Runtime: 90 Minutes
This B-Movie 80’s horror film is low budget, cheaply but overall makes it an entertaining mess. Although a few scenes are fake looking and some of the effects are cheaply done it gives the film its appeal. The 80’s brought many repetitive slash and dash type of films with the likes of Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddie Krueger cornering (and strangling) and “Basket Case” is one of the cheaper of those films. The horror that is most likely trying to be funny B-movie sleaze from Frank Henenlotter, director and writer is enjoyable, at least a little.
The film begins with a bloody prologue and the arrival of young Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck) at a broken-down New York hotel full of drunks, hookers, and assorted weirdos. He flashes many bills at the hotel manager, carries a large wicker basket with him, and seems bewildered at the variety of characters on display. Once he is alone, Duane's own behaviour becomes bewildering as he talks incessantly to some unseen presence and drops prodigious quantities of fast food into his basket. After Duane visits a surgeon's office and the doctor gets rendered into a mangled corpse, all becomes clear; Duane is half of a pair of Siamese twins who were separated against their will in a brutal operation a decade earlier. From here onwards, we follow Duane and his beach ball sized Brother Belial in numerous weird events.
This is probably one of the weirdest horror films made and it is all because of Duane’s deformed brother. For a film with only a budget of $35, 000 it is fun to see the effects they tried. Most of the special effects for Belial consist largely of a puppet in some scenes and stop motion in others. When Belial's hand is seen attacking his victims, it is really a glove worn by Henenlotter. The full size Belial puppet is also seen in the scenes where Belial is seen with an actor or where his eyes glow red. The Belial rampage sequence used stop motion animation. What I liked about that scene it looked so silly and it was nice to see them using stop motion. It was fun to see their low-budget creativity.
The acting was badly done and many of the horror scenes were just plain silly. Belial is only one foot off the ground and still he (or it) manages to kill people so easily, even after hanging on their face for more than 30 seconds. Belial is one of the strangest horror characters there is and I think the back-story Henenlotter created was creative, inventive and strange which makes it so amusing and just makes you think of what that would be like for the two of them.
The first scene of the film says B-movie horror all over it. Once we witness that doctor, being killed in a fake, but rather funny way, you know the film is going to be a different ride. With overly done gore, cheesy 80’s acting in some places, and a deformed killer “Basket Case” can be fun if you can appeal to its odd deranged style.
My Rating: 7/10