January 18, 2007

Director Nick Palumbo Responds to My Review of Murder-Set-Pieces

A short while back I wrote a review of the recent Lionsgate DVD release of director Nick Palumbo's Murder-Set-Pieces. No sooner was it up did I receive an email from Mr. Palumbo, or somebody claiming to be Mr. Palumbo. I have no way of verifying his identity one way or the other. I have decided to believe that it actually is him, I like the idea that the people whose work I review are reading my work. Actually, I am just happy to have some sort of feedback that shows that I am being read at all.

Anyway, it seems that Mr. Palumbo did not care for my review of his film. I cannot say that I particularly cared for it, but I also cannot say that I regretted the time I spent with it. Well, Mr. Palumbo has laid down a "challenge" of sorts. He closed his email wondering if I had the "guts" to print the truth. I am not quite sure what he believes the truth to be, but OK.

Below is the email that I received from Mr. Palumbo. Go ahead and read it, I'll be back after it ends. Warning: the included links are not safe for work, so take that into consideration as you read and decide whether or not to follow them.
Subject: Re: Hello from Director Nick Palumbo--"Murder-Set-Pieces"....

To Chris Beaumont... (who did the cut Lion's Gate review of my film

Chris Beaumont said: "I am certain the cut
material would have given this
a little more to go on, but I doubt it would
be enough to save it"....

You, my friend...have given yourself away
with this little review:

You CANNOT judge ANY film,
based on a heavily edited version.

YES, the film has been CUT by Lion's
Gate for the "R" rating.......the
original is NC-17......it has been cut by
23 minutes!!!...(a record in the
history of motion picture film).....(the
NC-17 version makes "Hostel" and
"Saw 3" look like Walt Disney films).....

Murder-Set-Pieces" was NEVER intended to be an "R" rated film. It was
made with the "NC-17" rating firmly in mind from the beginning.

I DID NOT edit this new "R" rated cut from LGF.

My vision was edited by
the great Todd Ramsay (John Carpenter's "The

Seeing the "NC-17" rated version of "Murder-Set-Pieces", is an entirely
different experience than the severely edited "R" rated version.........
....(and, I'm not only talking about the gore scenes, the rape scenes, the
child murder scenes, and the torture scenes.......I'm talking about the
specific dialouge that is edited out of the film, the music, the
cinematography and the editing, period..... etc...etc...)
....and, if you really want to see a graphic scene from
"MURDER-SET-PIECES"...(one of the many that Lion's Gate
CUT out)....click here:


....if you want to see the UNCUT trailer. go here:


........also, check out these Uncut
screen shots from the 35mm
Master....go here:


Let's see if you have the "GUTS"------to print the TRUTH to your


Nick Palumbo
OK, me again. The spacing, capitalization, and punctuation are all as they were in the email, I did not alter them. I do not believe that there will be any objection to this reproduction, if there is, please let me know and I will kindly take it down.

You say that I am ignorant. In a sense, you are correct. I am ignorant of what is contained in the cut footage, but I do stand by my belief that it would not improve the final film. You also say that you cannot judge a film based on a cut version. Well, that may be true, but all that we are able to go on is the version that is released and if that release happens to be edited, so be it, that is what we have to review as that is what is available. In this case it is a neutered R rated version. Should Lionsgate have offered an unrated version? Yes. Should they have removed the graphic violence warning from the cover? Definitely. But, they didn't and we are left with the version that is currently available on store shelves across the country.

I am not ignorant of this being an edited version, I knew that going in. I even mention in my review that the theatrical reviews report a runtime of 105 minutes and an earlier, now unavailable, version that ran 90 minutes. I also believe that the accusation of ignorance is unfair, if I had the choice to review an unrated version of the film I would have done so. Also, by calling me ignorant, you are, by default, calling everyone who watches this Lionsgate release, and then have an opinion on it, ignorant. Now, I do not believe that is what you intended, but there it is.

You mention that you aimed for an NC-17 rating and that the NC-17 version of the film makes Saw and Hostel look like Disney films. Well, was this ever given an NC-17 rating? I checked with the MPAA and only found a single entry, that being for the R rated version of the film. So, I am sure that you meant to say the unrated version of the film. Secondly, what you say may be true, but both of those films had better stories than what was exhibited here. Gore alone does not a movie make.

So, you didn't edit this R rated version? Well, I don't think you edited any version of the film, as you then say that it was edited by Todd Ramsay. Now, I am sure you were involved with the diting process, but it doesn't appear you edited any version of the film.

A lot was edited out, you say? OK, I believe you, especially based on the this DVD's runtime versus the runtime from the theatrical reviews. But considering the poor acting, dialogue, and character chemistry, I still doubt that it would have made this a good movie. That may be a big assumption on my part, but I am allowed, especially when i do not have the uncut version to compare to. I am merely extrapolating based on what I witnessed. I probably could have gotten some more input had there been any deleted scenes included, like what is listed on the DVD case, but do not actually exist on the disk. As for your claim of a record 23 minutes, that would make the film longer than the reported theatrical time of 105 minutes by 1 minute. I checked the recent film The Protector, released at 81 minutes long when the original version was 108 minutes, making 27 minutes cut. I have also had reports, unverified, that Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain had an original runtime near three hours, while what I saw on the theater screen ran 96 minutes, well over 23 minutes.

Thank you for the included links. I did check them out. The deleted scene and the stills definitely falls on the side of sick and twisted side of things and would definitely push it beyond Lionsgate's desired R rating, but would it make the movie better? No, not really. I am sure this and much of the other cut footage would appeal to the gorehound in me. Still, like I said before, gore does not a movie make.

I also checked out the uncut trailer you linked, but all I saw was the trailer for the R rated DVD. I did not see any footage that differed from what I saw in the film proper.

Let me also point out that I am sure you had the opportunity to remove your credit, in favor of Alan Smithee (or whatever) if you so disliked the cut version. This is a descision I believe weighed on you as an up and coming filmmaker, take your name off your neutered vision or let it ride and hope that it will help grow your name recognition. I probably would have made the same decision. But being that as it may there are bound to be good and bad reviews. This happened to be a bad one.

Well, I guess I should bring this to an end. Let me again say "Thank You." I find it encouraging that my work is being read and getting some reaction. It makes me feel good. I also want to wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.


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