Comedy, Horror, Monsters, Sequel

Basket Case 3 (1991)

Comments Off on Basket Case 3 (1991) 23 October 2016


Production Studio: Shapiro Glickenhaus Entertainment

Blu-Ray Distributed By: Synapse Films

Blu-ray Release: August 9, 2016

Director: Frank Henenlotter

Rating: R

Reviewed By James M. Dubs

I’ll watch anything…including Basket Case 3.

In my review of the Basket Case 2 blu-ray, distributed by Synapse Films, I highlighted that the Basket Case trilogy most likely carries a strong appeal to a very specific audience. Not everyone will appreciate Frank Henenlotter’s brand of morbid horror-comedy as we follow the exploits of Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck) and his deformed, surgically-separated, conjoined brother Belial. My wife hates it, but who cares what she thinks?

Like the previous review, I’m not going to talk at length about Basket Case 2 or Basket Case 3, at least not in terms of plot or opinion. If you want more a detailed summary and critique, my counterpart James Klein has already done that with the previous DVD releases. You can find those here: Basket Case, Basket Case 2, and Basket Case 3.

This review will be more focused on the technical aspects of Basket Case 3 and provide a little counterpoint to my friend’s reviews. Let’s see what’s in the wicker basket…

Film Rating: ★★½☆☆

bc3_1From Synapse Films press release:

He’s back. He’s bad. And, he’s a dad! Belial, everyone’s favorite beast-in-a-basket, is back in this sensational third film in the wildly macabre BASKET CASE horror series.

After being separated again from his conjoined twin brother, Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck), Belial finds out he’s going to be a deformed daddy! Mrs. Belial (“Eve”, played by Denise Coop) delivers a litter of bouncing baby monsters, but the blessed event turns into a nightmarish ordeal when the police kidnap the little critters. They should know it’s not safe to anger Belial! Attacking the cops in a climactic, gory rampage, everyone’s favorite mutant mauler stops at nothing to get his newborns back!

bc3_7I can only imagine what was going through the mind of Frank Henenlotter because in this third and final entry of the Basket Case trilogy, the tone and narrative move from general silliness to bat-shit insanity.

If you’ve read Mr. Klein’s review of the Basket Case 3 DVD, you’ll note that he is not a fan of this entry. Both he and I agree almost in totality with the things that work and don’t work with the film. However, I don’t hate Basket Case 3 nearly as much as my friend and counterpart. He gives the film 1.5 stars out of 5, where I find it to be a mostly middle of the road horror-comedy (more comedy than horror, as he points out). This is probably due to his absolutely hating the things that don’t work, where I tend to really like the things that do. In short, I’m probably more forgiving than he is, but we both agree that the film is the worst in the trilogy and has some sizable shifting tone and pacing problems.

bc3_4I mentioned in my Basket Case 2 blu-ray review that the narrative thread (like The Evil Dead trilogy) moves from a micro budget horror film that created a gateway horror-comedy sequel that led into a looney tunes third entry. This is what I like most about Basket Case 3 and the trilogy by and large. For me, the shift from horror film to insanity is perfectly motivated by Duane’s evolving (or devolving) mental state. By the time we get to the events of Basket Case 3, Duane has pretty much lost his mind completely and the exterior world reflects his internal frame of mind. Throughout the course of three films, we watch Duane struggle with the pull to be normal, almost dies, has a severe mental breakdown, and finally comes to terms with the absurdity of his life.

On a strange artistic level, I think I understand what Frank Henenlotter set out to accomplish. My own mental experience went through a kind of loopy, euphoric, drunkenness as the final film goes completely insane and stomps on your brain. The experience is right in tandem with the film’s primary protagonist, and regardless of what the film is and is not, I don’t know if I could pay a higher compliment to the director.

Video & Audio Rating: ★★★★½

bc3_5Like my review of Basket Case 2, this transfer is simply amazing, especially for a 1991 film. The “original 35mm vault materials” are nearly flawless and offer the viewer an experience nearly identical to the Basket Case 2 one.

The same holds true with the audio. The English DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track provides a clean and clear audial presentation for the final entry of this trilogy.

Extras Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

bc3_6Extras are virtually non-existent, but this is consistent with the same DVD release. Synapse films chose to not duplicate the “Beyond The Wicker” featurette from the Basket Case 2 blu-ray, probably because they assume that if you’re picking up Part 3, you’ll be getting Part 2 first. It’s a logical assumption. But you do get…

  1. Original Theatrical Trailer (1:53, SD)
  2. Reversible cover art with newly commissioned front piece by Joel Robinson. The back side contains the traditional artwork.

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

bc3_2Synapse Films does not disappoint in the technical details of this release and I doubt the film will ever look and sound better. The supplements leave much to be desired, but paired with Basket Case 2, it’s hard to complain too much.

Like Basket Case and Basket Case 2, you’re either in or out with this film series. There is no in-between. Ultimately, if you’re going to watch/buy Basket Case, and Basket Case 2, you have to buy Basket Case 3 just to round out the collection. It may not retain the same cheap and sleazy exploitation vibe of the original, nor balance the horror with the humor of the sequel. However, Basket Case 3, viewed as part of a larger trilogy, does follow a logical trajectory from horror-shock, to horror-shock-comedy, to bat-shit-off-the-rails-insanity.


- who has written 70 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

James Dubs is a father and husband who loves his family first and movies a close second. He believes every movie is worth watching once and, as a film fan and critic, believes that even the worst movies offer something in return. His mission is to watch anything and report without pretension. Follow James Dubs on Twitter and send him suggestions on movies you would like reviewed - popular, obscure, independent, etc. He'll watch anything for you.

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