This Halloween HaddonfieldHorror looks at the Anthology film, bite sized chunks of horror easily crammed into your brain, much like the handfuls of chocolates and candies being stuffed into your mouth, here @TigersMS78 unzips Body Bags…
I love anthology films. I always have and I always will. There is a campfire story quality to these films in whatever format they are presented in. Like the kid at school who swears that what he is about tell you is true and then proceeds to regale you with a tale about how his neighbour eats little children and you’re terrified for two reasons, one because it might be true and two because if it isn’t true then how does the story teller have all the scary details…For me anthology films tap into that spirit.
I’ve got a little confession for you all – I had never seen Body Bags before, despite having an obvious love of horror, this one seemed to have escaped me – until now. Released in 1993 Body Bags has a shed load of horror pedigree the following people were involved in the film, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, Sam Raimi, Greg Nicotero, Roger Corman, Rick Baker & Robert Kurtzman so basically this should be the greatest film on earth – but it’s not. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have its moments be they horrific or comedic but to be fair it should be judged on its individual stories and not as a whole film.
The wrap around story the binds everything together has a creepy morgue attendant played by Carpenter, walking around the morgue looking for bodies that have died traumatically as a lead in for the stories the first of which is called The Gas Station.
The Gas Station is directed by Carpenter and the setting and setup are quite good and loaded with potential, Anne (Alex Datcher), a college student arrives for her first nights work as a gas station, the TV tells us a serial killer has escaped a mental institution and the worker that Annie takes over from tells her to be careful and to not leave the booth. As the night wears on Annie comes across several strange happenings before the serial killer just happens to show up…For a great setting and with a director that prototyped stalk and slash films, there is little to be worried about here, it is almost devoid of any real scares (jump or otherwise) and only really gets going in the last five minutes.
The second tale is simply called Hair. Of course for a lot of males going bald is a big issue, for Richard (Stacy Keach) it’s something that consumes his life. After getting to the point where his girlfriend leaves him, Richard sees an ad on TV about a miracle in hair growth and decides to go to the clinic to get some hair. Surprisingly it works leaving Richard with a flowing mane…that won’t stop growing…I won’t spoil the ending but suffice to say that it was at least an original ending and the effects for the time were excellent.
The final story in the film is my favourite one by far. Eye directed by Tobe Hooper, tells the story of a baseball player Brent (Mark Hamill) that lost his eye in an accident and has had an eye transplant. After a day or two at home, Brent starts to see things, buried bodies rising from the ground. Brent also starts having nightmares about having sex with recently deceased women…so there are problems…again I won’t spoil the ending but this story was far and away the best of the bunch, it had some shocking images and managed to actually manufacture a feeling of unease in a short amount of time.
All up Body Bags is a pretty pedestrian affair despite the names involved. However it does have some value and should you find it on TV one day or need something light to watch Body Bags would certainly be a viable option despite its shortcomings.
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Images: IMDb & popmatters.com