Directed by Frank Hennenlotter
Starring Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner
Something Weird Video ; Region 0 ; NTSC ; Full-Frame ; Dolby Digital Mono English
Audio Commentary, Trailers, TV Spot, Behind-The-Scenes Montage, 'In Search Of Hotel Broslin' Short, Art & Photo Gallery, Radio Spots, Radio Interviews, Clips from 'Beverly Bonner's Laugh Track'
As a young boy, 'Basket Case' was easily one of my favourite films. A simple tale of two siamese twins, seeking vengeance on the quacks who separated them, leaving the uglier one in a trash bag to die. A film that not only examines the incredible closeness that siamese twins, even after being split it two, share, but also gives us a vivid and frighteningly real portrayal of the seedy New York of the early eighties (it goes so well with William Lustig's 'Maniac'). And let's not forget the gore: faces torn apart and turned into scalpel-cushions, body's bisected (both ways), backyard siamese twin separations. Despite Belial's rubbery exterior and somewhat flawed stop-motion behaviour, we believe him to be real. And that's because we want him to be real. Because, let's face it, there's a little Belial in all of us, isn't there? While Hennenlotter has made some great films since (Brain Damage & Frankenhooker in particular), Basket Case remains his masterpiece.
The presentation on Something Weird's disc is everything you could hope for, but nothing more. The video transfer does have several film artifacts throughout, but nothing too distracting. There were no noticeable compression artifacts, colours are vibrant and blacks are solid. I'm sure one day, Anchor Bay will put out a THX approved DTS ES version, but until then, this mono soundtrack is clear and does its job admirably.
This is one of those discs that make you glad that you put off buying the bare bones version, as it is packed to the gills with supplements. First and (as usual) foremost, is an Audio Commentary featuring Hennelotter, producer Edgar Ievins and actress Beverly Bonner. As with Synapse's 'Brain Damage' disc, Hennenlotter is highly entertaining and gives many fascinating insights into the ups and downs of ultra low budget film making. As does Ievins. Bonner, however doesn't do much of the talking. Speaking of the zany Bonner (she plays Casey, the hooker with the heart of gold), this disc also features a selection of clips from her cable show, 'Beverly Bonner's Laugh Track'. As to the quality of these, well, let's just say that it ain't no 'In Living Color'. The behind-the-scenes footage is more enjoyable than most. Silent, but backed with music, it contains a number of incidents that are referred to in the commentary. There's also a little video short, 'In Search of the Hotel Broslin', which sees Hennenlotter visiting the locations that he filmed in twenty years ago, and even bumping (coincidentally, I'm sure) into an old friend. This short is great stuff, except for some reason Hennenlotter is accompanied by some guy who talks like that really irritating shit in those Kevin Smith movies - Jay, or Ray or something. You know, the one who recently got busted for possessing heroin. That guy's a total dick. To round it off, there are also a bunch of trailers, TV spots, radio spots, and some very painful radio interviews with 'actress' Terri Susan Smith.
Like with their Herschell Gordon Lewis discs, Something Weird have done a fantastic job bringing one of the most enjoyable gore classics to our TV screens. This is definitely worth adding to your collection, even if you've already got the bare bones release, as the extra features are absolutely priceless. Two deformed, clawlike thumbs up!