During my annual horror movie countdown to Halloween, I encountered an interesting horror comedy anthology, Body Bags. Released in 1993, the television film was directed by John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper and features many celebrity cameos, including Walking Dead universe director and SFX guru Greg Nicotero.
There are three installments in this horror comedy: think Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt type stories.
The first, “The Gas Station,” directed by Carpenter, features Robert Carradine as a gas station attendant with cameos by horrors grats David Naughton, Sam Raimi, and Wes Craven. The story is set near Haddonfield, Illinois, home of Carpetner’s Michael Myers.
Next is “Hair,” starring Stacy Keach as a middle-aged businessman who is self-conscious about his thinning hair. When he decides to get a “miracle” hair transplant, things go very wrong as he is infected with a virus. Cameos in this story include David Warner, Sheen Easton, Kim Alexis, Greg Nicotero, as man with dog, and Deborah Harry.
Hooper directed the final story, “Eye,” which stars Mark Hamill as a Minor League Baseball Player who loses an eye. With his career on the line, he opts for an experimental eye transplant. When the spirit of the former owner of the eye, a murderer, begins to take over his mind in order to kill again, things get quite out of hand. Twiggy, John Agar, and Roger Corman are this story’s cameo appearances.
Greg Nicotero in Body Bags
Nicoter’s appearance is brief; don’t blink, or you will miss it, but seeing Walking Dead actors, crew, and others in productions outside of that series is always entertaining. He also worked on the SFX for Body Bags.
The Morgue is featured at the beginning, with Carpenter as a creepy-looking coroner who serves as the show’s narrator. He introduces things while working on cadavers that are inside body bags. Even his story takes a twist at the end. Tom Arnold and Hooper star as Morgue workers #1 and #2, respectively. Carpenter also composed the soundtrack for the film.
In an interview for John Carpenter: The Princes of Darkness, Carpenter would explain his reasons for joining this production.
"“I wanted to have the experience of playing in make-up. I thought it would be fun and it wasn’t fun. It took hours to get me into that make-up every day. I enjoyed the stories a lot. I especially enjoyed the one with Stacy Keach, the hair story. It was quick and shot very fast, which is a good thing. It’s a tune-up. It’s like a little refresher course. It had things I hadn’t done in a long time, and I just wanted to try them out.”"
Body Bags is cheesy and campy, which is often a treat for horror fans, and while it isn’t anything groundbreaking, it is a fun comedy horror. It is a big treat for John Carpenter fans as he acts, directs, and composes.