What's In the Basket? Basket Case Blu-ray Review + Screenshots

The Frank Henenlotter gets the Arrow Video treatment with this brand new blu-ray release featuring a new 4K restoration and a boatload of special features.

a man walks down the street while another man tries to buy his laundry from him

Basket Case 3 ½: An Interview with Duane Bradley (8m 30s, HD)

A brand new short film from Frank Henenlotter. This is a mock interview with the character from Basket Case. The short is amusing. That’s it.

Me and the Bradley Boys (16m 24s, HD)

New interview with actor Kevin Van Hentenryck, conducted by Frank Henenlotter. A pretty good interview that covers a lot of the same ground as other features here, but a nice interview to listen to nonetheless. There are some great behind the scenes photos.

A Brief Interview with Director Frank Henenlotter (3m 50s, HD)

A strange 2017 interview with the Basket Case director. Henenlotter interviews a naked man and asks him questions that he would ask himself. Really weird.

Seeing Double: The Basket Case Twins (8m 55s, HD)

New interview with Florence and Maryellen Schultz, the Twin Nurses. They are Henenlotter’s cousins and share a lot of childhood memories.

Blood, Basket, and Beyond (6m 4s, HD)

New interview with Beverly Bonner. She talks about her start in entertainment, her discovery by Henenlotter, and the films and plays she has done since.

The Latvian Connection (27m 33s, HD)

New featurette featuring interviews with producer Edgar Ievins, actress Ilze Balodis, associate producer/special effects artist Ugis Nigals, and Belial performer Kiki Nigals. Some nice stories told and lots of behind the scenes photos.

Belial Goes to the Drive-in (6m 55s, HD)

New interview with Joe Bob Briggs where he discusses how he first saw the film at the Cannes Film Festival and how he was instrumental in getting Henelotter’s full cut released after the distribution company had cut out all the gore.

Basket Case at MoMA (37m 12s, HD)

Q&A from the 2017 Basket Case restoration premiere at the Museum of Modern Art with Frank Henenlotter, Kevin Van Hentenryck, Beverly Bonner, Maryellen and Florence Shultz, and Ugis Nigals. Henenlotter introduces the film and then the cast and crew do a Q&A afterward.

What’s In The Basket? (1h 18m, HD)

Feature-length doc covering all three films in the series. This was produced by Second Sight  Films and was, until now, exclusive to their U.K. only blu-ray release of all three Basket Case films. This is a funny and honest documentary about the making of each of the films. Henenlotter doesn’t hold back when he talks about the films, especially the third film. This is a must watch for fans of the series. The other features are great, but this is the best of them all.

In Search of the Hotel Broslin (16m 8s, SD)

Archival featurette with Frank Henenlotter and rapper R.A. “The Ragged Man” Thorburn

Basket Case Outtakes (6m 13s, HD)

Some fantastic things here to see. Edited kind of weird where audio from the film plays over the outtakes, except where there is sound from the outtakes. It’s really weird and kind of disorienting. Great outtakes though.

The Frisson of Fission (23m 3s, HD)

A video essay by Travis Crawford where he chronicles the films that feature conjoined twins or some variation of conjoined twins. Even though this is on the Basket Case blu-ray, he doesn’t really talk about Basket Case all that much.

Image Galleries

     Promotional Stills (46 images)
     Behind the Scenes (108 images)
     Ephemera (21 images)
     Advertisements (44 images)
     Home Video Releases (9 images)

Promo Gallery

     Trailers (Can be viewed separately or with Play All function)

               #1 (1m 34s, HD)
               #2 (1m 28s, HD)
               #3 (1m 50s, HD)

     TV Spot (55s, HD)

     Radio Spots (1m 51s, HD)

     Two radio spots

Slash of the Knife (30m 13s, HD)

Rare short film by Frank Henenlotter featuring many of the same actors from Basket Case and shown only once to an appalled crowd. The film is a humorous take on the 50’s sex scare films, only this one is about how not being circumcised is like having a disease. I can see why people hated it back then, but now this kind of film is more common. The Jackass guys drive horse semen so this can’t be any worse.

Commentary with Frank Henenlotter and Mike Bencivenga

Slash of the Knife Outtakes (5m 30s, HD)
Same style of outtakes as Basket Case where audio from the film plays over the outtakes.

Image Gallery (9 Images)

Belial’s Dream (4m 49s, HD)

2017 Basket Case inspired animated short from filmmaker Robert Morgan

Making Belial’s Dream (2m 6s, HD)

We watch as Morgan creates his stop-motion version of Belial.

