Three maimed character actors in receipt of a flagitious recidivist's limbs amputated during necropsy observe of their grafted appendages curious instances of pathological autonomy: halted at a traffic stop, Paul Ben-Victor's ostensibly healthy new legs elect accelerator in lieu of brake at an inopportune moment; clinical psychologist Jeff Fahey suffers all in proximity of his right appendage's malign intrinsic when he cuffs his rambunctious son aloft, assays somnial matricide and secures a savage victory against multiple opponents in a brainish bar brawl; the career of drudging painter Brad Dourif is profitably invigorated by the opposite limb's propensity for rendering ghastly canvases of inexplicable appeal depicting its donor's plurality of malefactions. Delightfully miscast as a police lieutenant, South African thespian Zakes Mokae proffers profuse dentition and an anecdote of his squad's Pyrrhic apprehension and subsequent consignment of the sexisected felon to the charge of frosty grafting pioneer Lindsay Duncan, whose glacial obstinance deflects her beleaguered patients from multitudinous morbid revelations.
Seasoned horror enthusiasts will forebode every macabre atrocity and relish a gratuity of gore in Hitcher screenwriter Eric Red's filmic adaptation of an especially grisly '60s Boileau-Narcejac novel, the English translation of which bears the amusive denomination Choice Cuts. Red's deft rein at helm is evident, as is the competence of his crew; every action sequence and splattering severance are executed with consummate proficiency and some moderate invention. Notwithstanding its manifold extirpations of extremities, this feature's unforeseen asset of primacy is a delicious surplusage of ludicrous dialogue, recited with hammy verve by its gifted dramatis personae. With respective members commuted to varied satisfaction, Dourif recounts his lucrative permutation from hack to celebrated Baconesque parvenu with manic glee while Fahey's narrated journal entries yaw from his profession's M.O. to belabor tangents of trite metaphysical conjecture. Later, a perfervid altercation between analyst and surgeon culminates in the former's gratifying fulmination. An idiosyncratic diction replete with subtly peculiar inflections imparts brisk zing to Mokae's exposition, optimizing his accessorial role. Excerpted in denouement, Fahey's conclusive monograph in treatment of his transplant is a distinctly absurd treat from which only a viewer of some utterly humorless disposition won't come away smiling.
A whistling theremin prominent in Loek Dikker's music recalls classic creature features and B-fare to intimate that all derisory exchanges, contrived scenarios and every silly flourish of foley and elocution herein are facetious facets of homage. Whether Red purposed Body Parts as a sober horror flick (undermined by hackneyed sensibilities?) or a gory lampoon of and tribute to bypast genre conventions is ultimately immaterial. Foreswear legitimacy, for this constitutes an unflagging entertainment in elicitation of giggles and quailing -- a rare beau ideal from a period when most American pictures of its type aroused neither.
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Robert Buchanan (rbuchanan)
I'm a bibliophile, ailurophile, inveterate aggregator, dedicated middlebrow and anastrophizing syntax addict. My personality type is that of superlative INTJ.
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