Body Parts

1991, R, 88 min. Directed by Eric Red. Starring Jeff Fahey, Brad Dourif.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Aug. 9, 1991

Director Red, whose previous credits include the screenplays for The Hitcher and Near Dark (two of the best horror/thrillers of the mid-eighties), spent a lot of time piloting a cab around NYC before being tagged to helm Body Parts . Maybe it's some sort of creeping Travis Bickle syndrome, but his newest effort is about as chilling as a trip to Tastee-Freeze. Fahey is a criminal psychologist who loses his arm in a spectacular rush-hour collision. After undergoing a bit of the old “experimental treatment,” Fahey finds that he has been given the arm of a ruthless killer, and, as if that weren't bad enough, the new appendage seems to have a will of its own: it bops his kids in the chops and caresses his wife with something less than tenderness in ways that the old arm never would have. From here on in, Body Parts seems to dissolve into the confused sort of mishmash that hasn't really been seen since Frankenstein Unbound. It seems the psychotic Donor From Hell had not one, but all of his limbs transplanted onto various worthy folks, and now he wants them back. Or something like that, anyway. I'm not really sure, and you won't be either, I think. There's way too much story line cribbed from that awful Michael Caine/Oliver Stone vehicle The Hand, but that's not the heart of the problem. What really nails this film to the Grade Z cross is a marvelously pathetic breakdown in plot logistics that only Ed Wood, Jr. could love. And I mean that in the best sense of the term. Really. It's as if mid-script rewrites were done in the midst of shooting, without the benefit of informing anyone even remotely related to the film. Brad Dourif turns in another of his patented Unlovable Weirdo roles, and there's some hilariously unintentional humor here, but besides that, Body Parts is about as effective as a prosthetic nostril.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Jeff Fahey Films
Too Late
Experimental neo-noir is held together by the magnificent John Hawkes

Marjorie Baumgarten, March 25, 2016

Machete
Robert Rodriguez fulfills his early promise with this Mexploitation action film that also catapults Danny Trejo into full-fledged superhero status.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Sept. 3, 2010

More by Marc Savlov
The Twentieth Century
Suitably bonkers Canadian surrealist comedy rewrites history

Nov. 27, 2020

Jiu Jitsu
No jiu jitsu, and not enough Nic Cage in this Predator rip-off

Nov. 20, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Body Parts, Eric Red, Jeff Fahey, Brad Dourif

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle