Wednesday, June 29, 2011

body bags

Last month Karen G. listed some retro horror favorites. One of them, From A Whisper to A Scream is an entertaining 80s anthology film.  I'm into those now, so while perusing World of Video, my friend Jerome recommended Body Bags.  We rented it on VHS and had a lot of jump scares and laughs.

In the first tale, simply titled "The Gas Station,"  Alex Datcher plays a newly employed attendant on an unsettling night shift.  The finale is a bit over-the-top but the believable, low-key atmosphere (similar to what John Carpenter did best with Halloween) delivers creepy goods.

Carpenter is less successful in the cheesy Rogaine-gone-wrong "Hair" which features one odd cast: Stacy Keach, Sheena Easton, Debbie Harry, and Burgess Meredith.  There's a misplaced keyboard jazz demo score, clunky dialogue, and mood-killer lighting.  But the morbid special effects, wacky, Twilight Zone-inspired story and that bizarre cast make it fun.

Tobe Hooper plays it pretty straight "Eye" which has mustached Mark Hamill as a baseball player who gets unfortunate eye surgery after a car wreck.  Hooper's intense flashbacks are the tale's most effective moments.  A de-glammed Twiggy as the concerned wife is pretty amusing. There are plenty of optical allusions to the Bible.

In "The Morgue," the film's bookend segments, Carpenter is loose with lots of unfunny wisecracks about cadavers.  It's kind of sad that this never did get the Showtime series it planned to have (a would-be relative of HBO's Tales from the Crypt).  I'm so grateful to Jerome for finding this hilarious little made-for-cable horror gem. **1/2

-Jeffery Berg

1 comment:

  1. What a great review of "Bags" - I haven't had the time to see the whole thing but I did see "Hair". I will definitely make a point to get this on my list!!! So many great movies - so little time.