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David F. Friedman
Charming country bumpkin Duane Bradley takes a motel room in New York with no other luggage than a basket. In a flash back-series we learn it contains his surgically removed Siamese twin who is not only physically deformed so badly the doctors hesitated to consider him a human, but is also the vindictive drive of their trip, with the purpose to kill off all those he blames. But in the reception of one of those doctors, Duane gets his first ever date, with the receptionist, and wants to start a positive life too - when the freak twin escapes, these scene is set for a grim finale. Written by
It's rare to see a horror film that is actually "good", featuring an original premise and decent acting/plot. Some films should have been "classics" because they feature both, but are mocked years later for their horrible special effects (think about it - most "classic horror films" feature human or human-like villains e.g. slasher flicks and "Rosemary's Baby"). Well, Basket Case is no exception.
The premise is one of the most original, then and probably still now. Duane carries his brother Belial around in a basket, and the two are trying to find and murder the doctors who separated them. It reminds one of "Freaks", with the deformed Belial and his brother Duane as anti-heros of sorts, getting revenge on the "normal" people that treated them so cruelly. A flashback to Duane's and Belial's separation and events in the film actually made me feel sorry for both (Duane because Belial won't let him have any time or romance for himself, and Belial because everyone is deathly afraid of him but his brother).
For a low budget '80s flick, Belial actually looks really good for the most part; though the first few deaths in the movie where he remains invisible are still more effective. When Belial jumps at some people it looks sort of funny, but when he is stationary (must've been a better puppet), he looks either frightened or damned frightening. Belial also makes some thankfully short appearances as a decent stop-motion animation.
It should also be noted that the lower quality grainy film stock does add to the seediness of the film and its bad-side-of-New York setting to give it a more creepy and realistic quality. There's a fairly high amount of gore, and the events leading up to the ending are eerie and shocking (it should be noted that, though it has some weak comedic aspects, this film isn't the intended horror/comedy its sequels are). Some of the acting isn't the greatest, but that's to be expected. After all, this is a horror film, and after all, it's low budget. Knowing that just makes this film seem all the more classic.
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