Director – Frank Henenlotter
Cast – Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner, Robert Vogel, Diana Browne, Lloyd Pace, Bill Freeman, Joe Clarke, Ruth Neuman
Release Year – 1982
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Writer/director Frank Henenlotter is known as one of the genre’s most passionate exploitation directors to date. Never straying from his unique and often very weird style, he has given us flicks that quite honestly could not come from anyone else on earth. He broke onto the horror scene with his first flick, “Basket Case”, the ultimate experience in grind house exploitation cinema. Not only does this flick has one of the coolest plots ever, but it is a great splatter-filled ride from beginning to end.
“Basket Case” follows Duane Bradley, a young man who was forcefully separated at birth from his deformed ogre-ish Siamese twin. Little did the doctors and family know, his brother survived the attack and Duane has cared for him ever since, carrying him around inside a straw basket. The brothers are now in New York for the first time, but their intentions have nothing to do with sight seeing. Only one thing matters to them now, bloody revenge against the doctors that separated them many years ago.
I am quite ashamed it took me this long to finally view this awesome film. Then again, this isn’t the easiest flick to find unless you settle for some illegal downloading or in my case, Netflix(once again saving the day). I cannot stress enough how much I love revenged themed flicks, so naturally you can see why this flick had my attention from beginning to end. The suspense and anticipation during the first segments of the film was great, and thankfully, we did not have to wait an overly long time to see some great creature carnage. Way too many times the suspense goes on for way too long and eventually bores the viewer, but that is not the case with this flick. It also helps that this creature, I’m sorry, “twin”, is pretty damn sweet looking as well. His actions are creepy as well, and his jealousy over his brother spending time with others who are not him forces him into horrendous bouts of rage. Awesome! Henenlotters writing in this film is fun, and paces perfectly. We don’t get any needless scenes, and the love aspect that was thrown into the story for Duane helped add some great conflict as well.
This never really felt like a low-budget film to me, and that is thanks to Henenlotter’s direction. The fact that he used a live action creature and plenty of blood helped this flick’s appearance and pacing, sure to keep even the sleepiest late-night horror fiend awake until the film’s climax. For a first time directing gig, Frank Henenlotter did a pretty fine job. The conflict felt real, the revenge was satisfying, and he stayed true to his intention of putting out a great exploitation flick.
There are not major complaints on my end, although I would have liked to see gore in this film. We get many kills, most of them very bloody, but that is about it. Just BLOOD. Had we gotten some intestines ripped out or limbs torn off then it would have made this film even more awesome. Luckily, this flick is awesome enough to survive on just blood alone.
Overall, this is an awesome flick that I recommend to all horror fans. Those who enjoy 80s grind house exploitation flicks should give this flick a watch ASAP. You will not be disappointed.