Body Bags (film)

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Body Bags
Body Bags FilmPoster.jpeg
US poster
GenreSci-Fi
Horror
Comedy
Thriller
Written byBilly Brown
Dan Angel
Directed byJohn Carpenter
Tobe Hooper
StarringStacy Keach
David Warner
Sheena Easton
Debbie Harry
Mark Hamill
Twiggy
Robert Carradine
Music byJohn Carpenter
Jim Lang
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
Executive producersDan Angel
John Carpenter
Sandy King
ProducersDan Angel
Sandy King
Production locations13030 Pearblossom Hwy, Pearblossom, California
Newhall, California
Downtown, Los Angeles
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles
Pearblossom, California
CinematographyGary B. Kibbe
EditorEdward A. Warschilka
Running time91 minutes
Production companies187 Corp.
Showtime Networks
Release
Picture formatColor
Audio formatDolby
Original releaseAugust 8, 1993 (original airdate)

Body Bags is a 1993 American horror comedy anthology television film featuring three unconnected stories, with bookend segments featuring John Carpenter, Tom Arnold and Tobe Hooper as deranged morgue attendees.[1] It was directed by Carpenter, Hooper and Larry Sulkis.[1] It first aired on August 8, 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 David Naughton, Sam Raimi, and Wes Craven. "Hair" follows Stacy Keach as he receives a botched hair transplant that infests him with an alien parasite. "Eye" features 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 killer.

Plot[edit]

Prologue[edit]

A creepy-looking coroner welcomes the audience to the morgue where he works. He looks over the new cadavers that have arrived, but is disappointed that a majority of them are listed as having died by natural causes. The coroner takes notice of a particular body bag sitting nearby, mentioning that it was found on a deserted stretch of highway one night.

"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 leaving worker, Bill, reminds her that a serial killer has broken out of a nearby mental hospital, and cautions her not to leave the booth at the station without the keys because the door locks automatically. After Bill leaves, Anne is left alone, and the tension begins mounting as she deals with various late-night customers seeking to buy gas for a quick fill-up, purchase cigarettes, or just use the restroom key, unsure whether any of them might be the escaped maniac. A homeless man asks to use the restroom, and when a partying couple arrives, she asks the man to check on the bum. When the man returns, he says the homeless man is sleeping. After the couple leaves, Annie goes inside the men's restroom, only to find an elaborately grotesque drawing of a demonic entity carrying beheaded people on one of the walls, and the dead body of the homeless man sitting in a pickup truck on the lift in one of the garage bays. Trying to call for help, Anne realizes that "Bill", the attending worker she met earlier, is in fact the escaped killer, having killed the real Bill and stolen his uniform so he can kill continue killing passers-by. She finds the real Bill's dead body in one of the lockers. Serial killer "Bill" then reappears and attempts to kill Anne with a machete, breaking into the locked booth by smashing the glass with a sledgehammer. Anne temporarily stops him by smacking him in the face with a chair, but the killer quickly resumes his pursuit of her, chasing her around the deserted garage. Just as he is about to kill her, a customer named Pete returns, having forgotten his credit card earlier. He wrestles the killer, and while he fails to subdue him, the diversion gives Anne time to crush the maniac under the vehicle lift.

Back in the morgue, the coroner continues to go through cadavers. He finds a body bag that contains a plastic bag filled with flesh, blood, and hair. The coroner mentions that the bag's contents were a person who fell off a building and landed on a car that swerved in front of a train.

"Hair"[edit]

Richard Coberts is a middle-aged businessman who is very self-conscious about his thinning hairline. His obsession with his hair has caused a rift between him and his long-suffering girlfriend Megan. Richard answers a television ad for Roswell Hair Growth Laboratories, a company that specializes in a "miracle" hair transplant procedure. Richard pays a visit to the company's office, and meets the company president, Dr. Lock, who agrees to give Richard a solution to make his hair grow back. The next day, Richard wakes up and removes the bandages around his head, discovering that he has a full head of hair, much to his and Megan's enjoyment. As time passes, Richard becomes increasingly sick and fatigued as his hair continues to grow, even growing out of parts of his body where hair does not normally grow. Trying to cut off a hair that has grown inside his mouth, he hears a small shriek. Examining it under a magnifying glass, Richard discovers that his new hair is actually a mass of tiny, serpentine creatures. He rushes back to the laboratory, demanding an explanation for what has happened to him. Dr. Lock explains that he and his entire staff are hosts for the creatures, which are actually aliens from another planet. The aliens seek out narcissistic human beings and plant their seeds of "hair" to consume their brains and take over their bodies as part of their plan to conquer Earth. Soon after this reveal, Richard is dragged away into an adjacent room, spending his last moments before going braindead watching as Dr. Lock's nurse snips and collects samples of his "hair" for "implant collections".

Back in the morgue, the coroner examines his own hair in a mirror, remarking that he's going a little bald himself. Deciding that there is time for one more story to tell, he discovers a glass container with a severed eye inside.

"Eye"[edit]

Brent Matthews is a talented baseball player for the Buffalo Bisons. After a successful game, he calls his pregnant wife Cathy to let her know he'll be home soon. During the drive home, Brent swerves to avoid a deer in the middle of the road, causing him to get into a serious car accident in which his right eye is impaled by a shard of glass. 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. Soon after the surgery, Brent begins to see visions with his new eye that others cannot see, such as a bloodied corpse in his backyard, a woman extinguishing a cigarette on his face, and himself killing women and having sex with them. Brent seeks out the doctor who operated on him, who tells him that the donor of his new eye was a man named John Randall who was recently executed. Visiting the library, Brent discovers that John Randall was a serial killer and necrophile who killed several young women and then had sex with their dead bodies as a result of growing up with an abusive mother. With this information, Brent becomes convinced that the visions are a result of Randall's spirit possessing his body through his eye so that he can resume his killing spree. He flees back to his house and tells a skeptical Cathy about what is happening. Just then, Randall possesses Brent and attempts to kill Cathy. Cathy fights back, subduing Randall long enough for Brent to re-emerge. Realizing that it is only a matter of time before Randall emerges again, Brent stabs his donated eye with a pair of garden scissors, severing his link with Randall, but causing him to bleed to death.

Epilogue[edit]

Back in the morgue, the coroner finds Brent's corpse in a body bag, questioning why he was so upset with losing his eye. Suddenly, he hears a noise from outside the morgue. He crawls inside a body bag, revealing that he himself is a cadaver brought to life. The noise is shown to be the walking of two other morgue workers, who label the faux coroner as a "John Doe" corpse and go to work on him.

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 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.

Soundtrack[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Body Bags was generally well received by critics and holds a 67% approval rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 12 reviews with an average score of 5.56/10.[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 February 26, 2020.
  3. ^ "Body Bags Review. Movie Reviews - Film - Time Out London". Time Out. Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2012.

External links[edit]