Picks and Pans Review: Body Bags

updated 08/09/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/09/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Showtime (Sun., Aug. 8, 9 p.m. ET)

B-

The first chapter in this horror trilogy is an old-fashioned bit of harum-scarum about a woman (Alex Datcher) on her first night as the cashier at a desolate gas station as a killer prowls the countryside.

The second story is a Grand Guignol treatment about a man (Stacy Keach) with thinning hair who seeks help from a TV pilatory pitchman (David Warner). Both these segments are directed by John Carpenter (Halloween), who also serves as the show's host, playing a creepy formaldehyde-guzzling coroner at a well-stocked morgue. (Yes, this program's con lent, format, style and tone owe a debt to HBO's Tales from the Crypt.)

The final and least impressive segment concerns a baseball player (Mark Hamill) who undergoes an eye transplant after a car accident. It's directed by Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Other drive-in caliber movie directors, including Wes Craven, Sam Raimi and Roger Corman, have acting cameos sprinkled throughout the trilogy.

The entire exercise is far too gory for my tastes. But I guess in the horror racket, you can't make an omelette without eviscerating a few chickens.

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