Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Basket Case (1982)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Frank Henenlotter
Starring: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith and Beverly Bonner
Writer: Frank Henenlotter

When you jump into the world of cult horror classics, Frank Henenlotter's name will probably be brought up eventually. Even with not having watched any of his movies, I've had his work leave an impression on me. I remember watching trailers for Basket Case 3 and Frankenhooker when I was a lot younger and always wanting to watch them. Well today I finally start my Henenlotter journey with his first feature film Basket Case.

Man I wish this journey didn't start so bumpy.

Basket Case deserves it's cult status if only for it's central theme. Siamese twins are born, one normal and one a freak. Having been separated against their will they've now come to New York to take revenge on the doctors who performed the operation. It's a fun story which is bolstered by Henenlotter who creates a quirky feel to the film and doesn't take itself that seriously.

However when you get away from the story and tone you bump into a lot of problems that stem from probably a lack of cash in the production. The acting is absolutely horrendous in this movie, distressingly so. It's almost like first year drama level's of acting. Sometimes I would just laugh at the acting so much I would just lose track of the film. So maybe this is a good thing for people who like the so bad it's good movies.

Effects and visuals are also pretty low rent. You get this idea that the film is shot guerrilla style in the shortest amount of time possible. It's a testament to Henenlotter for getting a coherent film out of it all, but it doesn't make for that visually exciting film. There is a charm to some of the claymation like scenes of the monster twin Belial going about his business, but they are few and far between.

Story and tone was strong enough for me to put the sequels on my Quickflix list for future watching, so I'm thinking that's a big positive for the strength of the main idea. However this still doesn't change the fact that it's a bad movie. Watch if you're intrigued at the premise and want to see all the Basket Case movies but just be pre-warned. Here's hoping the next Henenlotter movies are an improvement.

0.5 freaks out of 1
Despite the flaws, there is some entertainment to be had.
0.5 freak out of 1
At the core there is a foundation for a good cult classic.
0 freaks out of 1
Hold your nose, they stink.

0.5 freaks out of 1
Potential but Henenlotter's strength seems to be writing.
0 freaks out of 1
Lack of budget kills this movie.

1.5 freaks out of 5
Not completely devoid of good elements but it's not good.

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