Horrortoberfest Day 7 – Basket Case (1982)


Anytime something gets recommended to me as a “cult classic” I know that there are only two results that are going to occur. One, the movie is a weird independent film with a lot of great ideas that ends up rising above its low budget to be something truly memorable. Two, the movie is a weird independent film that meanders around and replaces things like story or characters with “shock” scenes of comedy and/or violence that only seem good when you are inebriated with friends. Well, I watched this stone cold sober and by myself and it was definitely a big number two.

Sick burns aside, this movie suffers from that 70’s pacing disease. While we get a decent enough opening scene of a doctor getting killed we then cut to Times Square so that we can all understand that we are in New York City. The main character, Duane, blunders through New York and it takes a full five minutes of him dicking around just to acquire a hotel room. It ends up being a half hour into the movie before we even get a hint at what the plot actually is. We know he killed a doctor and visited another one but outside of that he spends his time garsh-shucksing around and talking to a basket. It isn’t until over 50 minutes into this movie that we get any exposition at all and that comes in the form of a 15 minute flashback that probably should have been at the start of the film so we would have some clue of what the stakes and motives were.

That being said, I can definitely see why this movie ends up being a “cult classic” and it is entirely because of the absolutely ridiculous removed twin of Duane’s. At times a guy’s face and arm peeking out of a basket. Other times a stop-motion prop that drags itself around. Belial, the twin, is just silly enough of a monster to make himself memorable. Unfortunately, he is also annoying enough that I would never want to watch this again. It spends all its time alternating between heavy breathing, screaming, and making the worst chewing noises you’ve ever heard. His preferred method of killing people also appears to be death by light massage as his rubber hand gently rubs up against their face and neck. That is probably a point in the movie’s favor, though, since at least that is interesting.

Basket Case feels like a 15 minute short film that got stretched into an hour and 45 minutes. Every scene drags on and on with the worst sound and video editing. I can forgive shitty video and sound quality and even acting as long as what I’m watching is fun or compelling. This movie only has small spurts of anything interesting going on which are mostly the scenes with Belial and even those scenes get tedious as they end up as 5 minutes of a buff head screaming while he caresses someone else who is screaming. I know that there are going to be diehard fans that absolutely love the schlock nature of this film but there just isn’t enough there to warrant the cult status it is given.

The stop-motion for the head was endearing enough that I am going to give the movie a higher score than I probably otherwise would have. That being said, it still only gets a 2 out of 5.

Favorite part of the movie: The first time Belial gets out of the basket and claymations himself across the floor.

Least favorite part: Belial kills and rapes the girl Duane likes. Maybe it’s because over half the films I’ve reviewed so far have featured a rape scene but Jesus Christ horror movies, just chill out with the unnecessary rape shit.

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