The Austin Chronicle

Body Parts

Rated 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.

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