My History With the Film:
I remember seeing Body Bags VHS on occasion at the video store, but I was never compelled to rent it. Then it seemingly disappeared and I had forgotten all about it until two years ago, when I was researching some John Carpenter stuff. Body Bags was put on my list of movies to watch and I was waiting for a deal at Shout Factory but I just never got around to buying it.
One weekend in March 2020, I realized it was streaming on Amazon Prime so I sat down and gave it a watch.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
This is anthology with three segments: “The Gas Station” directed by John Carpenter, “Hair” directed by John Carpenter, and “The Eye” directed by Tobe Hooper. The tone is very much in line with EC Comics/Tales from the Crypt.
What I Liked About It:
-There were lots of horror directors cast in this movie: John Carpenter played The Coroner who hosts the film ala The Cryptkeeper style, Tobe Hooper plays a morgue worker, Wes Craven plays a creep at the gas station, Sam Raimi plays Dead Bill, and Roger Corman plays Dr. Bregman.
-John Carpenter’s score, particularly in the first segment “The Gas Station” is incredible and reminds me a lot of The Prince of Darkness score.
-Being an anthology, the segments all vary in quality. I loved the “The Gas Station” which was a slasher set at an overnight gas station which provided an amazing backdrop for all the horror. The third segment was called “The Eye” which was a disturbing take on an old horror story but was very well done. The second segment “Hair” was not really all that great and has aged badly due to primitive CGI and some stop motion animation.
-Mark Hamill (Brent Matthews) by far put on the best performance and Hamill was able to channel some of that creepiness he utilizes in his voice for The Joker and Chucky.
-John Carpenter’s character, The Coroner comes across like a knock off Cryptkeeper but in a good way. It’s different enough and the humor really makes the character work. At first I thought I’d hate it, but by the end I found myself looking forward to his time on the screen.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
-Like Tales from the Crypt, the acting can be all over the place. There is a lot of dark comedy infused so it’s worth knowing that going in. There is some overacting that works, and some that doesn’t.
-I could take or leave “Hair.” It wasn’t a terrible story, and I could easily see it being a weak episode in a series, but it really dragged the movie down in the middle of it. Then again, that was probably the best placement since “The Gas Station” was so great and “The Eye” was so intense. Might as well put the slow segment sandwiched between the two good ones.
-It took three hours to get John Carpenter (The Coroner) in makeup.
-Haddonfield is mentioned several times in the first segment “The Gas Station.” Haddonfield is the town that Halloween takes place in.
-This was originally shot as a pilot episode of an anthology series similar to Tales from the Crypt, but the show ended up not being produced.
-Debbie Harry from Blondie and Sheena Easton also had roles in the “Hair” segment.
I really enjoyed Body Bags, even more than I expected. I thought the movie was entertaining and I really liked the score. All three segments were different enough to keep my interest and I would have loved to see more episodes of Body Bags made.
I rate Body Bags a three out of five and say it’s a rental.