The posters for Frank Henenlotter’s films were always in the background growing up and I knew that they were something I should be into. For whatever reason, I just never pulled the trigger until recently. 1988’s Brain Damage was my first go with Henenlotter’s stuff, and I was immediately searching their IMDB for more.
The Basket Case trilogy revolves around Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck) and his previously attached twin brother, Belial. The B-Man is considered the main antagonist in the series, but that’s up for debate in my opinion. He’s just a family man trying to get by. The trilogy starts out a little dark and goofy and ramps up from there. Shoutout to Beverly Bonner for always showing up and being terrific.
The reviews below are a little sparse, but that is by design. Without spoilers you wonderful horror nuts can watch and experience them for yourselves, your own way.
I hope you enjoy them. We certainly do.
Basket Case (1982)
The movie opens with Duane carrying a wicker basket around New York City. He checks into a seedy hotel where we meet the contents of the container: his deformed brother. A little later we learn they are after the doctors who cut the twins apart against their wills.
The acting is terrible and the lighting is a little off-putting. After watching most of Henenlotter’s films, that may be by choice. Clearly done on a shoestring budget, the FX are practical and wonderfully cheap. Bring on the blood, hand puppet Belial.
Basket Case 2 (1990)
This is probably my favorite out of the three. It keeps the feel, but doubles up on the weird while adding some new characters into the mix. Granny Ruth and her family of misfits are just too wonderful.
Everything is a bit better this round: lighting, acting, FX, sound. All kicked up just a smidge, with a touch more wonder and whimsy. Please watch.
Basket Case 3 (1991)
The Progeny is the last in the series, and it is something to behold. I’m sure you’ve deduced by now that not only did Belial find a loving bride in the last flick, they are expecting…something. Tensions are high and blood is boiling as Duane and his brother aren’t seeing eye to eye.
What’ll happen with Belial’s brood and the holistic house of oddities under Granny Ruth’s care? It’s the last in the series and we’ve come this far. How can you not watch?
There aren’t a ton of visual leaps from 2 to 3, so just enjoy the chaos and crazy.
Well, fellow Unfocused. That’s the Basket Case trilogy in a gory nutshell. I hope you look into these films and love them as much as we do. At the very least, I hope that they’ll be in the back of your mind from here on out. I know I always wonder when I see a wicker basket…
* Thanks to Robert for help with editing.