2016/10/30

Palatable: Body Bags

Body Bags (1993)
Directed by John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Larry Sulkis
Written by Billy Brown, Dan Angel
Produced by John Carpenter, Sandy King, Dan Angel
Starring Alex Datcher, Robert Carradine, David Naughton, Stacy Keach, David Warner, Debbie Harry, Mark Hamill, Twiggy, John Agar, John Carpenter
In his first speaking role since his underwhelming cameo in The Fog, Carpenter humorously, hammily hosts the frame story of this playful, triplex horror anthology as an undead coroner expressing a morbid fondness for wordplay and anatomical gore. Assigned to her first night shift at an isolated Gas Station on the outskirts of Michael Myers' hometown, Datcher's a comely collegian contending with her inexperience and strangers creepy and clownish during a spate of serial murders. His receding hairline spurs a vaingloriously insecure bachelor (Keach) to patronize an agency touting by telecast their top-grade crinal restoration procedure; though their treatment augments his Hair to flowing locks, this restoration is but a side-effect of its pestilential objective. A car crash deprives of a major-league heavy hitter (Hamill) one vital Eye, but a successful opthalmic transplant performed by a pioneering surgeon (Agar) replaces it with another of heterochromatic hue; maddened by visions of his donor's atrocities, the batter terrorizes his loving wife (Twiggy). These segments were initially intended to be episodes of an eponymous series pitched to Showtime as a rival to HBO's thematically and stylistically conformable Tales from the Crypt. Though the network scuttled the series, it cablecast this feature-length alternative. Carpenter's portions are respectively exciting and as pleasantly risible as ruffling, but Hooper's offering is the longest and least of the three, and hardly as interesting as Eric Red's kindred and coeval Jeff Fahey vehicle, Body Parts. Nevertheless, if the frights and frolic of Bags aren't satisfactorily frequent to sustain the interest of Carpenter's or Hooper's devotees, it may for them be redeemed by its cast of fan favorites and a copiousness of cameos: Hooper, Wes Craven, Sam Raimi, Roger Corman, Tom Arnold, et al. Hardly a career highlight for any of its participants, this peripheral curiosity is nonetheless essential viewing for completists of its star moviemakers.
Recommended for a double feature paired any Creepshow feature or Tales from the Darkside: The Movie.

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