• R, 1 hr. 30 min.
  • Horror
  • Directed By:
    Frank Henenlotter
    In Theaters:
    Jan 1, 1982 Wide
    On DVD:
    Dec 8, 1998
  • Analysis Releasing


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Basket Case Reviews

Page 1 of 30

Super Reviewer

June 13, 2010
Gruesome cinematic achievement by director Frank Henenlotter. Basket Case is a bizarre horror film that shocks with grisly images of horrific stop motion. A work of blazing originality, Basket Case is a fun homage to the old school monster flicks, and Henenlotter definitely knows how to pay tribute to the genre by creating something bizarre of his own. A terrific, gory film; Basket Case is a bloody ride as Duane's deformed grotesque brother, Belial (who's the creature in the basket) wreaks havoc on those who separated him from Duane. This is one bizarre and terrific film to watch, with awesome stop motion, Basket Case is very unsettling and is not a film to easily forget. This is a well made film that showcases creativity over budget, and the result is a highly entertaining picture that should definitely appeal to fans of bizarre horror films. Basket Case delivers something strange and unflinching, but is nonetheless worthwhile in terms of original entertainment. Acting wise, there is never anything great, but in terms of low budget horror, actor Kevin Van Hentenryck gives a decent performance, however the strength of the film lies in its shocking visuals. Frank Henenlotter's direction is terrific and he crafts a memorable and very bizarre picture that keeps the shocks coming and with hints of humor strewn throughout the film. Basket Case succeeds on many levels both in terms of shock value and overcoming budget constraints. Frank Henenlotter has always made some films, but this film debut ranks among his funniest, most bizarre and must see works. If you love grotesque horror, then give this one a shot, you definitely won't be disappointed.

Super Reviewer

April 26, 2007
This trash cinema classic was an early staple of VHS splatterfests, and even though it's definitely a dated film, the entertainment value still holds up. Basket Case is not just a horror film, it's sort of an amalgam of different things. It has some nice gory moments, some strange horrific scenes, an odd brother-to-brother relationship and also some great smile-inducing stop motion animation. It was shot for next to nothing and it really shows. Despite its lacking of financial resources, the film is fun and entertaining if you're in the mood for something strange or just different. It's hard to curry sympathy for a guy who basically is a willing accessory to murder, but somehow Frank Henenlotter pulled it off. It has two sequels, and as of this writing, I haven't seen any of them but since they were all directed by the same man, I wouldn't mind checking them out sometime. Definitely see it if you're a fan of Frankenhooker, or if you just want something less tasteful.
Mark H

Super Reviewer

December 11, 2009
Ultra low budget gore fest concerning socially awkward Duane Bradley who checks into a New York Hotel carrying a large mysterious basket. He has to take care of some unfinished business. The run-down seedy hotel is rather depressing and the mood is spare and desolate. There's a feeling of hopelessness in the décor from the shoddy furniture, to the front desk manager to the guests staying within. What's in the basket and why Duane is there are questions best answered by watching the picture. The story is of the utmost simplicity, but what it lacks in narrative complexity, it more than makes up for in B movie entertainment.

A decent plot with light comedy elements separates this from other cheapo horror of this ilk. There's a surprisingly amount of back-story as the narrative unfolds. Inexperienced Duane manages to captivate an attractive receptionist at the doctor's office to go out on a date. It's strictly amateur night in terns of acting, but there is some character development as the two hit it off arousing the ire of Duane's counterpart, who is apparently jealous. The production is the antithesis of sophistication. It can be kind of sleazy. A trashy tour de force where bright red blood is plentiful and thick like corn syrup. At times it's so abundant, it splashes over the actors in an unrestrained spalatterfest. However there's a hilarity in those tacky effects. Although not particularly frightening, it manages to be disturbingly weird. In the end, Basket Case is a horror film with enough creativity and bits of campy humor to make it fascinating.

