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BODY PARTS

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Jeff Fahey, Paul Ben-Victor, Kim Delaney, Lindsay Duncan, Brad Dourif
Director: Eric Red
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Stereo
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Paramount
Features: None
Length: 88 Minutes
Release Date: September 14, 2004

"I now have a murderer's blood in my blood."

Film ***

Body Parts is one seriously twisted flick, and it needn't be anything else. Horror films seemed to pop up all over the radar at the time of the movie's release, which was back in 1991. Certain ones seem to have a certain plot scenario that managed to make it stand out amongst the run of the mill slasher flicks that plagued theaters back then. Such is the case with this movie.

How can I best describe this film, you ask? Well, try to think of the most demented plotline, mix it up with an outrageous contemporary mad scientist flick. Now, add a lot of sensational gore, and presto--you've got the crazed recipe for a movie like Body Parts. I guess those credentials would place the movie alongside something like Re-Animator.

It may sound as if I'm about to damn the movie for all of its worth. To be honest, I absolutely cheer it for going the excessive route and for not holding anything back for a second. The plot centers on Bill Crushank (Jeff Fahey), a criminal psychologist who already feels like he's been to the edge one too many times. He happens to have some truly nutty patients, such as an imprisoned killer named Kolberg (Paul Ben-Victor).

But those trips to the edge are about to pale in comparison to the trip he is about to take. On the way to work one morning, Bill is critically injured in a horrific freeway pileup; a sequence that is likely to get a reaction by how real is was shot and choreographed. The doctors inform his wife (Kim Delaney) that her husband has lost complete use of his right arm. The good news (WAIT, THERE'S GOOD NEWS?) is that through a newly conceived, but highly secret medical procedure, Bill can have a whole new human arm attached to his body. Talk about an innovative form of organ donation.

After some hesitating, the green light is issued for the procedure. It produces astonishing results, so much to the point that Bill becomes something of a hot news item once released from the hospital. While the new arm manages to freak his children out a bit, Bill can't believe the strong results of what has just been done to him.

But then, something bizarre starts to take place. Bill begins having some questionable mood swings, along with some terrifying hallucinations/nightmares of people being killed. He comes to discover through finger print analysis that his new arm used to belong to that of a mass murderer. That can't be good.

Both outraged and highly suspicious, Bill starts looking to see if by chance the same donor has donated additional body parts. He manages to locate two men who've had such surgical procedures; a demented painter named Remo (Brad Dourif) and an average Joe named Mark (Peter Murnik). Bill hopes that their connection will lead them somewhere, and boy does it ever.

What lies ahead at this point is a series of intense sequences, elevating the gore factor to a fairly high level, as the donor resurfaces to claim what's his. Why has he come back? How can he maneuver? It's never explained, and it doesn't need to be because this is never to be taken seriously for a second. Let's just say that the act of dismembering is very frequent in the movie's final half. A sequence where Bill's arm is handcuffed by a man in another car results in a most original, and terrifying, action scene involving speeding cars. One thing's for certain, this movie has the perfect title.

In short, Body Parts is extremely well executed trash-cinema. It's a movie that was made for a specific kind of audience and no one else. And given that it's an early 90s piece, I'm pleased to report that the movie still holds up thirteen years down the road.

Video ****

I was very amazed by the level of detail that went into the look of this disc. In that regard, I find it to be one of Paramount's most surprising releases in quite some time. The anamorphic picture resonates in a strong amount of clarity, which is amazing considering that the movie does have a level of age to it. Many crucial scenes take place at night, and Paramount met the challenge ahead with striking results. Colors are a huge plus, too. This qualifies for one of the all around best surprises of the year!

Audio ***1/2

The same can be said for the superb audio performance. The supplied 5.1 mix is much stronger than I anticipated, even for that of a horror thriller, because of the age, once again. But Paramount surprises in this department, as well. Everything has been given the ultimate touch, from dialogue delivery to sequences of action/terror, and especially the thunderous music score courtesy of Dutch composer Loekk Dikker. Yes, the dismembering scenes sound snappingly-good.

Features (Zero Stars)

Nothing.

Summary:

Body Parts has already earned a spot on my list of true guilty pleasures. It's a much inspired gorefest, if a movie can be labeled as such. Just check your brain at the door and strap yourself in for an eye popping over-the-top piece of pure schlock terror!

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