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Body Parts – 7


Director – Eric Red

Cast – Jeff Fahey, Lindsay Duncan, Kim Delaney, Zakes Mokae, Brad Dourif, John Walsh, Paul Ben-Victor, Peter Murnik, James Kidnie

Release Year – 1991

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Body Parts is a film that has been on my handwritten list of films to watch for quite some time, although I could not remember why I had listed it in the first place.  The storyline seemed OK, but I had never heard of it and could not fathom why I would take the time to write it down, but after coming across a chance to view this piece I must say that this underrated effort brought a good experience in the end despite a slow start.

After miraculously surviving a terrible accident and losing his arm in the process, psychologist Bill Crushank(Jeff Fahey; Planet Terror, Machete, The Lawnmower Man, Terror Trap remake) takes part in a groundbreaking surgery where he is successfully given a new arm.  He enamored to have his “life” back, however he soon experiences strange hallucinations and homicidal thoughts, eventually learning they stem from the donor of the arm he received…a death row inmate who killed dozens.

This was not the first film I saw where someone suffered after receiving body parts from another person (The Eye anyone?), and while the idea is not one commonly used in the genre I do feel that it works very well.  With modern day technology it is absolutely possible that you will one day require a transplant of a donor’s organ, and while the procedure has saved numerous lives it is also still creepy if you ask me, and Body Parts plays on that creepiness.  It does not take long before Bill suffers the terrible crash and his wife signs off on the paperwork allowing for him to receive his new arm, and shortly after that Bills problems worsen.  He finds himself taking on a different personality, one that is abusive to his wife and children, and after some investigating he learns that not only did his arm come from a seasoned killer, but several other parts of the killer’s body have been donated to people living around him.  At first the horror focuses on those who have received the donated limbs and are suffering emotional and physical consequences, but eventually the recipients are being brutally killed off by an unknown force taking back the donated limbs. I found this simple idea to be a cool one as it changed the scope of the horror, and with an interesting twist during the final act I found this simple story, based on a novel, to be a worthwhile one afterall.

Director Eric Red(Bad Moon, 100 Feet) did well with this one, his first horror film and only his second film at the time.  His atmosphere is good and he uses it to keep the viewer engaged early on during the slower scenes, and once things kick into gear his horror was great and definitely made up for the slow first act.  I really did not love or hate the first half of the film, but once the recipients found themselves being hacked apart by someone seeking the donor’s body parts I found myself loving this piece thanks to awesome kills that came with supreme live-action gore.  Jeff Fahey, a VERY underrated actor, also did very well in the lead role, a role that required him to portray seemingly different characters when he would suffer the delusions resulting from his new hand.  Eric Red did great in his execution of all elements involved, but of course this was nto his first bout with the horror genre.  Previous to Body Parts he also just so happened to write horror classics The Hitcher and Near Dark, showing the man has a love and understanding for the genre, and found directing success with Body Parts, and again with Bad Moon.

Overall, Body Parts is an enjoyable film that with a simple plot managed to provide good horror thanks to positive writing and excellent direction when it counted.  The kill sequences are great and so is the gore that accompanies them, and int he end this under-appreciated early-90s horror piece is one you may want to check out.

Rating: 7/10

 

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