Basket Case (1982)
What’s it About: Duane Bradley and his brother, Belial, who is the answer to the question “What’s in the basket?” are out for vengeance because Belial was cut off of Duane’s torso when they were younger and they did not appreciate it one bit. Although Belial’s body looks like the pile of feces they keep in a bucket to keep flies out of the kitchen at Pizza Hut (or as Duane puts it, “He looks like a squashed octopus!”) he is somehow able to move around like lightning and kill. Duane and Belial move into a crackhotel, where Duane is immediately befriended by a tranny prostitute.
Belial is super-pissed at all times. He gets jealous of Duane making time with a girl so he tears their cheap hotel room apart. A lot of time is devoted to the backstory of Duane and Belial getting separated. See, their mother died in childbirth, and their father has nothing but disdain for Belial and wants him gone. No doctor will dare separate them, until one team takes on the task. They perform this ultra-delicate procedure by taking a scalpel and hacking Belial right off Duane’s body. Then, in compliance with HIPAA standards, they throw Belial out in a garbage bag. But Belial lives, and they kill dear old dad and are raised by their loving aunt, who is totally cool with their father killing.
Belial totally c-blocks Duane when Duane is about to get it on with his girl, and Duane realizes that maybe this whole murdering blob of flesh thing isn’t great for his love life, especially after Belial rapes and kills her. They get into a brotherly spat, which ends up with them falling out of a window, then plunging one story to their (seeming) deaths.
Is it Actually Scary: Duane seems like a nice enough guy but he’s creepy as hell. There’s a good level of suspense waiting to see what Belial looks like, but it doesn’t last that long. But overall this is more of a campy splatterfest than scary.
Gore Level: There’s more gore than the 2000 presidential election. Within the first few minutes a guy gets his face shredded by Belial. The face shredding continues at a good clip throughout the picture, with plenty of that near-orange colored blood they used in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s.
Dumbest Moments: Killing their father is understandable. He hated Belial and was the one who demanded that they be separated. But their reasoning for killing the doctors is unclear. They just performed the operation, doing it for the science of it. It’s not like they had malicious intentions. However, they did put Belial in a garbage bag. And one of the doctors, Dr. Kutter, is just a complete bitch for no real reason. Also, Belial’s eyes start glowing near the end, which is not explained and makes no sense.
Best Part: Belial sneaks into the tranny prostitute’s room and steals her panties.
Nudity: Technically, Belial is nude the entire time, but it’s unclear if his wiener is showing or not. There’s a Playboy centerfold on the wall at one point. Then near the climax, there’s a scene of Duane running down the sidewalk completely nude, with his giant early ‘80s bush blazing, and his fandangler flopping like a troubled fish. Fortunately, there’s a long shot of his girl’s bare boobs right after. Of course, Belial ends up providing her with a gory rape, which is just not cool.
Overall: The acting is straight out of a community production in a community that has been drinking tap water that contains so much lead Superman couldn’t see through it. It’s so low budget that it actually detracts from the scare factor. For instance, as the camera follows poor Dr. Needleman down the hall to check out a noise, the 60-watt lighting and the fact that it looks like it was filmed with one of those old camcorders where you had to lug around the VCR that had to be attached to it really dials down the terror several notches. The stop motion used to animate Belial is pretty ridiculous, but in a fun way. I liked it more than I thought I would. As long as you keep your tongue in your cheek and your conjoined twin on your torso, you should enjoy it.
Bonus: I watched this movie with my wife sitting next to me, mostly reading her Kindle but looking at the screen occasionally. Here are a few of her observational quotes:
• “Look how bad that blood looks.”
• “So he has to carry him around in the basket? That’s very sad. Terrible movie.”
• “He doesn’t really treat him very well.”
• “Get back in your basket! That’s awesome.”
• “Why does he [Belial] do that?” Me: “What, kill people? What do you want him to do?” “Be nice.”