Body Bags (1993)
Natural causes… Natural causes…
I hate natural causes!
Give me a big stab wound to poke at and then I’m happy.
Body bags is an anthology film starring John Carpenter, who also directs some of the segments and provides music, as an undertaker who is in love with his job a tad too much acting as storyteller for the three upcoming tales.
“The Petrol Station”
Well its really called The Gas Station but I’m not American.
Anne is starting her new job at a petrol station near Haddonfield doing the late shift where even though it is quiet she meets enough oddballs to make an already nervous college student thankful that she probably lives near Smith’s Grove Sanitarium too.
Of course there’s a killer about and when the segment finally gets to it we have probably 5 minutes of lacklustre action but a nice bloody death.
The setting is nice and it is filmed nicely too but just not enough happens with the oddballs, as they aren’t odd enough, to make the build up which goes on for far too long be as entertaining as it needs to be.
Though it is entertaining.
Richard Coberts (Stacey Keach) is a man worried about his hair thinning. When I say worried I mean obsessing about it to the point of driving people insane which isn’t good when your girlfriend (Sheena Easton) isn’t the most of understanding or patient of individuals.
So he sees an advert for a new hair replacement procedure and books himself an appointment after he has embarrassed himself by trying to solve his problem himself.
He meets Dr. Lock and his amorous assistant played by David Warner and Debbie Harry and promptly agrees to the procedure when shown an image of what he would look like with luscious long locks.
Luscious long locks he does indeed end up with but there’s a twist or two in store.
Whilst Stacey and Sheena put in good performances their relationship comes across as some late 80’s yuppie friends with benefits crap and this segment only gets going when David Warner and Debbie Harry are introduced. After that the segment teases you with just enough to make you think you know what is going on before all is revealed.
There is some decent special effects here. Some of that early CGI that is more than passable which is how you can describe the wigs used too.
It is slow to get started but has a nice pay-off which like in The Gas Station comes late into the segment and over too quickly.
Mark Hamill is a professional Rounders player playing out of his skin and that isn’t a hint as to what’s coming, that crashes his car on the way home from a big game.
Losing one of his eyes he thinks his career is over until a doctor with a radical organ transplant procedure offers him the chance to keep playing if he agrees to try out his experimental procedure.
To save his career he agrees and naturally the eye transplant is a success though there is a big side-effect that rears its ugly head.
He goes home with his loving wife played by Twiggy but starts to experience visions.
Visions of dead women as well as an abusive mother. His personality starts to change and becomes hostile to the point of abusive to his wife.
The tone of this one doesn’t fit with the rest of the film as it goes on. It is nastier and not as light as the other two were and hearing Mark Hamill repeatedly call his wife a whore seems wrong but is something you need to see.
Despite the way it doesn’t fit I do think this is the best of the three tales largely due because of Marks performance which goes from hammy to genuinely good and disturbing.
The problem with all three is it takes too long to get to the point of each story, the build ups could be better and the twists or showdowns are only a few minute longs.
The Gas Station is your classic slasher flick but from the reveal that there is someone out to kill her til the end is probably 5 minutes in a 30 minute short.
The rest is dealing with someone homeless, drunks or a sleazy old man played by Wes Craven. This wouldn’t be so bad for the stories if the script was wittier.
Things improve with each following story but more work could’ve been put into the scripts.
With Tobe Hooper joining the directing order the cast includes some famous names such as Sam Raimi, David Naughton, Roger Corman, Tom Arnold and Charles Napier to go with those already mentioned.
The John Carpenter links are fun and themselves have a nice little twist at the end and overall this is fun to watch at least once even if it is lacking compared to similar films like Creepshow.
I’m guessing part of the reason is because this is apparently a pilot to an anthology TV series so being a TV film standards will be lower however this easily passes for a full feature.
Give it a go.