Thursday, October 18, 2018

Movie Review: "Basket Case" (1982)

Director: Frank Henenlotter
Year: 1982
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

A man named Duane and his physically deformed brother Belial take revenge on those who have wronged them in the past.

Basket Case 1982 movie still Kevin Van Hentenryck
"What's in the basket?" (Image Source)
What's in the basket, you ask? It's only my physically deformed, psychotic, murderous twin brother! "Basket Case" is written and directed by Frank Henenlotter. Besides directing the two sequels to this film, he has also helmed such other horror-themed flicks as "Brain Damage" and "Frankenhooker." This story is about a young man named Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck), who seems like a normal enough person despite carrying a wicker basket everywhere he goes. Inside this basket is his once-conjoined twin brother Belial. The two of them are on a quest to get vengeance on the doctors that performed their separation surgery because after it was completed, they threw Belial away like trash rather than treating him like a person.

Basket Case 1982 movie still bloody vet
"Our aunt said it was our special gift." (Image Source)
Was Belial born a monster, or did he only become a monster because he was treated like one? Sure, he looks like a tumor with arms and a face like Bib Fortuna. Yes, his eyes glow. Okay, he has some weird telepathic abilities, but that doesn't mean he isn't a person. "Basket Case" is a slightly ridiculous but ultimately enjoyable revenge horror flick. It may sound weird and twisted, but it's sort of fun watching the deformed Belial, who is roughly the size of a beach ball, tear people apart slowly but surely. We love the stop-motion animation used to bring this character to life when he is just doing regular things like searching a room. It may be a jarring shift for some considering this technique isn't used often, but we appreciated it. We also like the outrageous moments when Belial attacks his victims as he simply hangs off them while they flail around waiting to die. It brings back fond memories of Bela Lugosi's character fighting a rubber octopus in Ed Wood's "Bride of the Monster," only much more bloody and darkly humorous.
Basket Case 1982 movie still Belial
"Is this what I have to worry about whenever I find a girl I like?" (Image Source)
"Basket Case" won't be for everyone. It is terribly written and awfully shot at times. The cameraperson has a hard time standing still, and it all feels very cheap (which it surely was), but we very much enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek creature-feature horror movie. If you're looking for an early 80's exploitation movie, you've hit the jackpot with "Basket Case."

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.2/10
RT Rating: 74%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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