Basket Case is sleazy and cheap. It’s also a celebration of the darker genres of cinema.
Duane and Belial Bradley are conjoined twins who were separated against their will at a young age. Years later, Duane arrives in New York City with Belial hidden in a wicker basket, and checks into a cheap motel. Together, the siblings scheme bloody revenge on the doctors responsible for their bodily separation.
When you hear a movie name like Basket Case, what do you think of?
A high school comedy? Sports drama? Something cheap and corny?
If you suspected the last, then you are quite right. The first production by cult director Frank Henenlotter, Basket Case looks cheap, feels raw, and in some parts, is also downright nonsensical and gratuitous with the gore and nudity. But does this mean it’s bad? Is it one of those obscure 80s nasties you watch only when you have insomnia? Oh no. Not by a hundred miles. Basket Case is easily one of the most memorable slashers I’ve watched. I’d put it right up there with Halloween, the first Hellraiser. And so on.
What makes it so good? I think it’s the fact that Basket Case is not at all embarrassed about what it is. It positively rejoices in its own devilry. In doing so, the whole movie is infused with a magic that is, to put it simply, very refreshing to watching. Refreshing, as well as assuring. The latter in the sense that the movie assures you it’s alright to indulge in the blood and splatter. That it’s alright to guffaw and maybe even clap. In my case, I held my breath each time a victim ventured near Belial, but I would be lying if I claim I wasn’t eager for the monster to do its worst gnawing yet. If you enjoy slashers, if you prefer movies that are true to their roots, you will love Basket Case. If you’re a collector like me, this one definitely deserves a space on your shelf.
Check out Frank Henenlotter’s other masterpiece. The wicked drugs commentary, Brain Damage.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews!