Body Bags (1993)
Back of the box...
“A scarefest of grisly short stories oozing thrills, chills, and mind-blowing twists. In a trio of spine-tingling tales there’s high octane horror when a satanic serial killer pulls up to the pumps for more than just gas; there’s hair-raising shocks in a tale of tonsorial terror and finally there’s evil, unleashed and out of control, as a foolhardy couple dare to go in search of the supernatural.”
Director: John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper
Starring: John Carpenter, Mark Hamill, Debbie Harry, Richard Carradine
Watch the Trailer
Since day one of this site Body Bags has been on our must-watch list and we’re FINALLY watching it! Why were we so excited to watch this made for TV horror anthology you wonder? Well, other than it being directed by John Carpenter (Halloween, Big Trouble in Little China) and Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist), the film also has something in common with an episode of one of our favorite TV shows! In the 1998 Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode, Hell Toupée is a segment that borrows from two different Body Bags stories. After Snake is sentenced to death by electrocution, his organs are harvested for donation and Homer ends up receiving his transplanted hair. The hair seeps into Homer’s brain, allowing Snake to control him and act out his revenge on those who witnessed his crime of smoking in the Kwik-E-Mart. It’s a pretty amazing segment, and you can check out a clip of Snake’s revenge below:
Showtime began production on a horror anthology TV series in an effort to compete with HBO’s hugely successful Tales from the Crypt. For reasons unknown by us, the project was abandoned, but not before production of the first three episodes. Rather than let those episodes disappear into obscurity, they were arranged into an anthology similar to the likes of Creepshow, Cat’s Eye, and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, and then aired on Showtime.
The first story in the anthology is titled Gas Station and was directed by John Carpenter. It opens with Lewis from Revenge of the Nerds (Robert Carradine) watching a news report about the latest gruesome murder to take place in Haddonfield from the safety of his gas station attendant box. We know, right, Haddonfield can’t get a break. First Michael Myers and now this! Soon after, his replacement Anne arrives to take over on her first night shift and it’s not long before an array of weirdos begin rolling through. Do you think the murderer from the news report will show up? We won’t say, this review is spoiler free.
Next up, we have Hair, which is also directed by Carpenter. Hair follows the story of a man named Richard (Stacy Keach) who goes to sad and hilarious lengths to fight his eclipsing hairline. His struggle leads him to David Warner and Debbie Harry, of all people, who make some outlandish promises about their services but end up totally delivering. Richard wakes up the morning following his treatment to find a long, Fabio-like, mane of hair on his head, but soon finds that the hair comes with a new set of problems. Otherworldly problems.
Lastly, we have a story titled Eye, directed by Tobe Hooper. Eye tells the story of a baseball player (Mark Hamill) who gets into a car accident that results in him losing an eye. He is then offered the opportunity to undergo an experimental eye transplant, which is successful but shortly after results in disturbing visions. As the visions become more frequent, his behaviour becomes more erratic until it seems he is completely under the control of the eye. But whose eye was it, you wonder? We told you this review was spoiler free!
The stories are centered around John Carpenter as a deranged coroner, taking pleasure in the more tragic ends of certain corpses and the stories they have to tell. Carpenter’s performance as the morbid, unstable morgue worker takes an already ingenious framing device to a new level of awesome. Bored by natural deaths, his character is hilarious as he sips formaldehyde martinis and browses toe tags looking for a gruesome story to tell. Carpenter isn’t the only director turned actor in the film, he brought along some of his director buddies too! We have Wes Craven as “Pasty Face Man,” who pulls off creepy pervert surprisingly well, Sam Raimi as “the employee of the month,” Roger Corman as an eye surgeon, and Tobe Hooper as “Morgue Worker #2.” These are just a few of what seems like endless celebrity cameos through the three stories which include David Naughton, Twiggy, Tom Arnold, Sheena Easton, and Greg Nicotero.
Body Bags is a collection of well made shorts, filled with tension, fun cameos, and tied together by a great framing device with a twist. But like we said earlier, this review is spoiler free. Whether you’re looking for something fun to watch on a night in alone or a movie to enjoy with friends, Body Bags has you covered. It’s got that classic early 90’s fun for the whole family horror kind of feel. Even if it is rated R. Kevin Spacey is Keyser Söze! Oops, I guess it’s not spoiler free anymore.