Director - Eric Red
Year - (1991)


Finally, after a long wait, Eric Red's "Body Parts" comes to DVD at a low affordable price. It lacks many special features, and that's slightly disappointing. I happened to see the film when it was briefly in theatres back in 1991- just before the studio pulled itbecause it was deemed un PC- it had zero to do with the Jeffery Dahmer killings, but someone in Hollywood took some heat.

I had a mixed reaction to "Body Parts" at that time, and I wondered if I had the same feelings now as I did then. I shelled out ten dollars because there were some things in the film I did remember well: first and foremost, the overall concept, and second, Jeff Fahey.

Watching the film again, I thought maybe I was wrong in 1991- maybe I was having a bad day. I know I was looking foward to going back to college, maybe that was it. Maybe not. But what I do know is I know where I disliked the film.

It is really two films.

Let me explain. First, it opens up with Bill Chrushank (Fahey) a criminal psychologist who, after nearly dying in a (well filmed) car accident, loses his arm. A new medical procedure goes into motion as he gets an arm transplant.

Two things happen:

1) he discovers the arm and other body part transplants originated from serial killer Charles Fletcher, who was recently excecuted.

2) the arm has a mind of its own. It strikes out against the ones he loves, it feels up his wife, Karen (Kim Delaney). Does this mean Bill doesn't get any at home?

One theme that runs through most the scripts and/or films by Red is a common theme of someone who is faced with what could be the ultimate horror: an innocent person, they are forced to kill or are asked to kill. If they don't, they may themselves be killed.

In this case, does having a killer's arm influence Bill's behavior? Why do images of the killer's victims rush through his head? For answers, Bill locates the other recipients of the transplants: a young college student, Mark Draper, has a new set of legs and can walk again for the first time in years; A local painter (Brad Dourif) has not only the other arm, but also a new lease on life as he sees the killer's dreams and turns the visions into art.

Bill starts becoming paranoid. His erratic behavior causes domestic problems; he even tries to have support group of sorts. It only works if there's a bar tab.

There are philosophical questions, and when the film reaches this high point, here ends the 'first' film.

A bar fight happens; after the brawl, it is revealed that Doctor Webb is helping to re-animate the serial killer (!) as the person who recieved the head transplant (say what?) goes around, and kills Mark Draper to get his legs back. He goes after Bill to get the right arm, because he already gotten what's left, pun intended.

We get to the hospital, where we see a water tank full of body parts, including a moving torso. (Huh?)

At 88 minutes, I feel like something is missing. I am still compelled by the questions raised, and the idea of the killer wanting his parts back is a unique idea. It is also a detour the film takes that seems so sudden, that it never fully recovers.

Reviewed By - Darren J Seeley



Rating ( 3 of 5 )

 
 

 

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