Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dollar Bin Horror Review:Basket Case(1982)

By Eric Polk-
Yesterday was a demonstration in how a low-budget really screws up a horror film. Today, we go from the ridiculous to the sublime(No, put away your 40 Oz. to Freedom downloads, it's not that Sublime)as we delve into the classic 1982 release, Basket Case directed by Frank Henenlotter.

Na├»ve Duane Bradley  arrives in New York City carrying a basket containing his monstrous parasitic half aborted twin, Belial, who is so inhumanly malformed that the few people who know of his existence doubt he can even be considered a human. After their mother died giving birth to them, the conjoined twins' father loathed the sight of them and referred to them simply as "the child and the monster". Embittered by the death of his beloved wife, he turns to three doctors who are his last hope of separating the twins so that Duane can have a normal life and Belial will hopefully die. Surviving the operation, the twosome track down and murder the three doctors responsible for separating them. It is shown that they have a telepathic ability between them, allowing Belial to communicate with Duane. After separating, Duane meets a girl named Casey, a hooker who lives in the Hotel Broslin. He also meets Sharon  and they start a relationship. One night Duane has a nightmare that Belial will eventually rape or hurt Sharon as he eventually does.

This movie, imo, was one of the first to benefit from the VHS boom of the early 80's. You could find it at any place renting videos. In addition, Basket Case benefited from being released by the good folks at Media Home Entertainment(who brought us the first 5 NOES movies, George Romero's Dead trilogy and much, much more). It was also one of the first horror films my father(a horror buff himself) let me watch when I was a child. It was a good call on his part.

The gore is world-class, of course. The comedy is subtle not overpowering. Believe it or not, there is a layer of depth to this movie hardly seen in low-budget schlock. I mean, strip away the blood, and you're left with a main character who can't live a normal life because of the needs of his brother. Everyone he's loved in his life(his aunt, his gal pal) died. Very hard to take.

Basket Case was released a few years ago in a special edition dvd that is well worth your money. Trailers, interviews, behind the scenes footage. Fantastic!


raculfright_13 said...

Great movie. The sequels aren't all that great though.

Jenn said...

BASKET CASE is kind of the zenith of which all cult movies are measured everywhere. I love it with a love unrequited to any love anywhere. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is true. And as for the subtext, you only briefly touched on it here. See BRAIN DAMAGE and the newer BAD BIOLOGY for more reading between the lines Henenlotter style.

Al Bruno III said...

I truly love BASKET CASE, in fact the older I get the more I'm convinced that the world of BASKET CASE is the world I'm living in.