Return of Project Horror, Day 21: Basket Case


The last five days passed pretty quickly, and now we're on to the next to last block, Evil Twins & Children.

Because I enjoy keeping up with movies, even if I don't get to go out to watch as many as I used to, it's really rare that I watch one completely unspoiled.  Basket Case is one of those rare cases where I really knew nothing about the movie before putting it on, aside from what the little plot capsule on Netflix told me.  That was a good thing for this one, because I think it probably works better the less you know about it.  So, that's your warning if you're planning to watch Basket Case any time soon.
Basket Case centers around Duane, who shows up at a seedy hotel in New York City, carrying a large, locked basket and a folder full of names.  It turns out that the basket contains Duane's formerly conjoined twin, who is heavily deformed.  Against the twins wishes, their father hired a team of doctors to separate them years earlier, hoping to give Duane a normal life, and for his twin to die.  The twin grew strong, though, and the boys are out to get vengeance on the people who separated them - the people whose names are in the folder.

First, I have to say that this was one of the corniest movies I've watched this month.  That said, it was also a total blast.  This movie has to walk a difficult line.  With a decent effects budget, it could actually have been very scary.  (There's a scene when Duane first arrives at the hotel, where he pulls a stack of twenty dollar bills out of his pocket, and the story is that this was actually the movie's entire budget.)  As it is, though, the scenes with the deformed twin play kind of like horror parody, because they're done in stop motion or with puppetry.  The twin is still pretty gross looking, though.

Something I've noticed, after watching this and Maniac, is that 1980's horror films set in NYC have a really unique and awesome feel to them.  True, I didn't really care for Maniac for the most part, but something that did work about it (and for Basket Case) is that it just felt dirty, grimy, and morally reprehensible.  You sometimes hear longtime New Yorkers bemoaning the way that Times Square has been sanitized, but movies like this show you the seediness and danger that used to surround that area.

It's cheesy, but if you're in the mood for that sometime, check out Basket Case.  I give it three conjoined skeletons out of five.
TOMORROW: Dead Ringers


Eric_wojcik said...

Yeah, the Times Square scenes are famous in this one, but I'd recommend it for the shots of Battery Park City alone -- when it wasn't Battery Park City. This is the strip of land on the Hudson near downtown and very close to where the WTC is; in the movie there's a helicopter shot of it, for some reason, as it was a big, very big, dirt lot. Interesting snapshot of a place and time.

Anyway, this movie really sticks with me for all the reasons you point out. It's such a cheesefest, but effective and fun. And there's that utterly bizarre sex scene at the end!

Post a Comment

Every comment is like a fresh flower, so please write!