Criminal psychologist Jeff Fahey loses his right arm in a car crash and gets another arm grafted onto him; the arm, unfortunately, came from a murderer — and there are two other people bearing the psycho's limbs.Director Eric Red (who'd written one of the great disreputable thrillers, The Hitcher) shows a genuine kinetic flair, both in the car crash (among the best ever filmed) and in a wonderfully loony chase in which Fahey, in one speeding car, is handcuffed to a villain riding another car.
But for Body Parts to be more than just another reworking of The Hands of Orlac, it needs creepy, queasy touches; it has to play on our fear of dismemberment. And the source material — the superb 1965 black-comic novel Choice Cuts, by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (who also wrote the book Vertigo was based on) — did that in spades.
The movie is a loud extended riff on the ideas in the novel, and is serviceable clashing-cymbal entertainment on that level, but there's little diabolical elegance to go around; Eric Red's particular revved-up emphasis won't allow for it. At the halfway point, one may be distracted by the mental list of other directors (Cronenberg, Polanski, Stuart Gordon, Sam Raimi) who would've made the material their own and made it vibrate.
I enjoyed what Red does with the material, but the potential is there for a far more stark and disturbing film. Someone remake this one.The movie became something of a news footnote when it was pulled from theaters after the Jeffrey Dahmer murders came to light (due to its title).