Another John Carpenter film receiving the collector’s edition treatment courtesy of Scream Factory, means that I’m going to mention yet again, that in the year 2012, we conducted a year long retrospective series, examining Carpenter’s career in chronological order. If you missed out on the first run of this series, you can play catch up by following this link. Don’t get me wrong, Scream Factory does a fantastic job at supplying extra features on their discs, but this would make the perfect companion piece to any new release Carpenter Blu-rays you decide to pick up. It’s not just movie reviews, it’s an examination of his career as a whole. That being said, Body Bags is one of my least favorite Carpenter films. Most of the time, though, even the few bad Carpenter films have some redeeming qualities, and Body Bags is no exception to that rule.
Body Bags was filmed with the intention of being a sort of Masters of Horror series, well before that show existed. The idea was that classic horror director’s would make an hour long horror movie to be show weekly on Showtime. Things didn’t pan out as expected though, and it was turned into an anthology film, starring the man himself as a sort of Crypt Keeper, to introduce each segment. Sounds awesome, right? If only it could have been executed awesomely, we’d be having an entirely different conversation right now.
The first segment, directed by Carpenter and titled Gas Station is fairly solid, and unquestionably the best segment of the entire film. The segments that follow, including “Hair”, directed by carpenter, range from watchable, to absolutely annoying. Hair is my least favorite segment, which pains me to admit, considering I’m both a superfan of Carpenter, and a huge fan of Stacy Keach. I”m not going to sit here and tell you that Body Bags is the worst movie ever, and to actively avoid it, in fact, I’m going to recommend you pick this disc up, regardless of my feelings on the film itself. But, I am going to suggest, if by some chance you haven’t seen it yet, that you keep your expectations in check. There are a lot of names attached to this project, so being completely ignorant of the film beyond what little information you can find on IMDB could lead to unrealistic expectations. It’s worth watching just to say you’ve watched it, but don’t expect to be blown away.
Now, having said all that, Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray is mandatory for a couple of reasons. Number 1, if you’re like me, you’re doing your best to collect these Scream Factory releases, at least for the films that are tolerable(I’m looking at you Dead Souls), because who knows if they’ll be stocked forever. Special edition releases of movies are known to disappear forever one day, and then if you get a wild hair up your ass to buy it, you’ll be paying upwards of hundreds of dollars for it on eBay. So, gotta catch ’em all, and all. Secondly, if you’re as big of a fan of John Carpenter as we are here at The Liberal Dead, you’ll know that John Carpenter’s commentaries, when included, justify the cost of the disc on their own. And Carpenter has recorded an all new commentary, along with some other folks involved with the production, just for this release. Also, this marks the first time this film has been released to optical media in its uncut form.
For what this movie is, the presentation is nothing short of phenomenal. Had another distro got their hands on this title for release, for one thing it probably never would have been released, but also, it would have been barebones, no question. It saddens me to see so many people, even though they are a tiny minority, bashing Scream Factory releases because they feel compelled to take everything that gathers even the least little bit of popularity down a peg. Don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of this behavior as well. I remember when I was 15 and some of the bands I had loved were slowly becoming more and more mainstream. I acted like a little hipster bitch at the time, so trust me when I say that I can certainly detect the behavior. Scream Factory is the best thing genre fans and media collectors have going for us right now.
Films that most of us dreamed of having on the Blu-ray format, but knew there was no chance any studio would take the risk in doing so, have came to fruition thanks to these guys. I mean, seriously. Did you think we’d ever see a premium home video release of things like I Come In Peace or Q The Winged Serpent? Body Bags might not be my favorite John Carpenter project, but I’m damn appreciative for Scream Factory giving it the Collector’s Edition treatment. Every film has its fans, and fans deserve this type of release. it looks and sounds better than it ever has or will, and while it doesn’t have the quantity of extras that most of their collector’s edition releases have, it does have all new interviews with Carpenter, as well as, as I mentioned above, a brand spanking-ass new John Carpenter(and friends) commentary for each segment of the film. I wholeheartedly recommend this release, even to those like me, that somewhat dislike this outing from the legend of genre film.
(Collector’s Edition Blu-ray)