Super Reviewer

May 6, 2011
Wow, this movie is disgusting, disturbing, creepy, cheesy, and I liked it. The special effects are cool, even if you can tell they used things like stop motion. The story is good, especially the ending, it's all very disturbing as I said, but based on similar true stories, I suspect. If you're an 80s horror movie fan, like me, you should see this movie.

Super Reviewer

November 27, 2010
three stars

Super Reviewer

April 11, 2010
Duane checks into a fleabag Times Square hotel carrying a basket under his arm; inside is something about 1/4 the size of a normal person that eats about 4 times the hamburgers a normal person would. Beneath the pic's grubby exterior is a well-told, tongue-in-cheek monster story with unexpectedly sympathetic characters; director Henenlotter nails the aesthetic of sleaze and keeps on the right side of the fine line between trash and crass.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 29, 2009
Ridiculous Low-budget 1980's comedy/horror classic. So bad its excellent!
Kylie B

Super Reviewer

April 29, 2007
It delivers as well as an 80's B-movie can, with a good original idea and one particular stand-out death sequence. It's not a very serious film, and some of the best comedy lines come from the hotel proprietor, including my favourite: "This isn't a hotel, it's a nuthouse!"
As a curiousity it's worth a watch.
Jason S

Super Reviewer

September 9, 2007
Really bad with bad fx.
Dr Blood  

Super Reviewer

August 19, 2007
One of the most disappointing films I watched in the 80s as a horror fan. It isn't much of a horror film at all and is much more like a comedy. The trouble is that I can't tell if the comedy is intentional or not. If it was supposed to be serious then it really failed abysmally.
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

August 15, 2007
Gruesome but famous low-budget horror flick. I've tried watching several times and could never enjoy it.
Cassandra M

Super Reviewer

August 10, 2007
This is a good example of what can be done with a little budget and a lot of creativity. Granted, the acting and editing aren't exactly "Citizen Kane", but what did you expect? The dialog matched with the over-the-top acting makes for an entertaining gore fest, and no one takes everything too seriously. However, the high points of the film are the murder scenes. Belial is nothing more than a body with soldiers who jumps out of his basket onto his victims and proceeds to rip their flesh to shreds. The gore is cheaply done but glorious nonetheless. As for Belial's movements, the effects director employed stop motion to do the trick, and seeing this little mutant scurry around the floor is a sight to behold. The creature effects are a mixture of stop motion, puppetry, and a guy in a suit. They're not exactly great, but are entertaining and innovative.

One of the reasons why this film is so enduring are the sets. For some of us later generation exploitation fans, we only hear about 42nd street through legend. The locations in the film really seem to capture the sleazy atmosphere of the Deuce effectively. Its not a perfect cult film. For one, the rape sequence is in bad taste, even for an exploitation film and really clashes with the light hearted tone up to that point. Still this is a film entirely deserving of its cult reputation

Super Reviewer

June 6, 2007
Cheesy classic.
Ryan M
Ryan M

Super Reviewer

June 16, 2011

I have a lot of trouble accessing certain classic "B-Movie" flicks, especially ones within the horror genre. Maybe this is because I'm stubborn and need a narrative to call a film good, or maybe this is because I sincerely don't like the films. I don't know, and I never will. But I do know that funny, well-crafted B-movies can be made, and the newest entry to the "B-movies that I enjoyed" list, which is a decidedly non-existent list, is "Basket Case".

"Basket Case" is trashy fun. It's an ultra-violent exploitation B-movie that lacks a good amount of writing in the way of characters, emotions, or plotting in general; but that's far from the point of the film. It's intentionally cheesy, and it knows how much it sucks (or at least how much it would suck if we compared it to horror films that DON'T aim for self-parody). It was bloody, it was violent, and at the same time, it was a lot of fun.

Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) is a strange and mellow man who walks around city streets with a basket case. It's all locked up, and he prevents other people from seeing what it contains. In due time, it is revealed that inside the basket is a monstrous being, which also happens to be Duane's conjoined twin brother, who he was, quite literally, separated from a while ago. However, even though the two are now physically separate, Duane is a loving brother.

