There is not much more to Body Parts than a rehashing of Maurice Renards novel The Hands of Orlac (1920), first filmed as the silent The Hands of Orlac (1924) and a number of times since, most famously as Mad Love (1935). Body Parts is a Hands of Orlac updated to 1990s horror filmmaking with polished gore effects. However, the modernity of the exercise does not disguise how hackneyed and predictable the plot is. Every development that the limbs have lives of their own, that they belong to a killer are played for big surprise value that is no surprise for anyone familiar with horror cliches. Some breath of originality arrives about two-thirds of the way through when the Hands of Orlac plot is put aside and the film turns into a more interesting piece about a killer recollecting his amputated limbs. There is the bizarre image of John Walsh running about with a collection of legs and arms over his shoulder but the sudden switch of plot tracks is a disruption of momentum from which Body Parts never recovers.
As director, Eric Red demonstrates little in the way of style, although there are a couple of memorable sequences an intriguing if routinely directed sequence which, in a better directors hands, could have been made into real nightmare material where Jeff Fahey stops at the lights as a passenger in a car, where John Walsh pulls up alongside and slaps a pair of handcuffs on him and then takes off at high speed with Faheys driver Zakes Mokae forced to follow his every move lest Fahey lose his arm; and, although it has been stolen from the end of Seconds (1966), the initial operation shown from Jeff Faheys point-of-view going out of focus as he is anaesthetised, which comes with images of a ring of surgeons carrying shotguns, a priest administering the last rites and then the appearance of a buzzsaw and the removal of John Walshs head.
Brad Dourif expectedly overacts. At least Jeff Faheys usual on-screen failure to suggest much more than a hick dopiness is turned to a vaguely troubled moodiness, which sort of fits what is going on in the film. FXSmiths gore effects legless bodies, arms ripped off and one neat effect of a limbless torso kept in a tank by Lindsay Duncan and still twitching are very good.
Eric Red has taken the film from Choice Cuts (1965), a novel by French thriller writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, whose works also furnished other films such as the classic multiple remade psycho-thriller Les Diaboliques (1955) and Alfred Hitchcocks Vertigo (1958), as well as the screenplay for the classic French mad surgeon film Eyes Without a Face (1959).