Saturday, April 27, 2013

Basket Case

Basket Case Directed By Frank Henenlotter Starring Kevin Van Hentenryck (1982)

   Me & Belial go way back, as a young horror fanatic that got in trouble for plastering gore pictures on my bedroom walls (I remember being jealous of "Chainsaw" in Summer School, for not having as many posters)! Basket Case & I go back to the early 80’s when I would always see that bizarre pair of eyes and claws peaking out of a basket at different video stores in Florida and NY, among the infamous Faces Of Death Mondo stuff and H.G. Lewis Big Box covers. I first read about it in a Fangoria Bloody Best issue and man did it scar me for life! It also taught me a valuable lesson; not to fuck with a hotdog scarfing pint sized mound of gelatinous flesh, or you will end up with permanent damage and die violently.

   It takes the circus freak revenge aspect and sets it in vintage Time Square, where Frank lived and cast his friends and production team (sometimes interchangeable) to help bring this schlocky masterpiece to the screen. Dwayne Bradley and his brother Belial are lost in calloused streets of the rotten apple, they show up at a sleazy hotel with an odd assortment of derelict tenants and angry police. Dwayne seems to have an endless amount of cash, which causes some of the creeps to break into his apartment, good thing he has a ravenous pint sized mutant watchdog ready to eviscerate any perpetrators. He carries his brother around in a wicker basket. Other incidents that prevent Dwayne from getting bashed over the head and robbed happen in various locations (he falls asleep at the movies) and of course like in the trailer everyone wants to know… What’s in the Basket!!!
You're my dinner Bitch!

                   They really regret finding out and get dismembered in vicious ways. I first saw this film on USA Up All Night hosted by Gilbert Gottfried (and later Rhonda Shear), his comments were excruciating and I don’t recommend seeking this version out. 

My ears are bleeding!

Then for my 21st birthday, (which I spent with the great Skunkape!) I got the limegreen clamshell Something Weird Video VHS tape (which I still proudly display)! That’s when I really got to appreciate this flick for its artistic lowbrow trash value. The basic premise is that a team of corrupt doctors botched a conjoined twin surgery and separated the brothers against their will, which pissed them off enough to seek revenge later. The doctors change their identities, but years later, Dwayne and Belial bust them up in a major disgusting way. The little guy tears and claws his way through the city, but also tries to control his brother and oversteps his boundaries. He is overprotective and tries to prevent him from having a relationship (he meets a weird girl in a cheap ugly blond wig), why he is interested in her is a mystery, it’s a big city after all! Belial incessantly nags him telepathically and it strains their relationship. One of the girls that plays a friendly hooker is a staple in all of Henenlotter’s films, Mrs. Beverely Bonner,she is in all of his films (even the lame Bad Biology) and years before in a movie with Divine, check out this great interview at Retrocrush.

    Another person that’s always featured in Henenlotter's films is 60’s horror host icon John Zacherley (although he’s in everything else besides this one, and not in Bad Biology). It's one of those classic horror flicks dear to most gore fans that I know is overly reviewed, but still at Theater Of Guts we aim to pay tribute to the classics as well as delve into unknown territory. I highly recommend owning the SWV DVD which is loaded with tons of extras and even commentary!


  1. In one of those pictures Belial looks almost exactly like the monster from "The Keep" (1982).

  2. This is perhaps the greatest movie of all time.

  3. I thought this film was absolutely awful. But, however, just wanted to tell you a funny wee story. I was at a horror movie festerville a couple of years ago in Chicago. They showed Basket Case (a woman behind us muttered "Shut up and take it, bitch," during the rape scene!) and had Kevin Vanwhatthefuck'shislastname as a guest. A young woman (he was ALL OVER all the young women there, and quite right too! Decent guy to talk to as well) came up to him with a straitjacket to autograph. "You have your own straitjacket. You're interesting," (italicize that last word for full effect) he said, and duly signed it. Nutty bitch!

  4. Good one graham, I mean anonymous! I like how the star of Basket Case showed up in Brain Damage as himself.


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