Duane's mutant kid brother eats meat and kills people when he gets mad. And that's all there really is to the guy (thing). I guess that's the point, therefore I'll dismiss it. Most of the action takes place in a hotel where Duane and his kin are hiding out; with Duane finding himself a love interest and his brother finding pleasure in murder whilst he's out.

People like B-movies because they are stuffed with cheese, and nothing but cheese. I admire that in some context, and resent it in others. There are B-movies that embrace their intentionally unoriginality and silliness, and this is one of them. "Basket Case" is far from perfect, for both its genre and its sub-genre, but it's more than I asked for, and I watched it at the right time, and in the right mood.

Most of the kills are somewhat imaginative in their cheesiness, which is a good thing. Most of them are intended as stand-outs, and that is what they are. I am told by various sources that "Basket Case" is very low-budget horror, which doesn't surprise me, and at the same time, impresses me. The film satisfies when it comes to gory kills, and the effects for the creature that lurks inside the basket are at least decent. The film has all the ingredients that would make a solid B-movie, and I found a lot to like here. "Basket Case" is nothing more than a "fun movie", but that's just about all it needs to be at this rate.

I would recommend "Basket Case" to fans of "the genre", as well as those who know how to spot fun in the way of craft. This is an impressive and entertaining picture that satisfies in its short but appropriate run-time, keeps the blood flowing, and never holds up because it never needs to. It is fast-paced, completely enjoyable, and has pleasures of its own. So it's not completely unoriginal and lame; even if that's the basic aim. But sometimes, films deserve recognition for knowing how absurd they are. "Basket Case" deserves some recognition and some respect; both in equal amounts, and both for the same exact reasons.
Francisco  G.
Francisco G.

Super Reviewer

February 21, 2013
A completly mental concept executed with the lowest budget possible, pulling laughs everytime the creatures shows up, for it is so lamely made and executed, you almost feel sorry for this tragic violent beast.

Not just that, the acting is one of the worse ever seen but it complements the cheesiness of it all so well, it actually works.

It's only shocking because of the atrocious sound design that got on my nerves more than once, but again, it just works since the rest of it so lame.

A definite watch for fans of the genre and to discover Henenlotter's mental style, to serve as an appetite for his upcomingly mental Brain Damage.
Marcus W

Super Reviewer

December 21, 2007
The story is brilliant, what lets the film down is a very low budget. Hollywood is missing a trick. It's not the "classic" horror movies that need remaking, it's the small cult ones like Basket Case that have massive potential.
Jason R

Super Reviewer

April 5, 2011
A great movie, and something that once you've seen you will likely never forget.

Super Reviewer

April 24, 2010
My lower than expected rating isn't based on obscene gore, bad storytelling (for the genre), or even bad taste. This film was just extremely boring. While it had a good concept, and I have to give the filmmakers credit for that; the end result left me very indifferent. I was neither impressed, nor disgusted. I didn't find it THAT humorous or scary. This film is worth seeing if you love 70's/80's exploitation films as I do. But this one really isn't worth the rep it has gained for itself. Not bad, but not exactly memorable either. Watch something else, as this one is bound to be a disapointment, no matter what your prefered style of horror is.

Super Reviewer

March 25, 2009
"Basket Case" is one of the cheapest made movies I have ever seen, but it is very good nonetheless and very gruesome, tacky, and outrageous horror flick too. There are not very many professional actors in the whole bunch, but some of them do manage to be pretty amusing.
Horror fans will not want to miss a cult classic like this one.
Patrick D

Super Reviewer

September 12, 2007
Amazing low budget film. This has such a strage and original story and it's really well done, the filmakers definetly used the lack of budget to their advantage to create a feel for the film. What's also great about it is seeing the now non-existing 42nd Street spread of the 70s and early 80s.
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