS IN PITTSBURGH *** aka Picking Up The Pieces. USA 1991 Dir: Dean Tschetter. 89 mins

Deeply troubled Sergeant Joe Sharkey hates women, fears blood, drinks vodka from the barrel of the gun he nearly uses to kill himself, and also has a much-referenced sexual problem. He is partnered with Jake Dengel to catch a mystery killer who sucks the organs out of his / her hapless victims via an industrial powered vacuum, possibly for the purpose of ritualistic Egyptian shenanigans.
A lightweight spoof of Herschell Gordon Lewis movies with an endearingly absurd murder weapon, this very likeable movie emerged too late to cash in on the wave of late 80’s splatter comedies, though its slapstick gags and pun-laden dialogue resemble the approach of broad early 80’s spoofs like AIRPLANE and WACKO. Characters slip on severed ears while Dengel’s chainsmoking wife speaks via a voicebox (with dying batteries) and attends radical quit-smoking therapy sessions involving cattle prods and the forcible viewing of plane crashes. It’s engagingly quirky, even if the scattershot approach results in some fallow stretches. Tom Savini provides impressive gore FX, notably an aftermath shot of a brainless female corpse, while the lively climax incorporates beheadings, face-rippings and a priceless moment in which the smoking lady is mistaken for Anubis : “I’m gonna saw this bitch’s face off and throw it to you like a Frisbee!!”

Review by Steven West




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