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John’s Horror Corner: Basket Case 2 (1990), a yet more cartoonish B-horror than original, and with way more monster effects.

May 7, 2022

MY CALL: If you love bizarre and violent 80s horror oddities, or enjoyed Basket Case (1982) or any other Henenlotter film, then you should enjoy this, too. MORE MOVIES LIKE Basket CaseIf you want more communal-living monstrosities, try Nightbreed (1990) or Digging Up the Marrow (2014). I’d also recommend other films by director Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Frankenhooker, Brain Damage), as his films share a similar zany tone.

This sequel picks up right where we left off in 1982, when after somehow surviving their fall from their hotel room window to the pavement, Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck; Basket Case, Brain Damage) and Belial awaken in the hospital under police watch. Upon their escape, they are aided by Granny Ruth (Annie Ross; Witchery, Basket Case 3) and her granddaughter Susan (Heather Rattray), who have dedicated their lives to helping monstrously disfigured people who all live together under one roof. These mutants are of comically weird appearance, every bit as out there as Belial. Among the denizens of Granny Ruth’s commune, Belial finds Eve, a strikingly similar female counterpart to himself.

Now with a slightly better budget, Belial has more defined characteristics from his teeth down to his scrotum-like “lower” body. I never fully understood how Belial can perch on a wall as if he had a giant suction cup under him, but who am I to complain when it helps him grab some poor unsuspecting victim by the throat with his mangled claws? Likewise, Belial “leaps” and “flies” at victims at times. All in good fun.

Like part 1, the writing is a bad kind of wonky and occasionally pretty hokey. But that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. Part 1 was clearly a bit slapstick of a horror comedy, and now Part 2 wanders into yet sillier territory—I’d go so far as to call it cartoonish. With all its quirky characters, Basket Case 2 is a lot like Nightbreed (1990) meets Dumb and Dumber (1994). When a reporter threatens to expose their house of friendly freaks, they rally together to defend their way of life (i.e., and kill those who threaten it).

The strength of this sequel is not in any increase in gore or violence, really it’s about the same. However, the amount of latex monster work is tremendous and even extends into a victim’s gore. Likewise to all the latex monsters, this movie also thrives in its cartoonish lunacy. Oh, and like part 1, you can expect another monster sex scene. It’s awkward, weird, uncomfortable, maybe a little funny, and even a little endearing. So naturally I’m thrilled it happened! There’s even something of a not-quite birth scene/monster baby scene. So there’s a lot to please monster movie fans here.

The very final scene is actually pretty wild, fully capturing 80s gory mania in about 15 insane seconds. So I’d so writer and director Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Frankenhooker, Brain Damage) has pleased his fans yet again.

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