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Body Bags: Collector’s Edition (1993) - Blu-ray Review

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Body Bags - Blu-ray Review

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3 stars

Scream Factory, an imprint of Shout! Factory, and its love affair with writer/director John Carpenter continues with the release of Showtime’s anthology of horror, Body Bags.  Comprised of three short films – two directed by Carpenter and one directed by Tobe Hooper – are connected by a demented character that Carpenter himself plays called The Coroner.  While never as successful HBO’s Tales from the Crypt, Body Bags and its unending list of star and director cameos (like Roger Corman and Wes Craven) is great fun regardless of its age.

The anthology begins with Carpenter’s The Gas Station.  Alex Datcher plays Anne, a young college student who works the night shift at an all-night filling station near Haddonfield, Illinois.  She’s alone most of the time and thinks that she’ll catch up on her studies.  She’s not alone.  Ever.  The customers keep arriving.  Her creepy-pasty faced patrons; however, are no match for the machete-wielding craziness of Bill (Robert Carradine), the employee of the month.

In the second Carpenter-directed short Hair, Stacy Keach plays a middle-aged businessman who is very self-conscious about going bald.  He lets his obsession interfere with everything.  His desperation leads him to a 'miracle' hair transplant operation and, thanks to the extraterrestrial efforts of Dr. Lock (David Warner), things get really hairy.  He simply can’t stop growing hair because the follicles are alive.

And in Tobe Hooper’s Eye, Mark Hamill plays a baseball player who, in an unfortunate car accident, loses an eye.  He won’t give up his career, though.  Desperate to regain full use of his sight, Matthews resorts to an experimental surgical procedure to replace his eye with one from a recently deceased person.  This is a bad move on his part.  The eye belongs to a serial killer and – as Matthews has little control over his eye - the spirit of the dead killer slowly takes over his body.

The three stories are not really remarkable but they each one have their positives.  Even the clichéd situation of the beginning film has its fair share of scares.  And Hair is simply hysterical as Keach combats his own hair follicles.  Hooper’s Eye becomes a great metaphor that is well-serviced by his sharp direction and becomes freakishly more disturbing as it continues.

Showtime had high hopes for this anthology.  They wanted to combat the smash success of HBO’s Tales from the Crypt but somewhere along the way they simply lost faith in the project and released it theatrically for a short run.  It’s too bad really.  This could have been something instead of a one-off project.  It can now; however, yours to own thanks to the efforts of Scream Factory.

It’s becoming hard to find (already), so hunt down this blu-ray before it’s in its own body bag at a morgue near you.

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Body Bags - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for sexuality and horror violence.
Runtime:
91 mins
Director
: John Carpeneter; Tobe Hooper
Writer
: Billy Brown, Dan Angel
Cast:
John Carpenter, Tom Arnold, Tobe Hooper
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Zip yourself in tight!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Ah, body bags. You see, if it's murder, suicide or a nasty accident, they put them in here."
Distributor:
No theatrical release
Release Date:

DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 12, 2013

Synopsis: Three short stories in the horror genre. The first about a serial killer. The second about a hair transplant gone wrong. The third about a baseball player.

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Body Bags - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

3 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Collector's Edition

Available on Blu-ray - November 12, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Distributor: Shout Factory
Region Encoding:
A

Presented on Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1, Body Bags is damn fine.  The elements have aged quite beautifully.  Colors are well saturated and fine details are impeccable. Black levels are extremely solid.  With a healthy layer of grain, the transfer is wonderfully preserved.  Things turn a bit sour with the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix.  There is a sound issue with the “s” sound.  Apparently, when the dialogue was recorded, there were limitations to the devices used that no one noticed and, yes, whenever a word starts or ends with “s” there is a disturbing crackling in the recording.  It’s awful and, unfortunately, too difficult to make right.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There are three commentaries for each of the different movies.  Carpenter hosts the first two segments getting some good reminiscences out of his two stars (the banter between Carradine and Carpenter is especially enjoyable). Justin Beahm hosts producer Sandy King on the third segment.

Special Features:

For this release, Scream Factory gives fans two supplements.  The first is a fun and informative piece with Carpenter and his wife Sandy King (who co-produced), as well as some cast members like Carradine and Keach, discussing the genesis, shoot and legacy of the movie.  The second is a trailer.  Not much, but I guess we should be thrilled to have it back in print.

  • Unzipping Body Bags: Featurette with Cast and Crew Interviews (21 min)
  • Trailer

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