Basket Case Trilogy

Film Review

Duane and his deformed step brother Belial return for yet another outing in Frank Henenlotter’s Basket Case 3, and this time they cause more mayhem than ever before.

The premise of Basket Case 3 is relatively simple. After his breakdown, Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) is locked in a padded cell. Granny Ruth (Annie Ross) comes to the rescue once again as we learn he’s been locked away just long enough for his deformed Siamese twin’s girlfriend’s gestation period to almost be up. The group of misfits that populated Basket Case 2 are back and are busy preparing for the momentous occasion before setting off on a road trip to seek the aid of a doctor accustomed to helping such weird and wonderful patients.

After an impromptu sing song on the bus and a random meeting between Duane and the sheriff’s daughter the group arrive at the doctor’s house. Here ‘shock’ revelations are made (including the fact Granny Ruth has a son (!) – a son whose commentary of the birth is about as painful as childbirth itself) before twelve new little Belial’s are born. Policemen inevitably turn up and cause mayhem that forms the crux of the rest of the film.

Don’t worry if you haven’t seen Basket Case 3‘s two predecessors; not only does the film monopolise a faux pas made by Basket Case 2 in that it recycles footage from what came before it, its opening five minutes is actually the last five minutes of Basket Case 2 almost verbatim. As a result we get to relive the harrowing weird sex scene shared between Duane’s brother Belial and Eve before watching in dismay as Duane loses the plot and sews Belial back onto his side.

Basket Case 3 often feels like a bad TV film with its dodgy effects and dodgy acting. Some may find comedy amidst the madness but, for us personally, there’s just a bit too much tomfoolery for us to actually enjoy the film whilst it often feels as if the silly cast of misfits would do better in a kid’s film.

The intriguing premise of the first film, where Duane and Belial seek revenge against those who separated them, has become somehow lost, instead giving way to a ridiculous puppet show with lots of silly characters that feel alien to the horror premise of the first film. When Basket Case 3 does finally return to its roots it becomes a weird parody of itself with Belial being strapped into a wobbly machine that allows him all sorts of new ways to kill. The reasoning behind its creation are sketchy as he seemed to get around faster without it.

Somewhere amidst the mayhem are the obligatory death scenes associated with the franchise, stripped of their former gory glory due to censorship problems. The film’s creators also throw in a weird imaginary threesome and a girl with a prison fetish as if to keep viewer’s tuned in.

Some will love the film for its campy ridiculous feel whilst others will find themselves lost in 90 minutes of bizarre escapades. Ending with a poor man’s version of Magneto’s mantra (accept mutants or prepare to feel the consequences) Basket Case 3 brings the Basket Case franchise thankfully to a close.

Best line: ‘Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out something happens’.

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