I have a confession to make, the VHS box art for BODY PARTS scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. The box for the VHS just freaked me out and I was too scared to want to watch it. That was the beauty of VHS, the covers! Especially when it came to horror, if the cover looked creepy (looking at you CHILD’S PLAY 1, 2 and 3) I would be freaked out and I didn’t want to see it. But that then just build the films up in my mind, they were scary without ever having seen them. To this day because of the bloody VHS box art have not seen DR GIGGLES! The cover and tag line gave me nightmares, maybe one day I will get there!
Several years ago however, I did finally get to see BODY PARTS, the artwork wasn’t as scary now and with it being an Eric Red film starring Jeff Fahey I couldn’t resist. The film is fantastic, I do have a lot of love for it and I am sure if I saw it when I was younger it would have freaked me out! Revisiting the film for 90’s Horror Movie Month was a joy, it really is a fun and entertaining horror flick that works because it is so simple and it taps into such a raw fear. This is kind of a Frankenstein-esque story (visual nods are there throughout the film), and done almost like a mystery film.
It centers around psychiatrist Bill Crushank (Jeff Fahey), who works with inmates at the local prison. One day he is in a car accident, and his arm needs to be amputated. But all is not lost, as a Doctor called Agatha Webb (Lindsay Duncan) approaches Bill’s wife Karen (Kim Delaney) and tells him they can give him a new arm through a transplant. Without time to think she signs the form and Bill has a new arm from what he believes is a recently deceased donor. Once the arm is working, Bill starts having nightmares and finds his arm is doing things all on its own. He heads out to discover why, and looks up other transplant patients who got parts from the same body Remo (Brad Dourif) and Mark (Peter Murnik). But will they find out the truth of all this before it’s too late?
This is a film with a great premise, it instantly hooks the audience and the mystery really is the icing on the cake. I like that it opens us up to a body horror film, one that isn’t about mutilation or a weird transformation but the fears of transplant. Will you change having someone else’s organ or body part? Does your soul ever really leave your parts? It’s something interesting to think about and especially today as transplant advances. This is a natural fear, and it does come full swing here as Bill does start to change and he isn’t really sure why. This storyline was done in a SIMPSONS Halloween special where Homer gets a hair transplant from town criminal Snake and begins to take on his habits.
The performances here are quite solid, but the film does belong to its star Jeff Fahey who plays a very haunted man after the accident and transplant. As things happen, he’s scared and at a loss about it but no one wants to listen or understand and because of this is family suffers. He is in most of the scenes and he’s got the right kind of presence to hold a film together and keep us all interested in the story and have is very much on his side. Kudos to the always fantastic Eric Red for a wonderful film, and it does come highly recommended.