Directed by Frank Hennenlotter
Starring Kevin Van Hentenryck & Annie Ross
Synergy ; Region 0 ; PAL ; Full-Frame ; Mono English
Trailers : Basket Case, Basket Case 2, Basket Case 3, Maniac Cop, Exterminator, Frankenhooker, Red Scorpion
Yes, the Bradley boys, Duane and [very] little brother Belial are back for a third time, joining the kindly Granny Ruth and her clan of 'unique individuals' (including Belial's very pregnant girlfriend, Eve) on a road trip. Of course, mayhem ensues when a couple of reward-hungry sheriff's deputies put an abrupt end to Eve & Belial's baby shower.
Picking up where Part 2 left off, 'Basket Case 3' is by far the most over-the-top episode, combining elements from the first 2 films and adding a pinch of 'First Blood' and 'Aliens'. Hennenlotter has riddled it with non-stop slapstick and cartoon gore that rises well above its rather sluggish predecessor. The highlight however, is Van Hentenryck's portrayal of an increasingly insane Duane, whose bizarre, wide-eyed remarks straight to the camera are truly hysterical. It's by no means the cream of the horror-comedy genre, but Basket Case 3 is a hell of a lot of fun.
Now, to the DVD itself. This is where it gets a little ugly.
To be fair, I picked this region-free UK disc from the local Dick Smith at a budget price, not expecting much in terms of quality. The first clue was right there on the back cover. Now I understand that the packaging ranks pretty low when determining the quality of the DVD within, but this is just to rich not to bring up.
Throughout the blurb on the back cover of Synergy's 'Collector's Edition' (huh, I'll get to that later), Belial's name is mentioned five times. Every one of those references are spelt differently. To give credit where it's due, one of those are correct (for the record, they are Belial, Belai, Belais, Belail and Bellial), but this, combined with the grammar of a taiwanese toaster manual, does not foster much confidence in the product contained within.
But enough of such trivial matters. What about the disc itself? Well, the video transfer's pretty sub-standard. The full-frame transfer (I was unable to track down what the original ratio was, but I imagine any wide-screen version would only be matted) is riddled with compression artifacts. It seems no effort whatsoever has been made to give this film anything more than the most basic of transfers, resulting in something that looks little (if any) better than VHS. The audio is merely functional, providing only a mono soundtrack (surely this would have been originally presented in stereo - I remember my VHS copy of 'Basket Case 2' was).
Another place where this DVD fails miserably is in the extra features department. There's a trailer for the film itself (which you absolutely most not watch before you see the movie), as well as trailers for a number of other films (including the other 'Basket Case' movies and Hennenlotter's 'Frankenhooker'). That's it. Truly one of the most blatant misuses of the phrase 'Collector's Edition'.
This is a really fun movie, let down by a seriously disappointing DVD presentation. If you can pick it up cheap and haven't been able to find a rental VHS copy anywhere (it was released, but I could never find it), and are a fan of the first two films, then this is worth getting. I would not however pay the 15 pounds that Amazon's UK store is asking. But there's bound to be a better release somewhere down the line, particularly when you consider Hennenlotter's participation in the Special Editions available for the original 'Basket Case' and 'Brain Damage'.