Body Bags (1993)
Directed by John Carpenter & Tobe Hooper
BB is a great little horror anthology by John Carpenter where he plays the host, a corpse in the morgue that finds different bodies of interest, and introduces the stories through their misfortunes. It was made for Showtime as a TV series jump off thus it had budget restrictions that limited effects to blood and violence. It first aired in 1993. The series never got the green light but the film still lives on.
A woman, Anne, comes in for the midnight shift at a self serve gas station. All she has to do is take money, charge credit cards, turn on pumps and…survive the night. Her first customer creeps up to the window slow and zombie-like while her back is turned, then scares the crap out of her by banging on the glass. Well, that customer is none other than, Wes Craven, in a surprise cameo. The next customer (David Naughton, American Werewolf…) uses his credit card then leaves without it. When Anne runs out to catch him, she accidentally locks herself out. The solitude and isolation of the lonely station begins to unnerve her. We have a homeless man come by for a bathroom key, (George Buck Flower, a familiar player in Carpenter films) then another car with yet another Carpenter regular, Peter Jason. After he leaves the woman retrieves the Men’s Room key only to discover there’s someone in the garage bay. She enters the garage and finds the homeless man murdered. A maniacal killer attacks her and she fights back in classic Carpenter cat and mouse suspense style.
In the next story, Richard (Stacey Keach), is going bald and feels bad about it despite his girlfriend, Megan (Sheena Easton – she was a famous 80s singer) saying it‘s alright. He’s doing the Trump sweep over and spray, and trying a hundred products that don’t work. He sees an add on TV and calls the company about hair implants that carry a strange caveat. David Warner is the company CEO and we have the lovely Debbie Harry playing a Nurse in this episode. His grows hair like you wouldn’t believe. But the hair doesn’t stop growing. Turns out it’s a living organism. There’s a really disgusting part where he finds some growing in his throat. This segment is an ugly lesson in vanity.
The last one has Mark Hamill, (yes the Star Wars Luke Skywalker guy) as a minor league baseball player, who gets an eye transplant and takes on the characteristics of the organ doner. Turns out the organ donor was a sadistic serial killer. He begins getting migraine headaches and having terrible visions. There are some shocking visions of the dead victims crawling out of the dirt in his yard. He starts treating his wife badly and acting violent. This epi has a great gruesome ending.
This is a great addition to the horror anthology legacy. The stories are simple but effective making it a good watch. The fact that it had a lower budget and two of the segments were based on urban legends makes it more gritty than Creepshow or the HBO Tales From the Crypt series. For that reason it feels more relevant to modern horror tastes. An added enjoyment was picking up on the cameos as they appeared in the film
Gritty, realistic style lets it stand up well to today’s horror flicks.
I give it 3.7 psycho slashers out of 5 on the blood soaked anthology of horror scale.
There’s also cameos in the film by Sam Raimi, Greg Nicotero, Roger Corman, Tom Arnold, Tobe Hooper, and John Agar.
In “The Gas Station” segment, look for the news report that tells of a dead body turning up in Haddonfield.
Clive Barker was asked to do a cameo but couldn’t make the shoot due to a conflicting schedule.