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Body Bags

This week, we discover what happens when two of the most legendary horror directors of all time team up to make one hell of an anthology film for cable.  

Filled with cameos from numerous members of the horror hall of fame, and directed by two undisputed Masters of Horror, this week’s Tubi Tuesday recommendation is the 90s horror anthology Body Bags.

Created for Showtime network, Body Bags was supposed to be the kick off of a horror anthology for the network to rival Tales from the Crypt over on HBO.  In an attempt to guarantee success, Showtime secured just about everyone relevant in horror at the time to be a part of the creation — most notably, directors Tobe Hooper and John Carpenter.  Yeah, you heard that right, Hooper and Carpenter together!  But they aren’t just directors; they are also the stars… sort of.

The film is broken up into three different stories hosted by none other than John Carpenter as a creepy old coroner in a dusty morgue.

You can certainly tell Carpenter was trying to channel the Crypt Keeper, and for the most part, it works. 

After some puns about dead bodies, we jump into the first segment of the anthology, The Gas Station, directed by Carpenter. This tale is about a late night gas station attendant outside of Haddonfield being stalked by a serial killer.  No, not Michael Myers. Instead, the big bad is Bill (played by Robert Carradine).

This is a tense little slasher which has decent scares and tons of cameos.  Some familiar faces you might spot are Wes Craven, Sam Raimi, David Naughton, and the legendary George “Buck” Flower.

Afterwards, we return to the morgue, where the coroner tells some more jokes and introduces the second segment of the film, Hair (also directed by Carpenter).

Hair stars Stacy Keach as a man who refuses to accept the fact that he is balding and envies men with hair. 

His marriage crumbling and his ego shattered, he takes desperate measures and gets an experimental surgery performed to bring back his hair. There’s just one problem. The hair is growing non-stop, all over his body. Worst of all, it’s sentient.  Enraged, he goes back to the doctor for answers only for it to be revealed to be a complex alien plot to take over the world.

This is the bizarre Carpenter that we get from time to time, but in a much smaller, more digestible dose.

With cameos from Greg Nicotero, David Warner and Sheena Easton, Hair is a fun little segment, perfect for the middle of the film.

The final segment of the film, Eye, is directed by Tobe Hooper and it is by far the best of the three. 

The biggest reason why it’s the best is because of the outstanding performance from Mark Hamill who plays all-star baseball player Brent Matthews. Brent loses an eye in a freak car accident.  Desperate to play ball again, he receives an eye transplant but soon starts seeing bizarre visions. It turns out, the eye came from a serial killer.

Hamill is absolutely unhinged in this film. His manic performance elevates this entire film to another level, and he screams about murder in a southern accent. With a special guest appearance by Roger Corman, Eye is perhaps one of the best horror shorts of all time.

Overall, Body Bags is a fantastic film. It’s a shame that Showtime decided to not make their planned anthology series. But at least we can still revel in the brilliance of this film, now streaming for free on Tubi. 

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies)

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