BluRay/DVD Reviews

BASKET CASE 3

By • Jan 6th, 2013 •

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The year was nineteen eighty-two and the world was introduced to Duane and his deformed basket dwelling brother Belial. Gallons of blood and one sequel later, king of New York grind house Frank Henenlotter brought us BASKET CASE 3. I first spoke with Frank when I interviewed him for a magazine and when I asked what film of his he liked the least he quickly shot back BASKET CASE 3, and on any given day he`ll say he either downright hates it or regards it with just a mild dislike. While I love living in the sick and twisted world that Henenlotter has created, this one might have been better left in the basket. But is it all bad?

I would say the writing hurt this film the most. BASKET CASE 3 has a very unbalanced story structure. For example you would expect the film to have a big build up to the birth of Belial`s offspring, yet less then forty minutes into the movie the little broods are brought into the world. And it’s never a good sign when you introduce new characters, especially your villains, over half way through the film. What made the original BASKET CASE so success was how simple the narrative was. The problem here is that when you add too many elements it gets further away from what originally made the first film so compelling. The plot gets so whacky and far out it’s difficult for even the most hardcore Henenlotter fan to adopt the premise. It’s also disheartening that this is one of the few movies that are not filmed in New York City, which Frank is identified with the same way George Romero is identified with Pittsburgh.

Pacing is another issue with the film. Many scenes are needless and do not propel the story forward. Yes it’s fun to watch the sheriff’s scantily clad daughter wielding a whip and abusing poor Duane in his cell but it doesn’t add anything. I`m one for over-the-top cinema but this border-lines on cartoonish and some scenes just don’t make a whole lot of sense. Very curious because the last time Robert Martin teamed up with Frank we got the wonderful FRANKENHOOKER.

BASKET CASE 3 is not a total waste of celluloid. Hands down the best scene in the film is the bus ride with the freaks. All of a sudden and for no reason they burst into song. The talented jazz legend Annie Ross graces us with her amazing voice and does a great rendition of PERSONALITY all accompanied by the freaks of course. There are also some very funny set pieces like the birth of the litter of belials.

The special effects are top notch. Belial gets a much-needed upgrade in this one, with the ability to emote much more than in the last film. The freak make-ups are much grander with some new human oddities in the mix. The jokes and sight gags are generally funny and pulled off well by talented actors. (There is a funny line that references FRANKENHOOKER).

This film is helped by its brilliant cast. Returning are Kevin Van Hentenryck and Annie Ross. It’s truly a joy to see Kevin take his character from BASKET CASE 2 where he’s cracking up, to running around in a straight jacket bouncing off the walls. Annie Ross, what can I say – she is as always very good and adds class to this loony production. I feel it’s worth mentioning actor Gil Roper who delivers his lines with great comedic timing. He’s quite enjoyable to watch.

When even the co-writer/director acknowledges his film as bad you know what you’re in for… I can see where this could have been a better film, since it has many interesting ideas going for it. But bad writing and numerous MPAA ratings problems prevent it from being as entertaining as the previous two entries.

Despite being the black sheep, I urge people to give this film a look anyways. It’s still a wild ride, with enough blood, breasts and monster sex to keep everyone in your flesh-eating family happy. Despite it’s problems, it is still a unique film that only the master of grind house exploitation could have given birth to.
So don’t throw this baby out with the basket. And rumors are abuzz that there might be another bundle of joy on its way?

Also, if you freeze-frame the scene when Annie drives the bus away she first meets the sheriff you can see in the bus windows the reflection of the crew.

PICTURE: The picture looks great. It has been remastered using the original 35 element in an anamorphic widescreen format with a 1:78:1 aspect ratio. As always the images are crisp and clear.

SOUND: The sound is mono 2.0 and is crisp and clear. No noise distortion and for mono it sounds very good. Great for those baby monster screams.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The only feature is an original trailer.

OVERALL: As always Synapse brings a bundle of joy that both looks great and sounds flawless. Despite its lack of features it’s a good DVD for your collection.

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