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Review: Basket Case (1982)

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Review by: Monkey Fist

SCUM Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Basket Case is a campy, grotesque classic from director Frank Henenlotter. The tale revolves around two brothers separated at age twelve…quite literally. You see, Duane and Belial Bradley are as close as two brothers can get, they’re Siamese twins! But they’re not exactly identical. In fact, Belial is a deformed and angsty little creature while Duane is a regular looking lad. Their father hires a team of doctors to perform an operation to separate the brothers, hoping that Belial will die in the process. But the surgery only makes matters worse, with Belial free and ready to wreak havoc! Years later, the Bradley brothers travel to New York to find the doctors responsible and make them pay! I feel Basket Case scores with originality. The plot has not been attempted before or after this movie (I wonder why??). At heart Basket Case is really a story about brotherly love, and all the complications that come with it – loyalty, jealousy and betrayal.

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The film has a dirty, grainy quality that is highly reminiscent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In fact, everything about this movie is dirty, from the seedy Hotel Broslin to the streets of New York at night. It proves that you can do a lot with a shoestring budget: you can maul people’s faces off, create a gruesome stop-motion monster, and eventually spawn two nasty sequels!! I honestly think that no real actors were used in filming and I would not be surprised if they were just taken off the streets. Even the lead actor, Kevin Van Hentenryck, who stars as Duane Bradley is below par and it does not help that he’s spotting the same hairdo as Rick Springfield!! While they’re not classically trained actors and actresses, they do fit in with the overall dynamics (sleaziness in this particular case) of the film. I watched the film again after twenty odd years and still find it thoroughly enjoyable. It is really amazing what you can do with no budget but lots of imagination and inspiration!

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About The Author

Monkey Fist’s fascination with film began in the late ‘70s when he was first introduced to B-classics such as 'The Car', 'Konga' and 'The Incredible Melting Man'. Life might have been very different if he had heeded his mom’s advice to read Enid Blyton novels instead. Seriously, he’s just glad he didn’t! Instead, a lot of time was spent checking out the latest flicks in local theaters or getting updates from the 'Movie News' mag. It wasn’t long before he delved into Japanese anime and Tokusatsu gems like Voltron, Gatchaman and Kamen Rider. Today, he continues exploring and collecting classics from the reel world!

2 Comments

  1. SCUM March 29, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Hi Fringe Void! Thanks for the heads-up. Yeah this is one of those rare gems from the 80s that still lingers on after you’ve watched it years ago. Some of the horror films these days get too much CGI and somehow it doesn’t feel as good. Oh well. Stay tuned for more off-beat flicks! 🙂

  2. Fringe Void March 28, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    One of my absolute favorites! Dirty, grainy and sleazy for sure. I’d love to see Kevin Van Hentenryck in more stuff, and of course, a Basket Case 4.

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