Crypt Keepin’ Carpenter (Body Bags, 1993)

body-bags-coverAn attempt by Showtime to create a Horror Anthology to compete with HBO’s Tales From the Crypt, Body Bags both starred and featured direction from John Carpenter.  Showtime killed the series but released the three shorts set against bookend segments hosted by Carpenter as a creepy coroner.  His assistant was Tobe Hooper, director of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Both directed a segment as well.

Just like the Crypt Keeper, the Coroner makes schlocky jokes, before introducing the story.  It is not entirely certain each bookend was meant for the story that followed.

The first tale, the Gas Station, is about a young woman on her first night working at a gas station on a lonely stretch of road.  After a parade of weirdos, she discovers she is being stalked by a serial killer.  It is not a unique story, but it is well done, with a nice little twist.  Wes Craven has an amusing cameo as a creepy drunk who hits on the young woman.

The second segment, Hair, is about a man who is obsessed with his thinning hair.  In spite of his girlfriend’s insistence that it does not matter to her, he cannot stop fearing losing his hair.  Everywhere he looks he sees luxurious heads of hair.  He drives his girlfriend away because he won’t accept himself.  One night, he discovers a clinic that promise actual regrowth of lost hair.  Richard runs to the clinic for their service.  He is stunned when they try and talk him out of it, but he wants hair.  But in the end, he finds the hair wants him just as much as he wants it.  This is an entertaining story with and entertaining performance from Stacy Keach.  This is also the most humorous of the stories.

The best segment is the Eye, starring Mark Hamill as a minor league baseball player whose career is cut short when he loses an eye. He is offered a chance at a new experimental surgery that gives him a donor eye.  But with the eye comes dark and depraved visions.  Are they his own or the previous owner of the eye? Hamill gives a strong performance.  Of the three tales, this is the best of the bunch.

As with all anthologies, some installments are better than others.  But thankfully, in the case of Body Bags, all three are ranging from decent to very good.  While the first two segments are directed by John Carpenter, the Eye is directed by Tobe Hooper.  This is an enjoyable film.  And for those curious…you get to see Luke Skywalker’s bare butt.

 

 

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