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October 3, 2011

Movie Review: Basket Case (Blu-ray, 1982)

Frank Henenlotter's love for exploitation films of the 1960's and 1970's is very evident in his 1981 film Basket Case. Naturally, now many fans of genre (including myself) hold Basket Case near and dear to their black hearts as being one of the greatest exploitation films of that era. Something Weird Video initially produced a re-mastered special edition of Basket Case in early 2000. It's 2011 now, and amazingly this little grinder is getting the High-Def treatment via Image Entertainment and SWV. Horror fans, you're in for a treat, a ridiculously bloody treat about two brothers - that couldn't be closer.

Buy Basket Case Blu-ray, Special Edition DVD or Watch it Instantly

Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck, Basket Case II and III) is on the move through the grimy underbelly of New York City. Along with his mysterious basket case and a stack of cash, Bradley has everything he needs to live day to day in the Hotel Broslin. All the dregs living in the Hotel Broslin have their suspicions of Duane and what is exactly living in that wicker basket.

It isn't long before Belial, Duane's Siamese twin brother is revealed to the audience in appropriately bloody manner. Belials not quite as nice as Duane but he does share some common toward the medical staff that cut the brothers apart (here it's shown in graphic detail). Finding the doctor and nurse that "disfigured" these two siblings and exacting some good ol' vengeance is the goal for both. Belial and Duane have their plan for revenge set but if people along the way happen to perish as a result of opening the basket case, tough shit. That's what you get for being so damn nosy.

Basket Case looks very good on Blu-ray when considering the source material. It was shot in 16mm so expect grain as you should in any film shot in 16mm. The color is noticeably more vibrant and the source material here didn't have any damage or splices of note.

The extras from the original release of Basket Case are almost all here with one new introduction by director Henenlotter. Outtakes, In Search of Hotel Broslin featurette, the director's commentary and trailer have, thankfully have resurfaced. The introduction goes into a little detail of how Henenlotter wanted this film to look like the original release print -with the night scenes having a bluish color present on that very first print.

The commentary has Henenlotter recollecting his unique experiences with censorship in Houston. Here popular genre writer Joe Bob Briggs came to the rescue demanding the film be shown in it's original uncut form.. He also talks about his vile experience shooting on the floor of a 42nd Street theater restroom. I heaved a little after hearing about that particular story, but all in all it's extremely entertaining.


On the heels of what was a really fine Blu-ray debut in H.G Lewis' The Blood Trilogy, Something Weird Video and Image Entertainment have joined forces to create yet another quality release on the hi-def format. Recommended.

                                             (Photos courtesy of Rock! Shock! Pop!)

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