Basket Case (1982) (Arrow Video Limited Edition) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Frank Henenlotter
Starring: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner
Rated: UR/Region A/1:37/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Arrow Video
Charming country bumpkin Duane Bradley takes a motel room in New York with no other luggage than a basket. In a flash back-series we learn it contains his surgically removed Siamese twin who is not only physically deformed so badly the doctors hesitated to consider him a human, but is also the vindictive drive of their trip, with the purpose to kill off all those he blames. But in the reception of one of those doctors, Duane gets his first ever date, with the receptionist, and wants to start a positive life too – when the freak twin escapes, the scene is set for a grim finale.
I don’t know if we can call Basket Case a timeless classic by any means, but this is certainly a movie that has everything a cult classic needs to be what the term “Cult classic” means. This what I’d call a simple but effective tale of two brothers, only it turns out to be a very twisted and fully tale of two brothers. Basket Case might not be my favorite horror movie of all-time, maybe not even close, but it is one of those movies that if it is one I’ll watch it. I think I might have liked it better as a kid than I do as an adult, but the nostalgia I have for it really makes me appreciate it just as strongly as ever. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that took advantage of the grand thing that was home video. We’d rent at times up to 4 or 5 videos per weekend. As soon as I was old enough to actually know what was being rented, I took notice of the large amount of horror films being shown in my house. Needless to say, I’ve sat through a ton of horror films in my childhood, many of which are nothing more than a blur to me now. Very few videos I saw would stick out to me. Basket Case sticks out. The movie its self-focuses on Duane Bradley and his basket that he doesn’t seem to ever leave behind. As the movie moves along we see that in this basket is none other than Duane’s parasitic twin, Belia. Belia obviously is deformed to the point that not only does he seem to possess some type of odd power and control over his brother, he also is so small that he gets kept in a basket! Gotta love the 80’s huh? In no time flat, we figure out that the two brothers are holding a rather nasty grudge against three Doctors that the two have journeyed into New York City to seek out and take revenge upon. And might I add that the revenge is glorious when it is taken! The body count in this film comes in at a small number, but when it does start breaking down, the film more than makes up for the time we wait in between kills with large amounts of blood! This in-between time I speak of is where the humor is tossed in and more times than not, it’ll get at least a chuckle out of you.
Things seem to be going as planned for Bradly Twins until as you should have guessed by now, a girl shows up that expresses interest in Duane. When this happens look out! Because the twins that use to be attached to one another now have something besides each other coming between them, and that is something Belia just isn’t going to stand for. This might be a horror film made in 1982 but the pace is just fine. The director uses pretty clever ways to keep you watching until the good stuff happens. Like for instance, halfway through the movie we finally see a flashback to the origin of the twins. Little things like that I can appreciate, because back in the day (and sometimes now even) directors like to fill the gaps in between the action in horror films with useless dialogue and scenes that just slow everything down to an annoyingly slow pace. In Basket Case, things stay pretty enjoyable even if highly corny. Then again, it was the 80’s right? Basket Case has been remastered here by Arrow Video and is still in the 1:37 original ratio the old Blu-ray from Image was in. This is the natural ratio of the film and seeing as how this was 16mm, I think it looks pretty darn good all things considering with what Arrow did to try to improve upon the look before. Heck, maybe way better than just good. It looks pretty damn awesome. Also awesome is the extras on this disc. If you already have the other Blu-ray or even the UK trilogy set, I think this has a good enough look and enough extras to warrant another buy, especially if you dig this movie a lot.
– Brand New Audio Commentary with writer/director Frank Henenlotter and star Kevin VanHentenryck
– Archival audio commentary with Frank Henenlotter, producer Edgar Ievins, actress Beverly Bonner and filmmaker Scooter McRae
– Basket Case 3 1/2: An Interview with Duane Bradley/Short by Henenlotter
– Me and the Bradley Boys: Interview with Kevin VanHentenryck
– A Brief Interview with Director Frank Henenlotter
– Seeing Double: The Basket Case Twins: Interviews with actresses Florence and Maryellen Schultz
– Blood, Basket and Beyond: New interview with actress Beverly Bonner
– The Latvian Connection: Interviews with Edgar Ievins, Ilze Balodis, Ugis Nigals and Kika Nigals
– Belial Goes to the Drive-In: New Interview with critic Joe Bob Briggs
– Basket Case at MoMA
– What’s in the Basket?: Full-Length Documentary on The Basket Case Films
– In Search of the Hotel Broslin
– The Frisson of Fission: Basket Case, Conjoined Twins and ‘Freaks’ in Cinema
– Slash of the Knife: Short Film By Henenlotter
– Slash of the Knife Outtakes
– Slash of the Knife Image Gallery
– Basket Case Outtakes
– Belial’s Dream: 2017 animated short by Robert Morgan.
– Making Belial’s Dream
– Image Galleries
– TV Spot
– Radio Spot
Quality of Transfer: 90%
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