The Film– If you’re familiar to the series, then you can go ahead and skip down a few paragraphs. If not, well here goes- several years back, Duane Bradley and his ex-conjoined, misshapen brother, Belial, embark on a murder spree in New York, killing the doctors who separated them. After the blood dried, a woman who ran a home for the deformed, Granny Ruth, found the boys and took them in. Belial found a female dis-conjoined twin, Eve, while Duane fell in love with Granny’s seemingly normal daughter, Susan.
Well, it turns out Susan wasn’t exactly as normal as Duane first thought. While in bed the first time, she reveals a parasitic, Little Shop of Horrors style embryo that can freely pop out of her stomach. Duane snapped, and accidentally pushed her to her death before sewing Belial back to his side. It took yet another surgery to remove Belial (something he hates), but Granny and her gang made sure things went without incident. Duane was locked in a padded cell after the incident, and Eve became pregnant with Belial’s children.
And so begins Basket Case 3. Seeing the difficulty in assisting the birth (mainly because Eve isn’t exactly anatomically correct), she rounds the freaks up on a second hand school bus and heads to her son Hal’s house in Georgia for assistance. Duane is only partially recovered, so he’s forced to wear a straight jacket and forbidden to talk with a still very angry Belial.
Everything goes decently, with Eve giving birth to a dozen mini-Belial’s. While she recovers, Duane sneaks off to the local sheriff’s department. During a pit-stop earlier, he began chatting it up with the sheriff’s daughter (which in the south is almost always a death sentence), and explains how he and his brother are murders. His theory is to get them both locked up in the same cell, then Belial will have to talk to him. He’s booked, and the deputies head out to arrest Belial after realizing there’s a one million dollar reward for the both of them.
The deputies break into the house where Granny and Co. are staying. Startled, they confuse Eve for Belial and kill her. Realizing their mistake, they steal the babies in hopes Belial will follow and they can lure him into a cell. And he follows all right. After an attack on the department that makes the Terminator look like a diplomat, the brothers team up to save the basket full of demon babies from the now vengeful sheriff. Armed with a DIY power-loader style exoskeleton suit, Belial and Duane exact bloody vengeance on the small town’s police force.
The first Basket Case was, for all intents and purposes, a straight on horror film. The series took the Evil Dead route, and part two became a more of a lighthearted comedy horror. With, you know, mutated and deformed people. Then comes part three, which the best I can tell is designed to make you laugh while repeatedly bashing your frontal lobe in with a barbed wire baseball bat. There seriously is not a single thing about this film I can compare to a non entry in the series. For over a decade, the insanity of the Basket Case series has yet to be equaled.
Frank Henenlotter is a name every horror and genre fan should know. Other than Basket Case, he’s directed the fantastic Frankenhooker (which my grandfather first told me about, oddly enough), Brain Damage, and recently the criminally underrated Bad Biology. His films mix sex, gore, humor, mutations, and some of the most elaborate effects you’ve ever seen. The guy is easily one of the most creative and unique minds in the genre, and if you haven’t seen his films, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Basket Case 3 is a continuation of the pervious film, meaning virtually all the horror elements are gone. Using gross or freaky characters to tell an overall comedic romp works just fine, and the effects to back it up are amazing. As far as plot goes, it’s simple and it works. By works, I mean it gives the film what it requires to show off the collection of set piece characters and devices. It’s like mixing an episode of Ren and Stimpy with about a thousand gallons of blood.
My two favorite deformities are the guy who’s teeth protrude into an almost three foot long oriental fan design, and the guy who’s spine extends so far out of his head you could use it for a coat rack (an and abnormal interest in lettuce). Almost all the mutants are enjoyable on screen, with only one or two coming to mind that were annoying (one with a skull that looked like a palm tree made of bones REALLY grinds on the nerves). But what really sticks with you is the robotic, power loader style death suit.
Duane pays penance by designing a hydraulic suit with Hal for Belial to use in his revenge, complete with a bulletproof face plate, Death Machine style claws, a Rosie O’Donald sized circular saw, and a dangling severed head for the cherry on top. This is officially the coolest fucking movie I’ve ever seen. Oh, and did I mention the sheriff’s daughter loves to dress in BDSM leather and whip the inmates? How can you possibly dislike this movie?
If you can enjoy the weirdness and the pretty much “one set piece to another” story, then the extra goodness will seal the deal. Basket Case 3 is a wild, demented movie that goes from one extreme to another and has a blast doing it. It’s defiantly not for everyone, but if you think you’d like it, you probably will. For me, it was an insane, grotesque hour and a half of pure fun.
The Package– Synapse has given Basket Case 3 a crisp transfer that looks amazing. Not a sign of damage to be found, colors are vibrant, and the picture has a nice layer of noise. The audio is a Dolby 2.0 track that is balanced and crystal clear.
Just the trailer extras-wise, which is the essential extra I feel all DVDs must come with these days.
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