October 2, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Basket Case

October is upon us. That means we are fully into the time of year haunted by all manner of ghouls, ghosts, demons, and monsters, along with all manner of other unsavory critters. This year, I have taken cue from some of the people I follow on Twitter and will try to make the time to watch a horror movie a day for the month. Seems like something right up my alley, considering my affinity for blood and gore. It will give me an opportunity to catch up with old favorites, maybe make some revisits, and fill some holes in my viewing history. First up: Basket Case.

Believe it or not, this was the first time I had seen the grimy, low-budget classic. Yes, classic. It may not be a classic in the Halloween sense but it is nonetheless. Basket Case is a low budget, grimy, gritty little horror film that takes a look at when revenge goes beyond that and into something more evil and bloodthirsty. It is the sort of movie that would be right at home in the crappiest theater you can think of, sticky floors, torn up seats, and a print that has been all beat to hell with marks, dust and scratches. You know, the kind of environment and look that screams grindhouse, or at least the presence of an actual print and not just data on a hard drive.

Sadly, this is not how I saw it. I saw it as a digital stream from Netflix Watch Instant. It was quite the experience. It has some of the hallmarks of these low budget horror filmmaking of the era, bad acting, creative, if clearly fake effects, a less then fully baked screenplay, and an undeniable energy. It is the energy that really differentiates these movies from those of today.You can tell that writer/director Frank Henenlotter was really into making this movie, the desire translates to the screen and makes it that much more watchable and worthwhile.

Now, what was that? You haven't heard of Basket Case? I know it took me awhile to see it, but I have known of it for some time. It centers on Duane Bradley, a naive, likable young guy and he has just moved to the city. He takes up residence in a cheap flophouse inhabited by a number of colorful characters. He has nothing with him but a large basket equipped with a padlock.

The basket contains Duane's separated, mutant siamese twin brother. His name is Belial, and the two are seeking revenge on the doctor's who separated them. However, they get a little more than they bargained for with those curious about what's in the basket and Duane starting a relationship with a receptionist. Belial is the jealous type and gets involved in their young love.

It is a modestly bloody movie, but is definitely one that grows on you. Haha. Yeah, grows. Belial is a great creation, a mixture of live action stuff, stop motion, and foam latex, and it all looks great, combine that with the haunting sound design of his shriek and you have a movie monster to remember.

It is not a movie that everyone will take too, but you know who you are if this is up your alley. This is afun, weird, grimy little movie and anyone who is into the odd side of horror should check it out.


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