Basket Case (1982)

Duane arrives in New York with a picnic hamper, a wad of money, and a Brian-May-from-Queen hairdo. The basket contains his deformed conjoined twin brother, Belial, who was surgically removed and left out with the trash some years earlier. And now they’ve come to the big city to get revenge on those who did the procedure that dark night.

Belial gets a handful

It’s clearly a low budget film, with low-tech special effects and some unintentionally amusing acting. Belial is basically a growling rubber puppet with nasty teeth. Very obvious stop-motion animation is used to show him walking around (after I’d stopped laughing, it reminded me of watching The Wombles). His deadly attacks often feature a head shot of the victim with a monster-hand rubber glove pushing fingers in their mouth, or the victim spinning around with an inanimate Belial doll attached to their neck. And when Belial gets angry, his eyes (literally) light up red. There is a lot here you can laugh at.

Having said that, the sleaziness of the locations and the characters is very effective – you almost feel dirty just watching. The movie has a dark sense of humour, and it even fits in some pathos (the operation scene for example, and Belial out with the rubbish).

The characters are odd but interesting, and are made up of society dropouts, sleazeballs, mentally ill people, and prostitutes. I particularly liked Sharon, the doctor’s receptionist and love-interest for Duane, with her air of desperation (something to do with her awful wig scaring men off?). She is also involved in one of the most disturbing scenes in the film.

As an exploitation movie, it doesn’t forget the nudity. There are boobs – well, one at any rate (try to resist making a doorbell ding-dong sound in that scene) and surprisingly, a male full-frontal. The film was a cult hit on video in the 80s, and despite all its shortcomings, it’s hard not to like it. It’s creepy, entertaining, you can laugh at it, laugh with it, it’s sometimes disturbing and shocking, and at other times laugh-out-loud silly. But above all, it’s a fun movie to watch with a group of friends.

 

Basket Case is available to purchase at amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, play.com and other online retailers.

Basket Case/1982/Basket Case Productions/Dir: F Henenlotter/Prod: E Ievins

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