Plot: Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) has just arrived in New York City, but he stands out like a sore thumb. Even a blind man could tell Duane is from out of town, with his wide eyed look and naive persona, though the wicker basket he carries seems to gather the most attention. After all, everyone wants to know what it is inside the basket, a secret Duane keeps to himself. He checks into perhaps the seediest place in Times Square, but even among the colorful clientele of the Hotel Breslin, Duane manages to stick out as an odd person. A local burger shop provides Duane’s dinner, though he stuffs most of the food inside the basket, where it is devoured by the basket’s inhabitant. Who lives in the basket? Belial, Duane’s twin brother who is a malformed twin that was once attached, but was removed in a dangerous procedure. The visit to Manhattan is to track down the doctors involved in the operation and take vengeance, but can Duane control Belial long enough to carry out the revenge plot?
Entertainment Value: What’s in the basket? Basket Case is a time tested, genuine grindhouse classic, a movie loaded with b movie thrills and one outlandish moment after another. The narrative does what it needs to, which is set up a murderous rampage from a deformed, vestigial twin with abandonment issues. If that premise alone isn’t enough to make you rush to watch Basket Case, I don’t know what else you could want from this kind of movie. The movie has a great monster in Belial and while he looks cheap, he is a genre legend and gets ample screen time here. The little guy reminds me of Krang and I never tire of him leaping into people’s faces, leering at women, and letting loose those ungodly howls. As wild as Belial is, Duane is just as much fun to watch, thanks to a fearless performance from Kevin Van Hentenwyck, who makes the most of Duane’s quirks. But the entire movie is populated with colorful, memorable characters, so even beyond the brothers, there’s plenty of weirdness here. The pace is brisk and never drags in the least, moving from one wild scene to the next with a blend of humor, violence, and horror elements. Basket Case is a genre classic for a reason, it is packed with fun and over the top moments and for anyone with even a casual interest in horror or grindhouse cinema, this is a must have for your collection.
A bold, public naked stroll from Duane reveals it all, with his manhood basking in the cool, urban breeze. The movie also has some topless scenes and of course, Belial tries to score with whichever ladies happen to be close at hand. The sex scenes are brief, but there is naked flesh involved and if you don’t appreciate a foam puppet of a disfigured monster humping a woman, I don’t know what to tell you. The bloodshed here looks cheap, but is a lot of fun and it splashes around often. Belial is the main source of the violence, as he pounces on victims and sinks his teeth in, spraying some bright red crimson all over the place. There’s also a veterinarian who meets a gruesome fate and a nice sawblade demise, not to mention the cool creature effects used to bring Belial to life here. He might not look convincing, but he does look quite cool. There’s even some fun stop motion at times. I love the dialogue in Basket Case, as it is filled with wild and outlandish lines and exchanges. Duane is such a goon, so his interactions with others are always a good time and awkward fun. But of course, the beautiful sound of Belial’s wails are the true star of the vocal offerings on showcase. On the craziness scale, Belial alone earns some solid points, plus the odd dialogue, sleazy atmosphere, and colorful characters help out as well.
Overall Insanity: 5/10