Review: Body Parts

Jeff “Lawnmower Man” Fahey discovers he is now the proud owner of a serial killer’s arm after his own is amputated following a car accident. But now the killer wants his arm back.

Directed by: Eric Red
Written by: Eric Red
Starring: Jeff Fahey, Brad Dourif, Zakes Mokae, Kim Delaney,Paul Ben-Victor, Lindsay Duncan
Released: 1991 / Genre: Horror / Country: USA / IMDB
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Jim Fahey plays criminal psychologist Bill Crunshank. He’s a family man with a good job lecturing at the local college, a beautiful wife and a nice home in an affluent area. When he has a car accident the doctors are forced to amputate his arm. While still incapacitated and unable to speak for himself, the doctors give wife Karen (Kim Delaney) a choice. Should she allow her husband to continue life with one arm? Or should she utilise the offer of revolutionary surgery that will see a donor arm attached to Bill’s body in the hope it will function just as well as the one he was born with. Karen decides on the latter and Bill awakes to find a new arm where his old one used to be.

However, while Bill rehabilitates the arm back to full working order, he begins to have strange dreams, his mood abruptly changes around his family, and, from time to time, the new arm appears to have a life of its own. The doctor who administered the operation is unwilling to divulge information about the donor, or accept Bill’s concerns about his mental health. So he runs the prints of his new arm to find out any information he can. Disturbingly, he discovers it once belonged to the recently executed serial killer Charley Fletcher.

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He also finds out that Charley’s other arm and both his legs were given to patients requiring them. He meets his fellow donor recipients – Remo Lacey (Brad Dourif) received the opposite arm and has discovered a talent for macabre paintings, the images of which Bill sees in his own dreams; while Mark Draper (Peter Murnik) received the killer’s legs, which nearly kill him when his right foot steps on the gas pedal of his car at a red light. Despite Bill’s concerns the other men don’t appear bothered that they now have the body parts of a convicted murderer. But when Mark is found dead, his legs ripped from his body, Bill realises his problems are far worse. Charley Fletcher has returned from the dead and he wants his arms and legs back.

Writer-director Eric Red concocts a fun horror film that begins as a slow-burning mystery before a hectic final third when the gore kicks in. Perhaps a better writer than he is a director, the film lacks the tension of his 1986 film The Hitcher (directed by Robert Harmon), or style of the Kathryn Bigelow-directed Near Dark from 1987. But Body Parts maintains your interest through its measured pace that pleasingly unravels the mystery over a tight ninety-minute runtime until the final third crescendo when all hell breaks loose. Jim Fahey holds things together while Brad Dourif, in the genre where he does his best work, appears in a small role.

Review by Daniel StephensSee all reviews

This review is part of 31 Days of Horror:

About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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