This review contains spoilers. You have been warned.
Basket Case Review
Basket Case (directed by Frank Henenlotter) was always one of those movies I had heard or read about or seen on the shelves of the horror section at Barnes and Noble, but I was never really keen on buying it.
Eventually, I came around to purchasing Brain Damage, another Frank Henenlotter film that I'll talk about in another review.I thoroughly enjoyed Brain Damage and Henenlotter's use of comedy and horror being blended together, so I decided that I may as well give Basket Case a go. And it was something.
The story is relatively simply. A man named Duane walks around New York City with a basket. The basket lid is locked tight with a padlock, creating an overall mystery to the whole thing. He checks into a hotel where it is revealed that his deformed Siamese twin, Belial, is in the basket. The two have come to New York to seek revenge on the surgeons who separated them ten years before the movie took place.It's essentially a revenge flick. That's all there is to it. They go around killing these doctors and then by the end of it, Duane falls in love with a secretary. Belial and Duane share a psychic connection and Belial becomes jealous of all the attention she is getting, so he kills her. This results in a fight between Duane and Belial that concludes with them falling out the window of the hotel, hanging onto the hotel sign that is at least four stories high, and then falling to their deaths. Here's the thing. I didn't really like Basket Case. I understand that it is a cult film and that it was Henenlotter's first and the whole sort. A large majority of the acting was downright terrible. It wasn't the script's fault either. I didn't really like anything about it until the last ten minutes of the film. I enjoyed the ending of the film simply because of its tragic tone. What I hate more than anything are horror films with a happy ending and this film certainly did not have that. It became a story about two brothers who had been separated for so long that they really just wanted to always be together. As a result they died and were most likely merged together in the afterlife. One thing I really did admire about Basket Case was the effects used to create Belial. It was an interesting puppet. Not a lot of paint work was put into him, so he looked like a disgusting mass, but it worked. It was incredibly interesting to watch every moment with him, as the work put behind his movement (fast-frame, puppetry) was clearly in the right place.
It should be noted that Basket Case has two sequels (Duane and Belial are in both), both of which I will review. I like to consider them completely different films as they take away from the impact of the first film's ending.
Overall, Basket Case is not a must-see for anyone but if you're a hardcore horror fan, you need to see it. I enjoyed the film's concept and the SFX/make-up, but it's not the greatest film in the world. I actually enjoy Basket Case 2 far more than the first film, but more on that will follow.