Paul Bartel's first feature-length film clearly reveals his penchant for the bizarre, and he would continue to explore the dark underbelly of human behavior in every picture he directed or appeared in until his death. Private Parts doesn't have as much humor as some of his better-known features, focusing more on disturbing set pieces and violence, though it's considerably more witty than the competition. Everyone who lives at the King Edward is eccentric, to say the least: Reverend Moon enjoys the company of men, Aunt Martha's pastime is attending the funerals of strangers, and elderly Mrs. Quigley prefers sunbathing in the privacy of her bedroom. Most whacked of all is George, a photographer who supplies candid shots of unsuspecting couples for porn magazines. Watching him make love to a plastic doll with a syringe of his own blood is an unforgettable image. Private Parts works as a traditional horror film as well as a compendium of perversions, and the performances are effectively creepy (especially the great Lucille Benson). But the script weighs heavily on themes of voyeurism and sexual confusion, dragging a ton of seedy baggage along with the standard issue slicing and dicing.
by Fred Beldin review