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Basket Case 2

September 5th, 2009 by unkle lancifer · 10 Comments

The next time somebody derides the existence of sequels I’m going to bring up BASKET CASE 2 as an example of their worth. The original BASKET CASE really didn’t need any expansion, it’s a solid standing entity and part of its tragic appeal is owed to the fact that both of its main characters kick the bucket (or basket) at the end…but what if they didn’t? With a more reasonable budget, a now more confident director and all that pesky “getting to know you” stuff out of the way, wouldn’t it be nice to see what the Bradley boys are up to these days?

Even though BASKET CASE 2 was filmed nearly a decade after its predecessor, director HENENLOTTER miraculously pulls off the near impossible feat of staging his continuation at the precise moment the first movie left off. Cleverly he turns the tables on the Bradleys by allowing “normal” brother Duane to feel the pangs of not fitting in and introducing misfit mutant brother Belial into a world of acceptance and finally romantic love. Throughout the course of the film we are introduced to a gallery of new monsters each more fantastic than the last; all are hideous upon introduction and all are lovable as muppets by movie’s end.

BASKET CASE 2 rather than hovering, whisks its characters into an entirely new situation and rather than retracing its steps, expands upon the original film and its themes. Some of its charming grittiness may be gone, but in its place are a breezy nonchalance and a comfortable ownership of its own ridiculousness. If you’re looking for scares you’re better off looking in Aunt John’s sock drawer, the fun here is identifying with the monsters and enjoying a cathartic thrill as they put their oppressors in their place. As with the original film, HENENLOTTER’s admiration of oddballs is both apparent and contagious.

Speaking of oddballs, the real break out star of BASKET CASE 2 has got to be ANNIE ROSS who plays Granny Ruth (you may also remember ANNIE from her Trauma nominated turn in SUPERMAN 3). Surrounded by monstrosities and grotesque special effects she still maintains the title of most fascinating creature in the room. A mother messiah devoted to nurturing a brood of outcasts, granny Ruth’s ferocious battle cry when her cubs are threatened may be the highlight of the film.

As cutting edge as BC2’s monster designs were in 1990, the real strength of the film relies on a tradition that goes back to the classic monsters of Universal. As in the first film, great effort is made to look beyond appearances and into the hearts of those deemed abnormal. It is a gallant gesture found surprisingly often in a genre many perceive as crass and insensitive, and ironically, an occurrence in the real world that is freakishly rare.

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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Sep 5, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    OK, see the monster on the left with the big ears — I’ve been in love with him for some time now. He’s so ADORABLE.

    I love this movie, but my favorite in the series is actually 3. I think the first one is the best film, but I love to watch the third one more. It’s hilarious. Will you guys be reviewing it?

    Granny Ruth 4ever!

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Sep 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Amanda,

    I got Basketcase 3 too but it is from a different dvd distributer and it looks like crap!
    (2 was from Synapse and looks awesome)
    I think the jump down in quality was unfair to the film so I’m going to wait til a new addition comes out or maybe just watch my old VHS!
    I did make sure that I watched the scene with Granny Ruth singing “personality” on the bus though
    She is just too cool.

  • 3 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Sep 5, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    I would need to look it up on IMDb, but I’m too lazy, so maybe I’m starting a rumor, but I believe Annie Ross is in Short Cuts. Cool.

    I only these movies on vhs (well, I have the first one on DVD and have owned every edition ever made available of it at some point). I don’t think I even knew the second and third come out on DVD! I’m so behind.

    The guy with the big ears makes it over to the next one! YAY!

  • 4 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Sep 6, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Yep, she is in short cuts! She plays Lori Singer’s mom even!

  • 5 Jeff AllardNo Gravatar // Sep 6, 2009 at 2:16 am

    I always thought that the menagerie of monsters here (and in BC3) arguably out Nightbreed’d the Nightbreed! The original Basket Case is a classic but I have to say I prefer the sequels just a little more.

  • 6 smidget28No Gravatar // Sep 6, 2009 at 8:20 am

    I’ve never seen this movie, or 1 or 3. Should I?

  • 7 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Sep 7, 2009 at 10:07 am

    @smidget28: I think they’re worth checking out, though Parts 2 & 3 are more silly, at times, than scary.

  • 8 unclebob martinNo Gravatar // Sep 14, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    A friend just advised me of your review, I love it. I was lucky enough to work with Frank and with Annie Ross on BC3, which will get proper treatment when it’s released by Synapse sometime in 2010.
    Aside from appearing in mainstream films like Short Cuts and Throw Mama From The Train, she was a top-shelf jazz performer, when I was a young teen I was a HUGE fan!
    See this: 


    The song in that clip takes its melody from a solo by sax player Wardell Gray, with lyrics written by Annie.
    “Twisted” was a chart hit for Joni Mitchell in 1974, and charted again in 1991 with a version by Crystal Waters. Annie saw no royalties from either hit, having sold off her rights ages ago.
    And here’s a Japanese page with all her LP covers — she was a sexpot!
    http://www.geocities.jp/mmlg888/AnnieRoss.html
     

  • 9 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Sep 16, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Unclebob,

    Thanks for the info on Annie. I’ve been listening to her music lately and think she’s great. It turns out that she has a regular gig in NYC so I plan to go see her soon too.
    Great news about Synapse BC3 DVD too, I’ll be first in line to grab a copy!

  • 10 icysugarspikeNo Gravatar // Oct 8, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Was this the one with “Personality”? It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but it’s definitely underrated.

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