Man, oh man, do I have some serious love for the 1993 anthology flick, Body Bags, directed by John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper, and starring John Carpenter as the creepy coroner who bookends the stories. John Carpenter also did the music with Jim Lang, so we’re treated to his awesome synth music.
This movie brings just the right balance of gore and funny and, with its many cameos, is like a gift to horror fans.
“The Gas Station”
Alex Datcher stars as Anne, a college student working the overnight shift at a gas station in Haddonfield, Illinois.
That town has a killer problem. She deals with an assortment of weirdos, creepy devilish artwork in the bathroom, and the fact that a killer (Robert Carradine) is stalking her.
I think this might be my favorite segment. There is a legitimate sense of dread but it doesn’t have the brutality of “Eye.” Anne is a resourceful final girl and it’s delightful watching her take out the killer.
“Hair” is the funniest of the three segments. This segment was also directed by John Carpenter. Stacy Keach plays Richard Coberts, a middle-aged man who’s self-conscious about his thinning hair.
He sees an ad for a miracle hair thickening treatment and, voila! He has a long mane of masculine Fabio hair.
But there’s a price, as the hair doesn’t seem to stop growing and starts taking over the rest of his body.
There’s some great body horror in this segment, as we see hair coming out of wounds and eyes. Keach has a legitimately funny and sad performance as someone who’s so insecure and whose vanity has such bad consequences.
The last segment is directed by Tobe Hooper. Mark Hamill stars as Brent Mathews, a baseball player whose career is endangered when he’s in a car accident and loses an eye.
The Queen of Fashion, Twiggy, stars as his wife.
Luckily, Brent qualifies for a revolutionary eye transplant, courtesy of Drs. Bregman and Lang (Roger Corman! and B-movie mainstay John Agar).
Things get dark as Brent finds himself dreaming about killing women and having sex with them. Turns out the eye donor was an executed serial killer. Brent unravels and becomes more obsessed with killing women, including his wife.
This one was hard to watch. It had a distinctly different feel from the other segments. I’ve used the word “brutal” to describe it earlier and I think that’s accurate. You can feel Brent’s anger as he becomes more and more possessed and Mark Hamill really turns in a great performance as he goes crazy.
Apparently, this was supposed to be a Tales from the Crypt kind of the show but it wasn’t picked up so we’re just gifted with this little gem.
I’m not sure if this is on purpose but I was struck by the similarities between “Eye” and “Hair” and the “Hell Toupee” story in The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror IX,” when Homer gets a hair transplant from Snake after Snake is executed and starts acting like Snake.
I’m not sure if this was on purpose, I’ve only found some Simpsons-themed Wikipedia entries that mention it.
For me, one of the funnest things about this movie were the cameos. Sam Raimi and Sheena Easton had roles. There was also;
This movie is perfect for people who like their horror gross and liberally sprinkled with humor.