Eric Red's under-appreciated Body Parts gives Jeff Fahey an excuse to play crazy once again - this time as a man with an arm transplant from a death row psychopath! Nearly thirty years later this pseudo-Frankenstein still holds up as a fine piece of low-budget horror with a great cast and moody atmosphere. Scream Factory delivers a solid Blu-ray debut with a great A/V presentation and a damned impressive assortment of bonus features. Recommended
Bill Chrushank (Jeff Fahey) is a respected psychologist trying to understand the inner workings of murderers on death row. After being seriously injured in a car accident, Bill receives the first total arm transplant thanks to the brilliant Dr. Webb (Lindsay Duncan). Recovery is a slow process but soon he's back to normal. Or so he thought. The visions of brutal murders start haunting his dreams. His arm acts violently as if by a will of its own. When Bill tracks down the other recipients from the same donor, their shared nightmare is about to become deadly.
I was all of about 10 years old when Body Parts hit movies. I was too young to go see it in the theater so I was always hopeful whenever we went to the rental shop that I'd get to snag this one from the horror section. After my mother vetoed several attempts I was given the chance to catch up years later in my teens thanks to late-night cable movie channels. It was a fun ride, I enjoyed it quite a bit. At the time I had just seen Psycho III and was impressed with Fahey as he got to play a cooler more level-headed form of crazy. He's been a welcome addition to any production in the years since.
After a late evening viewing after a long day at work, watching Body Parts felt like curling into a warm blanket of nostalgia. I remember the trailers so clearly and my excitement when I finally got to see this movie that I was worried this wouldn't hold up. It had been so long that I'd actually forgotten some of the twists or the great appearance from Brad Dourif - it was like watching the movie for the first time all over again. It's probably been the better part of 20 years or more since I last gave this flick its full due. I was very happy to see how well it holds up nearly 30 years after its theatrical release!
It's not a perfect film - few are - but it succeeds in its mission. Eric Red keeps the pace moving and the focus tight while Fahey gets to show his range. Sure it gets a little nuts at the end, but by that point, you're so invested in the lunacy the little extra dash of horror crazy is well earned. If you've missed out on this cult classic or are like me and haven't checked it out in a while, now is the perfect time to give it another shot!
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Scream Factory dissects Body Parts onto Blu-ray in a single disc set. Pressed on a Region A BD-50 disc, the disc is housed in a standard Blu-ray case. There is reversible artwork as well. The disc loads to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.
Without any information about the vintage of the master sourced for this release, Body Parts enjoys an overall decent 1080p debut. There is a crunchy quality to some of the lines in the details that denote some sort of compression artifacting, but I never noticed any severe banding - more than likely this transfer was culled from a slightly older broadcast HD master. While it may not gleam like a newly minted penny, it has a lot to appreciate. Details are robust allowing you to appreciate the gory gunk throughout. Film grain is apparent giving the image a nice film-like appearance. Colors maintain that late 80s early 90s pallet offering crisp blues, effective yellows, and some deliciously crimson reds. There is some occasional speckling but that's the worst of the age-related issues.
Body Parts comes together with an effective DTS-HD MA 2.0 that feels right at home with memories of my original viewing experience ass well as a knockout DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix. The 5.1 mix is the default so you have to select in the menu or through your player functions which track you want. Both are great. The 5.1 mix adds a lot of extra spacing and heft to the show. A lot of the opening quieter bits feel a bit more front/center focused but there is some surround activity. That presence pops up nicely when the plot really gets going and the gory action starts splattering across the screen.
Even without the full range of an open 5.1 mix, there is still an impressive amount of atmospherics and imaging for the 2.0 track. The opening car accident sequence is a damned impressive bit of audio engineering! Likewise later during a car chase sequence, the sound effects have the right punch while dialog and score keep the pace. Dialog is clean and clear throughout and levels were spot on without any need for monitoring. Both tracks are great so it's dealers choice.
While this release of Body Parts wasn't branded as a Collector's Edition, Scream Factory didn't hold back with the bonus features giving fans plenty of material to dice their way through. There's hours worth of great content here. It'd been fun to snag a Fahey interview, but this in itself is a fun assortment - the extended accident sequence is gnarly as hell, really wish they could've restored the whole scene!
NEW Audio Commentary featuring Eric Red
NEW Interview with Eric Red (HD 52:15)
NEW Interview with Paul Ben-Victor (HD 22:32)
NEW Interview with Peter Murnik (HD 13:40)
NEW Deleted Footage W/ Optional Director Commentary (HD/SD 10:03)
Body Parts may not have enjoyed a grand reception when it first arrived on theater screens, but thankfully VHS and plenty of time have allowed this little horror gem to become a cult classic. I loved it decades ago when I last saw it, I was a little worried about reconnecting with it, but happily, it still holds up! Eric Red crafted a gnarly horror picture that goes full nuts in the final act with a visceral viscus payoff!
Scream Factory may not dub this release a Collector's Edition, but that didn't hold them back from giving it a terrific Blu-ray debut. Along with a respectable video transfer and two great audio tracks, fans can devour a full audio director commentary track, another extensive Eric Red interview that's nearly an hour on its own, on top of additional interviews and deleted scenes! If you're a fan of Body Parts this is absolutely worth adding to the collection. Recommended.