Body Parts

When a repressed criminal psychologist (Jeff Fahey) loses his right arm in a car accident and it’s replaced by the arm of a mass murderer, he discovers to his horror that his new limb seems to have a will and personality of its own. This provocative and effective thriller, directed by Eric Red (who coscripted and coproduced Near Dark), loses some steam, focus, and coherence in its final reels because of what appears to be clumsy studio recutting, but it’s full of directorial savvy and sharp performances. (The always-interesting Brad Dourif is especially good as a painter who winds up with the mass murderer’s left arm, and the fact that Fahey’s hero is more creepy than charismatic at the outset makes for some interesting ambiguities throughout that aren’t lost on the filmmakers.) Based on the novel Choice Cuts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, the same writing team that provided the source novels for Vertigo and Diabolique, and intelligently written for the most part by Red, Norman Snider, Patricia Herskovic, and Joyce Taylor. It’s a pity that Paramount shoved thi’s one out without benefit of press screenings or other tokens of studio confidence; it deserves much better. With Lindsay Duncan, Kim Delaney, Zakes Mokae, and Paul Benvictor. (Norridge, Bel Air Drive-In, Double Drive-In, Ford City, Harlem-Cermak, Burnham Plaza, Chestnut Station)

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