There is an old saying that you do not always get what you pay for. Sometimes, something does not quite live up to what you expect it to be or it just turns out to be something else entirely. That is not a claim that could be made about Nick Palumbo’s banned film from 2004, Murder-Set-Pieces. It has plenty of murder set pieces. But is it any good and deserving of its banned status?
Murder-Set-Pieces follows a character known only as The Photographer, played by Sven Garrett, who is living a dual life. By day, he photographs erotic shoots. But at night, he delves into his dark side and proceeds to torture, rape and murder a lot of prostitutes. This is exactly as gruesome and nasty as it sounds, and it is not just the UK that had an issue with releasing the film.
WARNING! THE BELOW TRAILER CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT MAY OFFEND SOME AND IS NOT SAFE FOR WORK!
In the US, the film did get a release at the cinema, but with an NC-17 rating, which is essentially the death knell for any release. The issue is it severely limits the audience who can see it but also when it gets a home release, many large stores refuse to stock NC-17 releases. This led Lionsgate, the distributor, to get an R rated home release by cutting a massive 22 MINUTES from the film. There is also a slightly longer version, but the films released for home viewing were extremely different from the cinema release.
In terms of reviewing, it is tough to get mad about anything in here. It is a gore filled film about torture and murder. It is gruesome, nasty and tough to watch. That being said, I was not as appalled by this as I was by The Bunny Game. Despite this being far more graphic in terms of gore, it was the message and degradation that is constant throughout The Bunny Game that really bothered me more. The only things that made me really uncomfortable with Murder-Set-Pieces were the scenes involving the murder and terrorizing of children. But overall, this is a totally forgettable, blood-soaked torture fest.
It is a gore soaked torture film. We have seen those a million times before. Admittedly, this one has a little less story than others, but it is what it is. In their statement, the BBFC said that “it is the Board’s carefully considered view that to issue a certificate to MURDER-SET-PIECES, even if statutorily confined to adults, would involve risk of harm within the terms of the Video Recordings Act 1984, would be inconsistent with the Board’s Guidelines, and would be unacceptable to the public.The Board considered whether the issue could be dealt with through cuts. However, given the unacceptable content features throughout, and that what remains is essentially preparatory and set-up material for the unacceptable scenes, cuts are not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification”. I am not sure what is here that can not be seen elsewhere, so I personally do not understand the ban.