by Groovinator, The Cynical Cyborg
Having recently watched John Carpenter presents Body Bags, I am often reminded of why I enjoy anthology films so much. Most of the problems with most horror movies now days, is that all of them usually have a pretty good hook, or premise, but don’t necessarily have a lot of substance outside of that. We are usually stuck with a lot of boring character development, sub plots, and conflicts that may or not pay off, or are quickly ended with a kill, until we finish the movie with that final girl scene. With anthology films you can cut out all of that extra baggage, and just skip to the original scary ideas. I always view them as the buffet of horror movies. You are treated to a plethora of scary stories. Sometimes they are told by a narrator of some sort, like the Crypt Keeper, Boris Karloff, or Vincent Price. Sometimes the stories are related, or are tied up by one overarching story going on between shorts.
It is no big secret here, that yours truly is a huge fan of John Carpenter, always have been, and always will be. Carpenter has the secret formula for what makes something scary good, campy good, and scary campy good. This movie juggles all 3 with a steady revolving cast of famous horror directors, and actors along the way. This movie was made for Showtime, back in 1993, and I am sad that it was never followed up on, but such is the ever continuing case of Carpenter movies that are made, forgotten, and then develop a following several years later.
In Body Bags, John Carpenter billed as “The Coroner”, tells the audience about how exciting the stories are about body bags, especially the ones the police bring in. The short is about gas station attendant’s first night shift, and all of the horrors that may follow. The horrors that follow involve everything as simple as locking herself out of the cashier booth to creepy fellows that come and go during the night. Many of them want to engage in late night conversations that will make her feel extremely uncomfortable. It’s a simple thriller that has a nice payoff.
Second involves Stacy Keech loosing his hair and really wanting to do something about it, no matter how extreme, or what the outcome may involve. Let’s just say it is a good lesson, of if something is too good to be true, it probably is.
The last one involves a 1993 Mark Hamill as a baseball player who looses an eye in a car accident. He undergoes a very risky surgery, which involves an eye transplant that causes him to see things from a very dark perspective. And when I say dark, you had better brace yourselves. This one is creepy as hell, but the creepiest of feelings is watching a younger Mark Hamill in a sex scene with Twiggy. With The Force as my witness, and my Star Wars Fandom be damned, I could have gone my entire life without having to look into Luke Skywalker’s taint! I have seen the dark side my friends, and there are definitely no cookies. You have been warned!
Butt seriously, I love all anthology films, and this one is no exception. I won’t let Hamill’s brown eye ruin this one for me. The movie is a fun ride, and perfect for Halloween. There are tons of cameos along the way from Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, Tom Arnold, Debbie Harry, Roger Coreman, and others. It ends on one of Carpenter’s famous ambiguous endings as well.
I am giving this one a 4 out of 5 cheese curds. I recommend you check this movie out as soon as possible. You can purchase the film digitally on Amazon right now for less than the price of a rental. It belongs in any Carpenter or horror film buff’s collection.