Body Parts is really interesting. It takes the story of The Hands of Orlac and tries to make it more believable. In some ways it succeeds and in a lot of others, it doesn't. I'm a big fan of the 1924 masterpiece and an equally big fan of the 1931 remake Mad Love. Both of those movies are classics. They tell the same story in such an engaging way. This is a respectable and interesting try, but it falls short in a number of different areas.
Jeff Fahey is a criminal psychologist named Bill. Bill loses his arm in a horrible accident. He undergoes some revolutionary surgery and he has a new arm grafted on to replace the one he lost. It just so happens that the arm he receives belongs to a psychotic killer. Bill starts to notice that his arm seems to have a life of it's own and it's ruining his own. He comes in contact with others that have gotten limb replacements and finds that they are all suffering just like he is. Just differently. Add some weird doctors and a very thin plot line and you have got Body Parts.
Firstly, this film has a really good cast. Jeff Fahey (Lapidus, the pilot from Lost), Horror icon Brad Dourif, Kim Delaney, Zakes Mokae, Lindsay Duncan, and Paul Ben-Victor all round out your top actors. Dourif and Fahey do an amazing job pulling their characters to life. Secondly, the cinematography and lighting are stupendous. Parts of this movie felt like a throwback and nod to Grindhouse classics. It was a nice little treat. Third, it is pretty generous with the gore. Certain scenes were campy and over-the-top but that only added to the creepiness of the picture as a whole. It wasn't a terrible movie. It just had a sizable amount of flaws.
Those flaws are mostly with the story. It has tons of holes. The movie does a good job of throwing swerves in the way, but ends up not answering most of the questions it generates. The biggest flaws are with the motivations of the antagonists. It leaves me scratching my head and feels a bit thrown together. Like the director had wanted to go one way but financial restrictions made him go the other. I don't understand how that would happen when you have a $10,000,000 budget.
This is an interesting early nineties horror movie that delivers suspense and thrills. The medical scenes and general attack scenes are pretty gory and that only adds to the picture. It has a certain cult feel and I like that. It also has some good touches of Noir. I mentioned the lighting earlier and noticed that the shadows are very Noir-ish. This is a great movie for those that are following up on any of those actors careers. It might come off as a little boring to a casual horror fan.
Did ya know...
Body Parts is very similar to a 1971 episode of Night Gallery titled "The Hand of Borgus Weems." Body Parts was theatrically released August 2, 1991. It was first released on home video February 20, 1992 and later on DVD September 14, 2004. Paramount pulled ads for Body Parts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after police found dismembered bodies in Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment.