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John’s Horror Corner: Basket Case (1982), a classic but very low budget B-horror about a monstrously disfigured, formerly conjoined twin.

April 30, 2022

MY CALL:  I mean, if you love low budget 80s monster movies (and don’t mind some very hokey writing) then you’ll probably like this. This is 80s B-movie fun at its best. MORE MOVIES LIKE Basket CaseIf you enjoyed this, you need to see the 1990 sequel and, perhaps, Frank Henenlotter’s other films (Frankenhooker, Brain Damage).

Duane and his formerly conjoined twin brother Belial have a special bond. Ever-toting around a locked wicker basket that draws many curious questions, Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck; Basket Case 2-3, Brain Damage) carries his disfigured mutant twin brother around New York seeking revenge against the doctors responsible for separating them against their will.

Our first sight of Belial features the monstrosity hanging on the wall waiting to ambush his victim by grabbing his face with his big monstrous clawed hand. He’s a wonderfully fiendish mongoloid, but still, he has a sincere connection with his twin brother.

This film had a very low budget, and the sets are obviously meager. But fret not. For almost every dollar of this budget clearly went to latex lacerations in flesh, buckets of blood, and Belial’s latex creature effects. The monster is essentially a neckless head with black eyes on a squat torso with two asymmetrical beastly limbs. While a bit clunky in execution, I enjoyed the stop-motion of Belial trashing an apartment. Most of the time, Belial was presented as a latex puppet. For those who like it when things get weird, there’s a rather disturbing “sex” scene.

Writer and director Frank Henenlotter (Frankenhooker, Brain Damage) goes to great lengths to illustrate Duane’s history and connection with Belial with lengthy flashbacks. The surgery scene gore and sound editing was the best. And the visual of a screaming, bloody woman with five scalpels impaled in her face is a sight to behold.

The story crescendos to a violent, zany and somewhat shocking end that would seem to make a sequel an impossibility. Somewhat cruel, somewhat realistic (given the outlandish premise). I really enjoyed this low budget, gory classic. Despite its very low budget and clumsy production, it remains quite entertaining.

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