Body Bags (film)

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Body Bags
Body Bags FilmPoster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Carpenter
Tobe Hooper
Produced by Dan Angel
John Carpenter
Sandy King
Written by Billy Brown
Dan Angel
Starring Stacy Keach
David Warner
Sheena Easton
Debbie Harry
Mark Hamill
Twiggy
Robert Carradine
Music by John Carpenter
Jim Lang
Cinematography Gary Kibbe
Edited by Edward A. Warschilka
Production
company
Release dates
8 August 1993 (original airdate)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Body Bags is a 1993 American horror sci-fi anthology film, originally made for television, featuring three unconnected stories, with bookend segments featuring John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper as deranged morgue attendees.[1] It was directed by Carpenter, Hooper and Larry Sulkis.[1] It first aired on 8 August 1993. It is notable for its numerous celebrity cameo appearances.

The first story, "The Gas Station", features Robert Carradine as a serial killer, with cameos by Sam Raimi and Wes Craven. "Hair" follows Stacy Keach as he receives a botched hair transplant that infests him with an alien parasite. "Eye" is another transplant story, this time featuring Mark Hamill as a baseball player who loses an eye in a car accident and receives a transplant, only to be taken over by the personality of the eye's previous owner, a murderous misogynist.

Plot[edit]

Prologue

A creepy-looking coroner introduces three different horror tales involving his current work on cadavers in "body bags".

"The Gas Station"[edit]

Anne is a young college student who arrives for her first job working the night shift at an all-night filling station near Haddonfield, Illinois (a reference to the setting of Carpenter's two Halloween films). The attending worker, Bill, tells her that a serial killer has broken out of a mental hospital, and cautions her not to leave the booth at the station, which is to be kept locked at all times. After Bill leaves, Anne is alone and the tension mounts as she deals with various late-night customers seeking to buy gas for a quick fill-up, unsure whether one of them might be the escaped maniac. Eventually, when Anne suspects that the escaped killer is lurking around the gas station, she tries to call the police, only to find that the phone line is dead. Soon after that, she finds a dead body in one of the lockers, that of a station attendant with a nametag saying "Bill". Anne realizes that "Bill", the attending worker she met earlier, is in fact the escaped killer, who has killed the real Bill and is killing numerous passers-by. "Bill" then reappears and attempts to kill Anne with a machete, breaking into the locked booth and chasing her around the deserted garage. Just as he is about to kill her, a customer returns, having forgotten his credit card, and he and Anne stop the killer by throwing him under a car on a garage rack. Anne pushes the lift button, making the car come crashing down, cutting the deranged killer in two.

"Hair"[edit]

Richard Coberts is a middle-aged businessman who is very self-conscious about his thinning hair. This obsession has caused a rift between him and his long-suffering girlfriend Megan. Richard answers a television ad about a "miracle" hair transplant operation, pays a visit to the office, and meets the shady Dr. Lock, who, for a very large fee, agrees to give Richard a surgical procedure to make his hair grow back. The next day, Richard wakes up and removes the bandage around his head, and is overjoyed to find that he has a full head of hair. But over the next few days, Richard becomes increasingly sick and fatigued, and finds himself growing hair on parts of his body, such as the palms of his hands, where hair does not normally grow. Trying to cut some of the hair off, he finds that it "bleeds", and, examining some of the hairs under a magnifying glass, sees that they are alive. He goes back to Dr. Lock for an explanation, but finds himself a prisoner as Dr. Lock explains that he and his entire staff are aliens from another planet, seeking out narcissistic human beings and planting seeds of "hair" to take over their bodies for consumption as part of their plan to spread their essence to Earth.

"Eye"[edit]

Brent Matthews is a baseball player whose life and career take a turn for the worse when he gets into a serious car accident in which his right eye is gouged out. Unwilling to admit that his career is over, he jumps at the chance to undergo an experimental surgical procedure to replace his eye with one from a recently deceased person. But soon after the surgery he begins to see things out of his new eye that others cannot see, and begins having nightmares of killing women and having sex with them. Brent seeks out the doctor who operated on him, and the doctor tells him that the donor of his new eye was a recently executed serial killer and necrophile who killed several young women, and then had sex with their dead bodies. Brent becomes convinced that the spirit of the dead killer is taking over his body so that he can resume killing women. He flees back to his house and tells his skeptical wife, Cathy, about what is happening. Just then the spirit of the killer emerges and attempts to kill Cathy as well. Cathy fights back, subduing him long enough for Brent to re-emerge. Realizing that it is only a matter of time before the killer emerges again, Brent cuts out his donated eye, severing his link with the killer, but then bleeds to death.

Epilogue The coroner is finishing telling his last tale when he hears a noise from outside the morgue. He crawls back inside a body bag, revealing that he himself is a living cadaver, as two other morgue workers begin to go to work on his "John Doe" corpse.

Cast[edit]

Background[edit]

Showtime Networks planned to create Body Bags as a television series similar to HBO's Tales from the Crypt.[citation needed] However, shortly after filming began, Showtime decided that not to pursue the series.[citation needed] The three completed stories were assembled around John Carpenter's narration segment, and Body Bags became a horror anthology.[citation needed]

The film was released on Blu-ray in Shout Factory!'s Scream Factory series in late fall 2013.

Critical reception[edit]

Body Bags was generally well received by critics and holds a 78% approval rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on nine reviews with an average score of 5.7/10.[2]

However, Time Out (London, UK) called the film "an attempt by a pair of one-time horror auteurs to emulate the successful Tales from the Crypt formula, only now it's nowhere near as happening."[3]

See also[edit]

  • Nightmares - a 1983 anthology film with television roots.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Maçek III, J.C. (12 November 2013). "'Body Bags' Gives Us John Carpenter at His Funniest". PopMatters. 
  2. ^ "Body Bags". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Body Bags Review. Movie Reviews - Film - Time Out London". Time Out. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 

External links[edit]

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