Monday, May 3, 2010

Basket Case - 3.5/5

Every now and then (especially in the 60's, 70's and 80's) there's a low budget horror film comes out that really adds something to the new to the genre. After viewing Basket Case it's easy to see why this film became an underground classic back in 1982 because it really was something different. So much in fact that it took this reviewer a few viewings to truly like the film. What me, a horror connoisseur didn't like Basket Case that much on first viewing? This shows you that some films shouldn't be judged on first viewing alone and sometimes it takes a second watch for everything to sink into place.

The cleverly titled Basket Case has a young man check into a seedy motel on the New York strip. The peculiar thing about this strange young man is that he is carrying a huge wicker basket with him where ever goes. What the hell does he have in the basket? Well later we find he keeps his morbidly deformed twin hidden behind it's woven plant fibers. The gruesome twosome is on the revenge to kill all the doctors that separated them when they were young. And boy do they kill them! Our little deformed creature named Belial likes his kills bloody making this a must for gore hounds. While on their mission our older, normal looking brother starts to fall in love and Belial doesn't like the fact that someone else may become more important in his brother's life and in turn decides to go after his lover, in a gruesome and perverse way.

The thing that threw me off on first viewing was the EXTREMELY low budget of this film. We aren't talking show-string, we're talking no fucking strings. Everything just looked so god-damn cheap to me at first. Upon second viewing I actually became amazed on what the filmmakers were able to accomplish with nothing. The prop that suffers the most from the lack of budget is the look of Belial himself (or would it be "itself"?), who just looks like a rubberized chew toy with eyes that light up. However even his appearance grows on you like a callas on your foot. Since the film had no budget the crew actually filmed this in actually seedy locations giving this film a real authentic look. That mixed with truly perverse sequences made me instantly want to jump in the shower afterwords.

This film is definitely not for all tastes. It's actually made for those who are able to handle tastelessness. The crazy humor, the outrageous gore, and the colorful supporting cast really grew on me. There is a sequence towards the end involving Belial and his brothers girlfriend that many will find offensive (hell some of the crew even walked off the set while filming it) so you've been warned. My second viewing gave me new found respect for director Frank Henenlotter, a director who has a few films worth horror fans discovering, especially Basket Case.

Written By Eric Reifschneider

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