Basket Case was our movie for Tuesday Night Horror Fest, and man were we in for a treat. When I say treat, I mean crappy treat…not delicious peanut butter cup cookie treat. This movie aptly earned its Poo rating for several reasons that need to be explained. The film follows Duane, a boy from upstate New York who comes to Manhattan to find and kill the doctors who separated his Siamese twin Belial from him. Belial, who is a mutated little stump of flesh and face, survived the operation and Duane has kept him hidden from the world in a large wicker basket. The two are inseparable and communicate through telepathy, until a woman gets in the way and they both fall in love with her – leading to a sibling rivalry of the ages.
First, I think I should point out its strengths:
- The worst writing ever which for us in the audience was a bonus because it was just plain campy and laughable. This includes lines such as “Take me now Duane” and “I’m not running a hotel, I’m running a nut house.”
- Awesome New York shots in the late ’70s early ’80s…man Times Square was so much more crack ho-ish back then.
- Cheesy special effects that were ridiculous beyond reason – also laughable.
That is about it. Please note that two of those are only strengths because they were so over the top that it made us crack up. Otherwise, they would be considered weaknesses. This movie falls under the horror category of “the un-natural” which preys on the human fear of anything gross or abnormal. Basket packs 1/10 of the punch that other movies like Shivers (1975) or Frankenstein (1931) were able to accomplish. The fact is, there is no meat on the bones of this basic and un-inventive gore fest.
The part that gets me is that this film is loved by many people on IMDB and Rotten Tomatos as an “all time classic horror movie.” As a horror movie purist, I really feel that the film has to enlighten us as to the root of human fear and/or evil. I guess on a level of just blood lovers and cheesy dialogue seekers, then yes this is a great horror movie for them. In a way I feel that Basket Case is to Evil Dead (1982) what Logan’s Run (1976) is to Star Wars (1977). Both came out less than a year before the more amazing film that followed it. Both are in the same genre. Both added very little to the genre in terms of effects, cinematography, writing, or creativity. Evil Dead is also a low budget, gore-riffic movie full of campy humor and ’80s special effects. The difference is that E.D. brought a new intelligence to horror films, one that required inventive camera work and a brilliant use of sound and light – and with half the budget of Basket Case. It delves much deeper into the human need to protect one’s own life at all costs and the struggle of friends in peril vs. personal safety.
On a final level, I cannot in good conscience recommend Basket Case to anyone. We had a great time laughing at this movie and relishing in its stop animation violence – until an explicit and pointless scene which ruined the movie. Without this scene I may have given it a good ol’ fashioned Mass Attack Rating of Brussel Sprout, as any lover of the genre would probably get a kick out of it. Sadly, you’ll just have to take our word that this movie isn’t worth your time (as it is Poo). If you’ve seen the movie, or agree/disagree with my comments – let it out in the comments section and teach me a lesson or two.