Robin Pierce OnLine
Addressing the Geek Nation......
Shocktober 2020 31. Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein (1948)
Shocktober 2020 30. The Creature Walks Among Us (1956)
Shocktober 2020 29. Revenge of the Creature (1955)
Shocktober 2020 28. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Shocktober 2020 27. House of Dracula (1945)
Shocktober 2020 26. The Mummy's Curse (1944)
Shocktober 2020 25. House of Frankenstein (1944)
Shocktober 2020 24. The Mummy's Ghost (1944)
Shocktober 2020 23. Son of Dracula (1943)
Shocktober 2020 22. Phantom of the Opera (1943)
Shocktober 2020 21. Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943)
Shocktober 2020 20. The Mummy's Tomb (1942)
Shocktober 2020 19. The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Shocktober 2020 18. The Wolfman (1941)
Shocktober 2020 17. Black Friday (1940)
Shocktober 2020 16. The Mummy's Hand (1940)
Shocktober 2020 15. The Invisible Man Returns (1940)
Shocktober 2020 14. Tower of London (1939)
Shocktober 2020 13. Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Shocktober 2020 12. Dracula's Daughter (1936)
Shocktober 2020 11. The Invisible Ray (1936)
Shocktober 2020 10. Werewolf of London (1935)
Shocktober 2020 09. The Raven (1935)
Shocktober 2020 08. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Shocktober 2020 07. The Black Cat (1934)
Shocktober 2020 06. The Invisible Man (1933)
Shocktober 2020 05. The Mummy (1932)
Shocktober 2020 04. The Old Dark House (1932)
Shocktober 2020 03. Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
Shocktober 2020 02. Frankenstein (1931)
Shocktober 2020 01. Dracula (1931)
Shocktober 2019 01. The Sentinel (1977)
Shocktober 2019 02. Tales from the Darkside (1990)
Shocktober 2019 03. Dracula (1979)
Shocktober 2019 04. High Spirits (1988)
Shocktober 2019 05. From Beyond the Grave (1974)
Shocktober 2019 06. Pet Sematary (1989)
Shocktober 2019 07. Ringu (1998)
Shocktober 2019 08. The Blob (1958)
Shocktober 2019 09. Zombieland (2009)
Shocktober 2019 10. Apt Pupil (1998)
Shocktober 2019 11. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Shocktober 2019 13. The Craft (1996)
Shocktober 2019 12. Body Bags (1993)
"Natural causes... Natural causes... Natural causes... I hate natural causes! Give me a big stab wound to poke at and then I'm happy." - The Coroner

What’s Halloween without a John Carpenter movie? And this year, I’ve dug deep and unearthed a real treasure. Body Bags is the John Carpenter film that most people either haven’t heard of, or haven’t seen. It’s a fun horror comedy, mixing real horror and real comedy. (I find that a lot of horror comedies leave out the horror and home in on usually cheap laughs). It’s also a little sad – because it’s the last really good horror movie by either Carpenter or Tobe Hooper. Controversial? Maybe – but consider this, what of Carpenter’s work since ’93 is of the calibre of Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York or The Thing? Similarly, Tobe Hooper, nothing on the scale of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Funhouse, Salem’s Lot or Poltergeist. Both directors seemed to suffer a lull after a spectacular run of hit, seminal horror movies that set the standard. Body Bags show us that both of them still had it.

So, what’s it all about?

It’s an anthology film, a pilot for a proposed horror series for U.S. cable TV to follow in the rotting footsteps of Tales from the Crypt, or Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, where a host introduces a different horror story each week. But whereas those earlier series I mentioned had the Crypt Keeper and Rod Serling doing the honours via a storybook or wandering around a darkened art gallery, Body Bag’s gimmick was going to be a ghoulish Coroner telling a story about the corpse he was dealing with and how it came to be in the morgue. The attendant was played by Carpenter himself, hamming it up to a level that would’ve made Vincent Price blush.

There are three stories – all unconnected, two directed by Carpenter, the final one by Hooper.

The Gas Station: It’s Anne’s first night on the night shift at a gas station just outside Haddonfield (familiar to fans as the setting for Carpenter’s Halloween). She is warned by Bill, her co-worker, not to leave her booth without the key because it’ll lock behind her and she’ll be unable to get back in. Not only that, but there’s a serial killer on the loose, having escaped from a local mental institution.

It’s the ideal setting for Carpenter to ramp up the tension which is his trademark, backed with his unsettling synth score giving a sense of foreboding, as each customer who arrives could well be the escaped maniac – among the customers is Nightmare on Elm Street director Wes Craven in a cameo.

Of course, Anne gets locked out and of course the serial killer shows up and there’s a prolonged chase through the deserted workshops. It’s surprising who the serial killer actually is, though. When the clue is given, you can’t help but feel that sinking feeling in your stomach.

Hair: More comedic than the first segment, Richard is a middle-aged man whose biggest mortal fear is upon him. Horror of horrors, he’s losing his hair – and no amount of hairspray, combovers, dye or even toupees will stop it. However, there is a miracle cure at the office of the mysterious Dr Lock. After his treatment, Richard finds his hair growing uncontrollably, at a rate he can’t keep up with. And it’s spreading. A hair he cuts off his tongue actually screams – and under a magnifying glass, it’s seen to be a serpent-like being.

Becoming sicker and more run down by the hour, he approaches Lock for help, he finds himself a prisoner. Lock and his nurse are aliens, preying on narcissistic humans to host their kind. The invasion has already started.

The Eye: Leave it to Tobe Hooper to deliver the final flourish. Brent Matthews is a baseball player on the cusp of a glittering career when he loses his eye in a car crash. He takes up the offer of experimental surgery to have an eye transplanted. When he leaves the hospital, he starts having nightmares about killing women. Turns out his new eye came from an executed convicted serial killer and necrophiliac who murdered several women and had sex with their bodies. It seems the spirit of the killer is possessing Matthews and is eager to go on another killing spree – starting with Matthews’ wife.

In a moment of sanity, Matthews regains control but realises that it’s only a matter of time before the killer takes control again, so he stabs the eye with garden scissors – and unfortunately, dies.

Well, did you expect a happy ending from Hooper?



Copyright © 2010 - 2019 Robin Pierce. All Rights reserved.

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