1993 - 93m.
An anthology movie similar to Tales From The Darkside and Nightmares, Body Bags tells three spine tingling stories of horror. It's Anne's first night working at the gas station, an experience made even more nerve racking by the fact that a serial killer is on the loose. In the second story, Richard is going bald and he's willing to do anything to have a full head of hair, including trying an experimental new type of regeneration therapy. And lastly, Brent is a baseball player who loses his right eye in an auto accident and decides to have it replaced by an anonymous donor - a donor who turns out to be an executed madman.
Body Bags reminded me of the TV show Tales From The Crypt. Not only do both entertainments possess a darkly comic wit but, like Tales, Body Bags is also hosted by a pun spouting, rotting, emaciated skeleton; I'm talking about horror director John Carpenter. Carpenter's ghoulish coroner is corny and fun, as are the first two chapters, which he also directed. The third and least entertaining tale, "Eye", is directed not by Carpenter but by B-movie legend Tobe Hooper, who also has a cameo at the end of the movie.
The film is a veritable "Who's Who" of horror favorites, including cameos by directors Wes Craven, Sam Raimi, Roger Corman, and special effects artist Greg Nicotero. These cameos are a large part of the movie's appeal, and give the astute horror fan a chance to point at the TV screen, grin, and shout; "Hey, I know that guy!" Of all the appearances, Cravens' was my favorite, as the man plays a drunken weirdo with frightening accuracy. Nice acting Wes, much, much better than your performance in New Nightmare.
"The Gas Station" is easily the best of the three stories and manages to build some genuine suspense until the climax, where the story throws up its arms, shouts "aww, screw it" and hands us some delightful action, complete with a deliciously homicidal Robert Carradine.
The second story "Hair" is completely devoid of any real scares or build up and mostly serves as a comedy piece. Yet another cameo worth mentioning is Deborah Harry, who plays a nurse in this sequence, making this her second horror anthology movie after Tales From The Darkside. Overall I enjoyed "Hair" for what it was, a comical time killer, although it's not nearly as engaging as the first story.
It was during the final installment "Eye" that I became bored with the movie as we get yet more evidence that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was some kind of freak accident/miracle and not the product of a man who knows how to direct a quality movie. Mark Hamill plays the main character Brent, a minor leaguer with a mustache and a sexual hunger for famous model Twiggy. Hamill felt weak towards the climax and looks a little too old to be a baseball player.
With one good story, one mediocre one, and one bad one, Body Bags proves itself as a mixed bag (or should I say bags?) of horror that is both worthy of seeking out and simultaneously skippable. Rent it for the first story, and for the fun cameos, as the other two stories aren't going to be your bag. (Vhs Caveman, 11/15/05)
Directed By: John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper.
Written By: Dan Angel, Bill Brown.
Starring: Stacy Keach, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, David Warner.