Commentary with Frank Henenlotter and Kevin Van Hentenryck

Commentary with Frank Henenlotter, Beverly Bonner, Edgar Ievins, and Scooter McCray

NOTE: There are two features that are missing from this edition that have appeared on other editions:

          -Two Radio Interviews with Terri Susan Smith
          -Clips from Beverly Bonner's Comedy Cable TV Show "Beverly Bonner's Laugh Track"

I can not review the packaging as this was sent to us as a review copy. I can, however, provide you with a look at the packaging, thanks to Arrow Video’s Facebook page:

Courtesy of Arrow Video 

The disc is REGION A (locked)

two men square off to see who is the victor

Basket Case was given a 4K restoration from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and they did an incredible job. I know that I was gushing about the 4K restoration done on Night of the Living Dead, but the job done here is just as equally impressive. The film’s aspect ratio of 1.33:1 has been retained and there is a nice amount of grain. Detail is high especially in close-ups, but that also shows a lot of the imperfections and flaws and shortcomings that come with a film with such a low budget. That doesn’t deter me from gushing over it though, as a proper restoration is going to show the cracks in any film. Blacks are deep and colors and skin tones are accurate and true.

three men argue whether the woman standing in their group is even a woman at all.

The provided English LPCM 1.0 track sounds great. The city comes through really well and dialogue is crisp and clear.

belial give his best death stare,

Charming country bumpkin Duane Bradley takes a motel room in New York with a basket and a backpack. In a series of flashbacks, we learn the basket contains his surgically removed Siamese twin who is not only physically deformed so badly the doctors hesitated to consider him a human, but is also the vindictive drive of their trip, with the purpose to kill off all those he blames. But in the reception of one of those doctors, Duane gets his first ever date, with the receptionist, and wants to start a positive life too - when the freak twin escapes, the scene is set for a grim finale.

Basket Case is one of those films that you rented from the video store in the 80’s or 90’s because both the title and the artwork caught your eye. You then took it home and realized one of two things: You have made a big mistake OR You have found a film that you will talk about to anyone who is listening and will show all of your friends. The latter was what happened with me.

I love Basket Case. I found the film to be very funny and charming even while the deformed brother is killing folks in the nastiest of ways. There is just something about the film that can make you love it. I think it is the “let’s make the craziest thing we have ever seen” approach to the filmmaking. Director Frank Henenlotter just wanted to make a film, and when he couldn’t get funding for a different script, he said “fuck it” and went and made Basket Case.

Now, with all of the praise that I place onto the film, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t at least a few things that hold the film back a little bit. First, the acting is awful. I have seen better acting in porn. The lead actor, Kevin Van Hentenryck, is so bland and flat in his line delivery that you wish that someone would slap some talent into him. He is the lead, but can’t say a sentence without sounding like a confused fool. That being said, we grow to love the character because Van Hentenryck has a good nature that he projects to the audience. We want him to finish his mission so that he can get the girl and live a peaceful life.

Not all of the acting is bad. Beverly Bonner, who plays Van Hentenryck’s neighbor, is a ball of energy. Every time that she shows up on screen we are immediately placed under whatever spell she casts on us. We actually want her to the love interest instead of the one the filmmakers go with.

The second, and final, thing is filmmaking itself. Everything is a bit rough around the edges and that is something that any fan of exploitation films has to deal with. The direction, editing, lighting, everything could have been better, but with the money that they (which was much at all) you can expect to have the film feel a little bit cheap. Basket Case feels very cheap, but you can tell that a lot of care went into the film, so the cheap look and feel is something you just overlook.

Frank Henenlotter, the film’s director, is one of my favorite directors. He made the bizarre yet interesting take on addiction with Brain Damage and he also made Frankenhooker, a film that so many more would have seen if it weren’t for the title. It is a shame that people overlooked Frankenhooker because the film is insanely funny and sweet natured. Henenlotter has stuck to his guns when it comes to the films that he has made. The subject matter isn’t for everyone and there are questionable scenes, but he always stands by the films. That is something that has to be admired. There are director’s who disown films because they performed badly or people just hate them. Henenlotter will still stand by the film.

The owners of the Hotel Broslin would appreciate it if people would stop trying to convince others that the hotel really exists.

Basket Case is a really fun film that fits both into the films of the 70’s and 80’. I have never really seen a film do that before. I think that it may be because of the 42nd Street locations. You can not know anything about a film and take one look at the 42nd Street locations and know when it was shot. I wouldn’t say that it is timeless, but I would say that it is of its time. Basket Case would not be made today. There is too much PC in the world to allow that to happen. Even the exploitation films that have been made recently seem to be toned down compared to those that were made in the 70’s and 80’s. Basket Case is, however, a film that made me laugh and then cringe and then smile. The film deserves a bigger audience and hopefully, one day, it will get one.

The blu-ray, from Arrow Video, is just amazing. The picture quality is reference material and the sound ain't too shabby either. The special features package is packed to the gills. I was hoping for a making of and maybe a deleted scene or two, but Arrow has gone above and beyond with Basket Case. Two short films, a feature-length making of, two commentaries, a whole gaggle of interviews, the list keeps going and going. This is a must buy for fans of the film and horror fans alike. This has a real good chance of making my top blu-rays of 2018 list.

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