‘90s Horror Comedy From Halloween Director Will Leave You In Stitches, Stream Without Netflix

By Robert Scucci | Updated

John Carpenter is best known for his work in the horror genre, but he also knows how to make his audience laugh when given the opportunity. While his name is synonymous with the Halloween franchise, his acting and directing efforts in 1993’s Body Bags channel some serious Tales from the Crypt energy. This made-for-TV horror comedy anthology one-off features Carpenter acting as a reanimated cadaver in a morgue as he introduces three unrelated premises that are as frightening as they are hilarious.

John Carpenter Coroner Character

body bags john carpenter

Body Bags starts out in a morgue, and introduces us to John Carpenter’s corpse, who serves the sole purpose of introducing each short story to the audience. Breaking the fourth wall, Carpenter’s gaunt and eccentric corpse-turned-coroner character opens a number of body bags that he pulls from morgue drawers in order to to set up each short story he’s about to tell. Between each short, Carpenter cracks crude jokes while drinking embalming fluid from a martini glass.

Since Body Bags is three short movies within a movie, I’ll break them down so you can see how unique each premise in this movie truly is.

The Gas Station

Body Bags gas station

Body Bags kicks off with “The Gas Station,” featuring Robert Carradine, Wes Craven, and Sam Raimi, among others, playing supporting characters to the short’s protagonist, Anne (Alex Datcher). Upon showing up for her first shift as an overnight attendant at the gas station, Bill (Robert Carradine) tells her to be careful because a serial killer broke out of a nearby mental institution and is considered to be extremely dangerous.

Though Bill warns Anne that she can’t leave her booth without her keys because the door will lock behind her, leaving her exposed and vulnerable, it doesn’t take long for her to forget these instructions and have a number of run-ins with extremely shady characters.

Though this short plays out like a straight horror plot, there’s plenty of comic relief as Anne’s paranoia gets the best of her because anybody who approaches her may be the killer.


body bags Stacy Keach

“Hair” has to be my personal favorite short in Body Bags because its premise is so inherently ridiculous. The plot centers on Stacy Keach’s Richard Coberts, an aging businessman who is irrationally self-conscious about his thinning hair. Richard has wealth, a nice apartment, and a girlfriend named Megan (Sheena Easton) who loves him unconditionally. Richard’s insecurities lead to him seeking out a hair transplant specialist named Dr. Lock (David Warner) hearing about his services while watching a late-night infomercial.

After the procedure, Richard wakes up with a full head of luscious locks that would make Fabio envious, but his life starts to fall apart when his hair takes on a life of its own.


body bags mark hamill

The most straightforward story in Body Bags features Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame. Directed by Tobe Hooper instead of John Carpenter, “Eyes” is the darkest story told in Body Bags, and is particularly gruesome upon its conclusion.

The story centers on Mark Hamill’s Brent Matthews, an up-and-coming minor league baseball player who loses his right eye after getting in a car wreck. Knowing that his career is over if his eyesight is compromised, Brent opts to take part in an experimental procedure that involves getting an eye transplant from a recently deceased person. At first, he seems to be making a speedy recovery, but he’s soon plagued with violent hallucinations and murderous nightmares that don’t sit well with his wife Cathy (Dame Lesley Lawson).

Hilarious Narrative Framework

John Carpenter's body bags


Between each segment that Body Bags has to offer, we’re brought back to the morgue where John Carpenter‘s coroner character is getting lost in the sauce and having a chuckle. He can’t get too animated, however, because the morgue workers (Tom Arnold and Tobe Hooper), will be coming back from their break at any moment.

Body Bags is quirky, frightening, hilarious, and can be streamed for free on The Roku Channel, Tubi, Amazon Prime’s Freevee, and Pluto TV, among many others.