Basket Case 2 (1990) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Frank Henenlotter
Starring: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Judy Grafe, Annie Ross
Rated: UR/Region O/1:78/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Synapse Films
Duane Bradley and his surgically-separated twin brother Belial return in this frightfully gory follow-up to Frank Henenlotter’s original monster movie classic, BASKET CASE. After surviving a fall from a hospital window, the two brothers become media targets. Duane’s aunt, Granny Ruth (played by world-famous Jazz singer Annie Ross), whisks the duo away to a secluded mansion, where other freaks-in-hiding live out their days away from public scrutiny. When a snooping tabloid reporter finds the location of the mutants, Duane and his new family must stand together to keep their freedom a secret. And, in all the chaos, Belial might actually find true love! Synapse Films is proud to present BASKET CASE 2 in a beautiful high-definition transfer from the original 35mm camera negative.
In 1990, director Frank Henelotter finally delivered the sequel to his 1982 cult hit, Basket Case with Basket Case 2. While the film picks right up after the events of the original film, clever ideas are introduced into the story to make a film that kept the important stuff of the original but showcases some great new ideas. Keeping the creepy factor that would be in every Frank Henelotter film, but improving on the budget made for a very elaborate film, this time, around for many different reasons. What I think we end up with here is a film that actually tops the original for a number of reasons. I may be alone in that way of thinking, but that’s just my opinion. Being made in 1989 (released in 1990), Basket Case 2 was a sequel that while from a storyline point takes place right after the events of the first film, was actually made a whole seven years after the first movie was made. So, you may need to ignore the fact that Duane looks noticeably older and just go with it. The point of this film is a bit different than before. As both Duane and his mutated twin, Belial, are in love once this film hit’s it’s home stretch. So, while Duane might not have as many issues with his brother as he did in the first film breaking away and going off on his on with the woman he loves, he does find new troubles brewing from a nosy reporter, her friends, and a very shocking twist the end of the film packs. The movie improves upon just about every category from the original. The gore looks better, the props are much better (this includes Belial himself), and seeing to how the plot involves the brothers being in a house full of freaks, it really just makes for an effects and monster spectacle of sorts. Some of these characters look REALLY freaky as well as funny. This makes for a very cool movie if you are into this sort of stuff. There are some horror moments, but the movie is actually really funny and has some very comedic situations and moments that are at times subtle and other times not so subtle. Either way, if you are into rank Henenlotter’s movies, you should have no trouble what-so-ever having a blast with this.
I already briefly made reference to a twist that comes at the end of the film and it’s a very well-crafted one. It comes just moments after one of the weirdest scenes you could see on film featuring the mutated Belial. When all of this comes together to form this one film, you have a film that is just soo strange and interesting that you can’t help but love it. It might not be up on a Frankenhooker level if we are to talk about all of the director’s films, but it doesn’t miss that level by much. It does top the original Basket Case and perhaps even Brain Damage (be it that one is a bit more debatable in my mind). But, I guess I may need to re-watch that one before I go THAT far. Still, this is one hell of an awesome and weird movie. And it packs the perfect ending in my opinion. If you like weird horror movies, then Basket Case 2 would be the movie for you! It packs blood, mutants, and some hilarious moments. The 1990s, especially the first part was hit and miss in horror, but at least Frank Henenlotter can rest a sure he was one of the most solid directors of the decade and I say that with what I think was just about three films (two really good). This one comes to us in a 1:78 format which allows it to be a widescreen transfer and I think it also brings the good in the details department. This is a movie with a lot of odd looking people and cool setting, some with nice colors to go along with it. All in all this movie is a joy to me and if you do enjoy part 1, then I can’t see how you’d have issue with part 2. The story wasn’t at all running thin here.
– THE MAN IN THE MOON MASK – Interview with “Half Moon” actor, David Emge
– BEYOND THE WICKER – Behind-the-Scenes Featurette from Special Effects Makeup Artist, Gabe Bartalos
– Reversible Cover art with newly commissioned front piece by Joel Robinson
Quality of Transfer: 97%