Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Flashbacks: Body Bags




Body Bags 1993
Directors: John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper and Larry Sulkis
Writers: Billy Brown and Dan Angel
Starring John Carpenter, Tom Arnold, Tobe Hooper, Robert Carradine, Alex Datcher, Peter Jason, David Naughton, Stacy Keach, David Warner, Sheena Easton, Deborah Harry, Mark Hamill, Twiggy and John Agar
Horror anthology films are always fun to watch and Body Bags is no exception. A film that I think was setup to give Showtime its own chance at a show like Tales From the Crypt but it never came to fruition. It is a shame as this is a great vehicle for short horror stories and has a great resume of directors and cast. The film has a light E.C. comics feel to it until the grim and final story in the film. It also has a great narrator and host in the persona of Carpenter. He is really the highlight of the film. All 3 stories are solid, though the middle one “Hair” is the standout. This is one of those films it is just great to put on when nothings going on and you want some good horror entertainment. I would have definitely watched this every week if it had been picked up as a series.
The plot basics are this, in a morgue we mett someone who seems to be a coroner there (Carpenter) and he goes over the bodies and begins to tell stories of what happened to the ones lying there. The first story is about a woman (Datcher) stuck at a secluded gas station while a serial killer is running amok. The 2nd tale is about a man (Keach) who is losing his hair and will do anything to keep from going bald. The final story is about a baseball player (Hamill) who loses his eye and gets a transplant from a unlikely source and how it begins to affect him. This all leads to a ending when you find the Coroner is not who he appears to be.
This is a solid and entertaining anthology. Carpenter’s direction is tight. “The Gas Station” is a solid slasher piece that would fit into any horror comic from the 50’s. While “Hair” is out and out dark comedy that works on every level. Hooper’s segment “The Eye” on the other hand is very dark, grim and unrelenting. The script is very good, the banter that it gives the Coroner is very funny and the writing in “Hair” is golden. While “The Eye” is very dark and depressing, and yet it still somehow works. The film has a solid cast. I especially liked Keach who I think gave one of his best performances as the man who cannot live without his hair. Hamill was good too as the brain addled baseball player who feels he is being taken over by a murderer. Carpenter was really great though as the macabre host and I wanted to see more of him. The SFX and makeup effects in the film are top notch. I especially liked the prosthetics in “Hair”, they were quite bizarre and creepy. The score by Carpenter and Jon Lang has a very creepy and campy feel and is in tone with the film. This is a great anthology film and definitely worth checking out.
This one gets 4 out of 5


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