SoH Reviews: Basket Case (1982)

This was an impromptu watch.

I have NO regrets watching this.

I finally, finally got to watch this and thank you to Shudder for having this film and a few others of the director’s films that I know of by title. Like you can’t ignore Frankenhooker, right? But we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about the low budget, cult favorite, strange journey of claymation, puppeting and some impressive gore in the 1982 film Basket Case.

I’m so excited!


basketcase_4Okay, let’s get this out of the way: I remember watching the podcast visual version of Dead Meat talking about this film and even they were stunned but it was the good kind of stunned and now having seen it, I agree. I’ve seen quite a few low budget films but there’s this weird charm throughout the movie. It’s almost self aware that this is low budget and you see “hair in the film” or where they spent the money, and where they did some sneaky stuff cos it’s so obvious.

The plot of Basket Case is simple: two brothers seeking vengeance against those who forcibly separated them but one brother looks normal, average (Duane) and the other is well, deformed (Belial). That’s it, that’s what’s happening and what you get is a very realistic (and probably filmed very quickly) view of late 70s into early 80s New York City, filled with sex shops out on Times Square, background characters feeling real and picked right off the street and some pretty cool gore moments.

basketcase_2Positives about the film: it knows exactly what it is and they are making a movie. I liked the dynamic of the twin brothers, I mean, it makes sense one is very jealous and plays with Duane like a violin. I like how raw the film looks at times yet there is a moment of stock footage because I bet they didn’t have enough funds for certain things. I liked the character Casey, she was very likeable, a non threat to the brothers dynamic. The kills are a mix of humor, repetitive but also more graphic than I expected. My two favorites were the two doctors, both done in different ways. One is completely torn apart, literally, and the other has needles and scalpels shoved into the face and head.

The one big downside was quality that was beyond the movie’s control. With a very limited budget, it’s really obvious when you can see the lighting be so bright at certain points like a light source is directly in one area to very dark, the sound is kind of all over the place, especially with Belial’s chaotic breakdown. basketcase_3

Overall, I had fun with this movie. I didn’t have any high expectations and maybe that’s why I liked it and will recommend this one. There are sequels, they all start in the 90s and with how it ended, I have many questions about that! Basket Case stars Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner and is directed by Frank Henenlotter. I give Basket Case a 3.75 out of 5. It’s more closer to a 4 than it is a 3 or even 3.5. 

Basket Case is currently available on Shudder.

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