Comedy, Horror, Monsters

Basket Case 2 (1990)

0 Comments 30 October 2012

Studio: Synapse Films

Theatrical Release: March 2, 1990

DVD Release: October 30, 2007

Director: Frank Henenlotter

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

After an eight year hiatus, director Frank Henenlotter and original star Kevin Van Hentenryck return in this rather strange and very different sequel to the 1982 cult classic. While hardcore fans of the original may not like the change of tone, I found this sequel interesting and while it is different, it did keep me entertained from beginning to end.

With an obviously higher budget, Basket Case 2 starts off exactly where the original ended, only now the two brothers happen to be barely alive. Taken to the hospital, Belial attacks a security guard and both he and Duane escape (rather too easily, given their new celebrity status on the news) the hospital only to come across Granny Ruth (Annie Ross from Superman III) and her beautiful niece Susan who quickly pick them up outside the hospital and sneak them away. Granny Ruth is a friend of Duane and Belial’s aunt and saw what had happened to the brothers on the news. Granny Ruth lives in a hidden mansion outside of NYC where she keeps a whole slew of freaks with physical disabilities at her home. Instead of being this evil woman, Granny Ruth actually is very kind to these special people and wants the two brother’s to stay. While Belial falls in love with a female creature named Eve who looks just like him, Duane falls for the normal-looking Susan who wants nothing more than to be just like everyone else.

While I love this central plot, the film drifts off on a subplot about a nosey reporter named Marcie who is on the hunt to find these missing brothers, trying to get a story out of it. While she sneaks and snoops around with various colleagues, she soon gets an unwelcomed “exclusive” with not just the brothers but the entire gang of mutants.

I could have gone without this subplot but I guess we needed some body counts along the way and this was the best they could come up with. I rather enjoyed the drama between the two brothers and these new mutant creatures and would have preferred the film to keep its focus on this conflict. But even so, Basket Case 2 is a strange film. The dark , violent deaths are a bit more tamer and played more for jokes while the higher budget was obviously used for the elaborate make-up effects. The mutants are extremely unique, almost too bizarre to the point where the film becomes a bit too silly. While I did enjoy Henenlotter’s direction (his use of close ups at times are interesting) I somewhat missed the old “point the camera and shoot” cheap exploitation feel. That entire vibe is now gone and what we have is a slick monster movie that continues the story of Duane and Belial.

The DVD by Synapse looks great, as do most of their DVD’s/blu ray’s. The picture was crystal clear and the sound was fine. There wasn’t too many special features to be enjoyed (I would have loved to have seen the trailer which this film which did briefly play in theaters. I remember it playing in one theater about 20 minutes from my home when I was young, begging for anyone to take me to see it) but I did find the quick interview with David Emge (star of Dawn of the Dead who plays the mutant “Moon Face”) humorous and insightful.

While Basket Case 2 may not be the sequel everyone was hoping for after the much beloved original, it still provides some good laughs and neat special effects with another dark cliff-hanger of an ending that leaves the viewer wanting Basket Case 3.

Rating: ★★★☆☆


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