October 27, 2013

Filthy Review - 'Body Bags'

Body Bags (1993)

Review by Jude Felton

Of all the horror anthologies out there, Body Bags is one that I had not watched, until this new edition from Scream came along. So, it’s only taken me 20 years to get around to it, and I am actually kicking myself for this, as it’s damned good fun.

The film starts, as most anthologies tend to, with a wraparound story. This one features John Carpenter himself as a corpse in a morgue, who relays the tales that fill up this movie. Who would have known that Carpenter would deliver such a fun performance? Not me, that’s for sure, but he hams it up delightfully here.

On to the first of three segments proper and Body Bags opens up with The Gas Station. This short takes place at the gas station of the title, and follows Anne on her first day of work, which happens to be working the night shift. The tale itself is basic horror fair, and is basically a slasher style movie, with a killer on the loose. As simplistic as it is though, it is delightfully done, with a bevy of cool appearances from the likes of Wes Craven, Sam Raimi and David Naughton.

This is followed by the batshit Hair which, as was the case with The Gas Station, is also directed by Carpenter. This story follows the loony tunes Stacy Keach as he seeks to remedy his hair loss, with quite amusing results. Once again, the cast is peppered with some great performances, both big and small, and the story itself manages to surprise in its conclusion.

The final segment is entitled Eye, and is directed by Tobe Hooper, and to tell the truth was my least favorite by far. For whatever reason it didn’t truly hold my interest as we follow Mark Hamill’s baseball player that undergoes an eye transplant. Still, the cast was fun and it was by no means a bad movie, it just would have worked better as the opening, or second, segment.

Overall though, Body Bags was just delightful fun, from start to finish, just about. Aside from have some gruesome and outlandish tales; the film is filled to the brim with some great guest appearances, some of which I have already mentioned, whereas you can find the others. Body Bags is a movie with John Carpenter having fun, and a shit-ton of it. It might not always work, as is often the case with anthologies, however it does more often than it doesn’t.

As has been the case with some previous Scream Factory releases, they have given the royal treatment to another film that you might not expect to see given this sort of love and attention. New artwork, which I think it wonderful, adorns the front cover, and audio commentaries for all three main segments are also here. On top of that there’s also a short featurette and obligatory trailer, which all adds up to some worthy special features.

Having not previously seen Body Bags, I can’t honestly make a visual or aural comparison to previous releases of the film, but I will tell you that this looks just dandy on Blu-ray. The picture is nice and clean, and pops off the screen, and has a good sound accompaniment. All in all, another great looking release from Scream.

Body Bags might not have the prestige of Carpenter’s other more well-known movies, or Hooper’s for that matter, but it is a little gem of a flick. The balance of horror and humor is just right and, due to the very nature of the film, bears up to repeat viewings. This is the sort of film that puts the fun back into a genre that sometimes takes itself a little too seriously.

Highly recommended viewing, as the package is greater than the individual parts. You’ll definitely want to add this to your collection.

Body Bags is released by Scream Factory on November 12th

(The stills contained in this review are used purely to illustrate the review and do not necessarily represent this Blu-ray release)

No comments: