Director – Frank Henenlotter
Cast – Kevin Van Hentenryck, Annie Ross, Gil Roper, Dan Biggers, Jim O’Doherty, Tina Louise Hilbert, Jackson Faw, Jim Grimshaw, Tim Warle, Jerry G. White
Release Year – 1992
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I have remained a devout fan of Frank Henenlotter’s epic 1982 exploitation flick, Basket Case, and even found a few elements I enjoyed in his mediocre sequel, Basket Case 2. Well, after taking some time off from giving us both Basket Case 2 and Frankenhooker in 1990, Henenlotter gave us a pretty fun-to-watch addition to the Basket Case legacy, Basket Case 3: The Progeny. While this flick comes heavily flawed it comes with some great Belial-induced antics that make this an improvement over the previous installment.
Basket Case 3: The Progeny returns Kevin Van Hentenryck as Duane Bradley, who has been under psychiatric care after the disastrous events that occurred at the conclusion of Basket Case 2. Grannie Ruth(Annie Ross) invites Duane to accompany her and the “family” on a roadtrip down south to the home of an old friend of hers named Hal(Dan Biggers). The purpose of the trip? Much to Duane’s astonishment, Belial and his girlfriend are PREGNANT, and Grannie Ruth has made plans for her to birth the child at Hal’s residence. Much to everyone’s surprise, Belial isn’t just a father of a child, but a father of a dozen children! When the local sheriff’s office realizes that they have the FBI Wanted Bradley twins residing at Hal’s home, they make a desperate attempt to cash in on the reward by kidnapping Belial. However, when the kidnapping goes wrong and Belial’s children and baby mamma are affected, Daddy goes on a blood-soaked rampage for revenge…
This is definitely one of those films that is only going to potentially please fans of the series. We get the usual Bradley twin antics in this flick, and Duane’s personal conflict continues. This time it is in regards to his relationship with Belial, who is obviously mad at him over what occurred at the end of the previous installment. As you should be able to tell simply from the fact that Belial is having children, this is not a film you take seriously.
While the story does come off as quite silly it does come with its serious moments, and even gives us a fair amount of vengeance themed violence at the hands of Belial. These scenes were by far the most satisfying of the whole film, and had we been given more of this type of action(like in the first film) then I would have awarded this film a higher rating. The rest of the storyline is the usual comical nonsense which fans of the series can appreciate if they moderately enjoyed the previous installment.
Henenlotter’s direction is fun and showy, as he continued to show his prominence in using live-action freaks/creatures in his films. We get some new additions to the freak family, including one that was superbly used and executed, who happened to be Hal’s son “Little Hal”. The gore is laid on fairly thick on the scenes that required it, which I felt were not used enough. This Basket Case series reminds me a lot of the Feast series. The first film is serious without taking itself seriously and comes with some touches of “fun”, whereas the sequels are nothing but silly fun with little to none of the awesome elements that made the first film so great. It is a bummer that neither Basket Case 2 nor Basket Case 3: The Progeny were nearly as great as Basket Case, but I guess I can find some slight consolation in that the series(as of now) has ended on a somewhat positive note.
Overall, this is a pretty fun installment to the Basket Case series that is sure to only, if any, please the devout fans of Belial and the series overall. We get some great creature effects and a nice vengeance element, but this lacks the punch the original film so expertly executed.