The Horror Honeys: Slasher Hexmas ~ Where Corpses Check In, But Don't Check Out!

Slasher Hexmas ~ Where Corpses Check In, But Don't Check Out!

A Revenge Honey Slasher Hexmas Review by Linnie

Body Bags (1990)

A horror anthology is a glorious thing. Even the worst anthologies usually have at least one segment that shines, which makes every horror anthology worth checking out. But a horror anthology made and populated entirely with industry insiders is something to be treasured, and John Carpenter's Body Bags is one such anthology. Sure, one segment stands above the other two, and one is downright unbearable, but the positives about Body Bags do far outweigh the negatives, so you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not adding it to your collection!

As always, we'll take the wraparound story and each segment in turn, then review the movie as a whole at the end.

The Wraparound, The Morgue: A very creepy coroner (played by Carpenter himself) tends a morgue late at night, telling stories and staying busy by poking fun at the people who have found themselves on his slab. As quippy and sarcastic as the Coroner is, you can't help but feel Carpenter is just playing a version of himself, and this isn't a bad thing. Funny, twisted, and featuring a surprise cameo from Ron Jeremy (if you don't already know who he plays, good luck finding him), The Morgue is one of the more entertaining anthology wraparound stories I've ever seen.

Revenge Honey Anthology Rating: 4 body bags out of 5

Segment One, The Gas Station: Directed by Carpenter, The Gas Station is by far the short most stocked with genre favorites. This film is a veritable who's who of the horror industry, including appearances from Sam Raimi, Peter Jason, Robert Carradine, David Naughton, and the late Wes Craven.

The Gas Station is the kind of old-school slasher that Craven and Carpenter originated, in that we have a final girl in peril, an unknown killer, a series of red herrings, and an awesome final showdown. It's the perfect horror short, in that it's exactly enough tension for about fifteen minutes but it would never work full-length. Personally, I could watch this segment over and over again just for David Naughton, who I never tire of, howling at the full moon or not. The Gas Station is my favorite by far and I think, stylistically and narratively, the strongest.

Revenge Honey Anthology Rating: 4 body bags out of 5

Segment Two, Hair: Carpenter's second segment is the one that I struggle most with in terms of how I feel about it. Starring Stacy Keach as Richard, a man so obsessed with the fact he's going bald, he agrees to undergo experimental hair replacement surgery with a strange doctor (David Warner), and his sexy nurse (Debbie Harry, who is, without argument, sexy), we know immediately that something is going horribly wrong with Rick's new locks. I struggle with Hair because, 1) rapidly growing hair isn't terribly scary, and 2) Stacy Keach with long Fabio hair is NOT sexy. Hell, hairy Stacy Keach is just... icky. Hairy Robert Downey Jr. in Fur? That's a different story.

So, do I bring my own barf bag, or...
Oh. Well. That's not so bad. I can deal with that.
Anyway. Hair isn't scary nor do I find it particularly funny. But it's a decent meditation on the vanity of... Southern Californians, and it's worth it to see Debbie Harry dressed up like a nurse. As well as Greg Nicotero showing off his actual 90s Fabio locks. Just, don't expect too clever a payoff.

Revenge Honey Anthology Rating: 3 body bags out of 5

Segment Three, The Eye: One thing I am NOT conflicted about is how I feel toward Tobe Hooper's The Eye... I hate it. I don't know how the rest of the horror community feels, but when it comes to Hooper, anything after Lifeforce and I'm just, annoyed. This is especially true of The Eye, a film in which he unfortunately partnered with Mark Hamill, who I also find incredibly annoying when he's not doing voice-over work.

Too bad it wasn't both eyes. Could have saved us a LOT of trouble.
Hamill plays a minor-league baseball player married to Twiggy who loses an eye in a car accident and has it replaced with the eye of an executed serial killer. We've seen variations on this story before, but it's not the repetition that put me on edge. It's one particular scene, in which a stark naked Hamill inflicts a particularly violent martial rape on a pregnant Twiggy with no remorse. This isn't scary, it isn't unsettling; it's simply in poor taste and 100% unnecessary. I'm actually disappointed that Carpenter even included this film in his anthology.

Revenge Honey Anthology Rating: 1 body bag out of 5
(The 1 is for Twiggy for putting up with this bullshit)

Body Bags was meant to be an anthology series for Showtime, with the film acting as the pilot, but when Showtime saw the film, they pulled out. And despite my affection for certain elements, I can't say that I blame them. Not that the eventual Masters of Horror series was an across the board win, but at least there, classic horror directors were given the opportunity to shine. Here, we got the best, and the worst of what the fetishization of nostalgia has to offer. The good is great, but the bad? It's a really unpleasant reminder of what happens when horror fails.

Revenge Honey Overall Rating: 3 & 1/2 body bag out of 5

Body Bags is available via Shout Factory's Roku App, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, & Shout Factory Blu-ray!

Which is your favorite segment in Body Bags?
Tell me on Twitter: @linnieloowho