Duane Bradley is a young man (with amazing hair) arriving in a seedy part of New York. He seems completely out of place in the big city holding a large wicker basket under his arm. Duane rents a room at a run-down hotel housing a wacky & interesting group of people.
He’ll fit in wonderfully because Duane is an unusual person too being that he carries his deformed brother, Belial around inside his wicker basket.
Duane & Belial are Siamese twins. Belial was attached to Duane’s side until an early age before a group of Doctors surgically removed him against both their wills. Both boys survived the operation & now want their revenge on those that sought to separate them.
Duane feels responsible for his deformed brother so is happy to do his bidding. Belial is violent & murderous but also consumed by jealousy wanting his brother for himself only. This causes friction between the pair as Duane begins to fall in love with a local nurse.
Basket Case is quite simply an amazing horror movie tinged with comedy. It’s shockingly violent, horrifically gory all with its tongue firmly planted in its messed up cheek.
Duane is a messed up individual but his love for his brother is believable & heart-breaking at times. Belial is a sympathetic character who doesn’t deserve the treatment he has received throughout his life. His rage is understandable with his will to be ‘normal’ the driving force. It does result in some pretty horrible moments though such as an attempted rape.
The use of puppetry & stop-motion makes Belial all the more real, his deformed body, twisted face & screams incredibly disturbing. At times the effects can look at bit ropey but on a budget of $35,000 & released in 1982 it holds up way better than a lot of bigger movies released during the same period.
It’s a movie designed to shock but all in the name of good fun. The cast that surround Duane & Belial are a bunch of over-acting lunatics at times making you wonder if the brothers are really that strange at all. Casey in particular is a revelation with her drinking scene with Duane standing out as a highlight of the movie.
It’s ending, while predictable is ever so fitting but doesn’t leave much wiggle room even though there are two sequels (both equally as fun & disturbing).
Basket Case is revelation, an early bar setter for the blend of comedy & horror. It’s also uber-violent which just makes the whole experience even better.