The next tape off the pile (after watching 15 minutes of The Nesting and realizing I'd already posted about it in 2017) was Jag Mundhra's 1989 thriller The Jigsaw Murders.
Impossibly tan detective Joe DeVonzo (Chad Everett) spends his time, between swigs of his flask, chasing down a killer with his soon-to-be married partner, Greenfield (Michael Sabatino).
The Jigsaw Murders isn't really a horror movie I know, but I'd already switched tapes once so I just went with it. Off the hop, it seemed like your average Z-grade procedural, until it whipped out one of the strangest plot devices I've ever seen. While at Greenfield's bachelor party, Joe notices that the model in the gag gift - a naked lady puzzle much like the one in Pieces - has the same tattoo as their dismembered murder victim. They then show the stripper the door and - I shit you not - all the drunken middle-aged cops go about putting the puzzle together so they can see the model's face.
|Chad Everett (left) and Michael Sabatino in The Jigsaw Murders.
The killer in this movie, a skeevy photographer named Ace Mosley is played by Eli Rich and he makes some odd choices. There's a scene where a Shannon Tweed lookalike talks about sociopaths, and it's like Rich asked the director what that was and Mundhra replied, “someone really weird.” Or perhaps someone who really gets off on their own slides.
Also, along for the ride is Waxworks' Michelle Johnson as Joe's rebellious daughter and gratefully Yaphet Kotto as the wacky coroner who also looks like he spent the decade since Alien in a cryo-chamber. I imagine this was just a job for Mundhra, whose previous two credits were actual horrors - but by no means more legitimate - Hack-O-Lantern and Open House.
|When actors say they don't like watching themselves... this is why.
This movie is for the most part trash, but every ten minutes something amusing would happen - like the set piece that inexplicably takes place in a splash park and featured Joe falling allllll the way down a water slide with camera in tow. Or seeing Scream Queens Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer continue to pay their dues in thankless roles - the latter is the model in the aforementioned nudie puzzle. Or even after expecting Joe's partner to get blown away in formulaic fashion, have it not happen... until the very end in a completely random altercation with some street thugs.
The Jigsaw Murders is not great, but what can I do? I'm a slave to the pile.