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Body Parts Main

Body Parts Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Body Parts Large

Directed by Eric Red
Written by Eric Red, Norman Snider, Patricia Herskovic and Joyce Taylor
1991, 88 minutes, Rated R
Released on January 28th, 2020

Starring:
Jeff Fahey as Bill Chrushank
Lindsay Duncan as Dr. Agatha Webb
Kim Delaney as Karen Crushank
Zakes Mokae as Det. Sawchuck
Brad Dourif as Remo Lacey
Peter Murnik as Mark Draper
Paul Ben-Victor as Ray Kolberg

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Review:

Criminal psychologist Bill Chrushank is involved in a horrifying car accident that leaves him an amputee. He is rushed into surgery where Dr. Agatha Webb performs a transplant operation replacing his right arm. Following a trying time in rehab, Bill is released from the hospital and eager to get back to his work and family. The new appendage has a tattoo only given to death row inmates and Bill uses his connections at the police department to run his new fingerprints. It turns out the donor was a recently-executed serial killer who supplied several transplants that day. Bill begins suffering intense nightmares featuring visions of extreme physical violence. Things take a surprising turn when the arm begins acting independently and aggressively. He talks to his doctor for assistance and later tracks down the other recent transplant recipients, asking if they are having any strange side effects. The real trouble begins when the donor returns, intent on reclaiming his body parts by any means necessary and continuing his murder spree.

Body Parts begins as a psychological thriller that asks the intriguing question: Where does Evil live? Is it in the heart, the mind or the flesh? Director Eric Red (Bad Moon) explores the idea of tracing the roots of bad behavior and its effect on society with this high-concept Frankenstein story based on the novel Choice Cuts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. Red adapted the material and co-wrote the screenplay with three other writers to create a genre movie that starts off full of promise, but loses its way down a paranoid avenue of the old “evils of science” variety. Despite its narrative shortcomings, Red shines as a director, creating many suspenseful moments and playing up the horror elements of the story.

Jeff Fahey (Psycho III) delivers an intense performance as Bill Chrushank, the man with the evil arm. It is fun watching him slowly lose control of his behavior and switch from mild-mannered psychologist to desperate man on the edge. Dr. Agatha Webb, wonderfully portrayed by Lindsay Duncan (Prick Up Your Ears), is the icy surgeon more interested in advancing medical science than the effect it has on her patients. On the opposite end of the personality spectrum is Karen, Bill’s supportive wife, played by the lovely Kim Delaney (Hunter’s Blood). She and Fahey work well together and are believable as a troubled couple trying to protect their children.

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The supporting cast is made up of some familiar faces, starting with the always-watchable Brad Dourif (Exorcist III) as fellow arm recipient Remo Lacey. He plays a painter whose recent transplant has improved his creative output and he sees no problem with it. His character introduces the idea that all of this bad stuff may simply be in Bill’s mind. Zakes Mokae (The Serpent and the Rainbow) plays another intimidating authority figure in Det. Sawchuck, the man who brought the serial killer to justice and is now wrapping up loose ends. The underrated Paul Bem-Victor (Tombstone) is convicted felon Ray Kolberg, Bill’s patient before the accident. He is the audience’s introduction to evil and leaves quite the impression despite his limited screen time.

Body Parts quickly abandons any lofty aspirations of psychological reflection for more traditional popcorn thrills. Eric Red keeps things moving at a brisk pace which audiences simply have to run with in terms of a narrative timeline, as everything seems to rush together and overlap for dramatic purposes. There are some moments when characters do dumb things because the script tells them to and there is a fair amount of luck involved, but Red keeps it interesting. One highlight comes later in the picture during a high speed chase in which occupants of separate vehicles are handcuffed together. Ultimately this is a goofy ride that aims to please and in this it succeeds. You won’t learn a lot about the nature of man and the script’s views of science are horribly outdated, but the end result manages to deliver some decent chills.

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Video and Audio:

Picture quality is strong in this dated but respectable HD transfer. Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the image is bright and full of color with natural looking flesh tones throughout. There is a lot of small-object detail, most noticeably in hair and fabrics.

The original theatrical stereo mix appears in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track along with an expanded DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track. I prefer the latter option, as music and sound effects cues appear more spread out across all speakers. Dialogue levels are clean and easily understandable.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

If you ever thought “I’d give my right arm for a special edition of Body Parts” – you’re in luck.

Filmmaker Eric Red sits down for the extended interview segment I Dare You to Read This Script (52 minutes) and reflects on his career as a screenwriter and director. We begin with tales from his early writing days on The Hitcher and Near Dark and then move on to the process of adapting the source novel for this film. He details how the project came together and what a pleasant experience it was making the movie thanks in large part to producer Frank Mancuso Jr. (the Friday the 13th franchise). Other topics include casting, his great crew, shooting in Toronto, working with special effects and stunts. Red details some of the material cut out of the final film and shares his thoughts on the theatrical release.

Red returns for an audio commentary that is full of interesting information covering all stages of production from adapting the novel to fine-tuning the edit. The commentary does feature some scene-specific moments, but the audio appears largely to have been culled from the above interview, as Red repeats several points verbatim.

Editor Anthony Redman (King of New York) looks back on his career in That One Hurt (23 minutes). He talks about how he got into the industry and tells some interesting stories of his time working with notorious filmmaker Abel Ferrara (The Addiction). Switching focus to Body Parts, he shares his thoughts on Eric Red as a director, explains his cutting technique and reveals some of his favorite scenes.

In Something Unstoppable (14 minutes), actor Paul Ben-Victor reminisces about becoming an actor and moving to Los Angeles. He talks about his time with Eric Red and has kind words for actor Jeff Fahey.

Molded for Cinema (17 minutes) catches up with Peter Murnik (Hard Rain), who plays transplant recipient Mark Draper in Body Parts. At the time of his audition he was known primarily for some high-profile commercial work. He can’t say enough nice things about Eric Red and his co-stars. Murnik shares his thoughts on his character and working with special effects and concludes with his reaction to seeing the finished film.

A pair of uncensored sequences (10 minutes) featuring optional director’s commentary offer a look at two of the gorier moments from the beginning of the film: first the car accident followed by the extended surgery scene. The video is sourced from a workprint and is in surprisingly good shape.

The original theatrical trailer is included along with three TV spots.

A still gallery (3 minutes) displays poster art, promotional shots, publicity stills and a few behind-the-scenes images.

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Grades:

Movie: Threestars Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Video: fourstars
Audio: Fourstars
Features: Threeandahalfstars
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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