Basket Case | Varied Celluloid

Basket Case

Posted by Josh Samford On June - 28 - 2008
Originally written in 2003, this review was one of my (Josh) first stabs at writing. There has only been some slight editing and revisions done here in 2010. If you think the review is bad as of now, I’m just glad you didn’t read it before the edits.

Plot Outline: Basket Case is the tale of a young man named Duane and his little brother Belial… who happens to be a psychotic Siamese twin mutant murderer. You see, when the brothers were young the decision was made by their parents to remove the disgusting blob of flesh known as Belial. Separated like they were, no one expected Belial to survive. After a very painful upbringing, the two are finally stretching out and looking to do something about the travesty of their separation. They travel to New York city looking for revenge on the doctors who separated the two when they were young. Somewhere along the way Dwayne falls in love and the deformed twin begins his rampage through the doctors who did them wrong.




The Review: As cliche as it may very well be to say, Basket Case is a true ‘so bad it’s good‘ kind of movie. For all the bad acting, directing, lighting, writing, etc. it’s still an extremely entertaining flick. The first classic that Frank Henenlotter would deliver to the world, it has that quaint feeling to it that so much of his work would go on to further establish. Perhaps I’m too forgiving but I can’t help but love the film. The star Kevin VanHentenryck has zero acting abilities, and can come off as a little whiny at times (especially when he’s drunk), but I still think he actually somehow comes off with some sort of charm. A charisma that defies any kind of true acting experience. His performance as Duane strikes me like the kid who is always giving away his toys so the rest of the kids in the neighborhood will hang out with him. The rest of the cast are all amateurs and deliver cringe worthy performances. Not on par with the original Sleepaway Camp but pretty bad none the less.

The special effects in the film are actually pretty terrible, as surprising as that may be. The claymation is just plain horrific, stuff that would make Ray Harryhausen shed tears. The scenes featuring the abomination of claymation also go on too long and are shown in far too great of detail. There are two ways you can look at this I suppose. The first instinct is to think: I can’t believe the people making the film didn’t realize how ridiculous it looked and try something else. When you’ve got no budget you’ll take what you can get I guess. The other way is that perhaps Henenlotter simply wanted to make a statement that “yes, this is ridiculous and yes it is perfectly fine to have fun”. The gore effects aren’t quite as bad as the clay, but they’re still not that great. The film doesn’t really suffer from the poor FX however. It is all so purposely campy that the effects just add to it.

Man, I miss the 80’s. Bad movies like this were a dime a dozen. Now the only place you can find flicks like this is Troma, everything else is either taking itself too serious or is shot on 8mm in some kid’s backyard. The days of a quality exploitation film being released in theaters seems to be over, and all we get is politically correct scream rip-offs. Oh well, there’s no use crying over it. We’ve still got Troma to deliver the occasional bad movie fix, and if there’s nothing in the present we can always look to the past.

The Conclusion
If you like eighties horror films, bad movies or campy movies then you can’t go wrong with a night of Basket Case. Everyone else, people with taste that is, you might want to stay far away.

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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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