May 16, 2012

SHITTY FLICKS: BASKET CASE

Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant camp-girl penis.

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up.


Frank Hennenlotter is regarded in the horror community as a director of strange, taboo, offbeat, and downright twisted horror movies. Plots of his movies have featured a jive-talking parasite nested in the head of a teen boy that extracts blue goo from the necks of women during felatio, whereas another featured a modern update of Frankenstein, only this time featuring hookers, lawnmower mutilation, and a lot of crack.

However, his first film, probably still his most infamous, is about two brothers making their own way in the world, ready to take challenges head on and accomplish it all on their own, with only each other to rely on. Also, one of those brothers is a freaky-deaky little brown chewed piece of gum-looking meatball thing named Belial that lives in a wicker basket.

The movie begins and we see Dr. Lifflander on his way to his house. He stops in his tracks as he is menaced by spooky sounds and twitching branches. After calling out “Who’s there?” the obligatory number of times, he launches into his house and calls the police. The lights then cut off, and Dr. Lifflander responds by shooting aimlessly across the room.

A mangy hand hurtles out of the darkness and latches onto his face. His attacker makes short work of him, slashing his face a number of times as the good doctor screams for mercy.

We then find ourselves in New York as Duane, one of two brothers, walks down the street, heading off advances from a highly motivated drug dealer. He stops at the Hotel Broslin, his only luggage being a bag on his back and his large wicker basket. The friendly douchebag looking motel clerk oozes with douchebaggery.

“What’s in the basket?” he asks, alluding to his suspicions that Duane is a drug user. Duane uses his charm to allay the man’s fears and after securing a room and stupidly flashing a large wad of bills, he makes himself at home. He then grabs some dinner for himself…and for his basket brother. He drops some burgers in the basket one at a time, and the basket shakes enthusiastically in response, gobbling up each medium-well treat.

"Cats are easy to train, and dogs are even easier," says
animal trainer Bob Smiggs. "Basket freaks, though...
they just swat at the camera. All the time."

The next morning, Duane consults a map, picks up his basket accomplice and then goes to the offices of Harold Needleman, MD. He has important business to discuss with Needleman, it seems.

“What’s in the basket? Easter eggs?” asks Sharon, the overly made-up receptionist.

Duane smiles and ignores her, much like I would do. He submits a fake name to get an appointment (it’s that easy!) and goes into Needleman’s office, who is more concerned with shoving a huge, brown lunch into his mouth than as to why his patient has a large wicker basket with a padlock affixed to it.

Needleman advises Duane to remove his shirt, which he does, revealing a nasty scar on the side of his torso. The doctor looks horrified before we fade to Duane leaving the office.

Say, what happened? What was the diagnosis for Duane Smith? Is he a…BASKET CASE?

Needleman, who isn’t as dead as I thought he’d be, sifts through his messages, stops on one labeled as urgent, and makes the call.

Meanwhile, Duane goes to the movies with his basket, and during his choice of bad kung-fu, he falls asleep and has his basket stolen. The thief opens the basket, shrieks, and runs out screaming with a bloody face.

Duane then finds himself on a date with Dr. Judith Kutter, and how this came to be remains a mystery. During this date, Kutter fields a phone call from a very nervous Needleman, calling to report that Dr. Lifflander had urgently tried to reach him in regards to a male patient with a scarred torso, but now he was nowhere to be found. Dr. Kutter hangs up, caring as little about the call as I do to fighting my way to the conclusion of this already pushing-it movie.

Duane finds a reason to leave his date and drops off his basket at Needleman’s office. Needleman hears a loud crash, sees a door knocked off its hinges, and then barricades himself inside his office. He sneaks around the corner in the dark office and flips on the light.

And we meet what’s in the basket!

His name is Belial, and he’ll use his teeth to turn you into a puppet.

Basket thing reaches his hands into Needleman’s stomach and sorts through all the innards. Needleman’s nervous system doesn’t much care for that, though, and it stops functioning.

The next morning, Duane feeds the basket a pack of raw hotdogs, sets up a TV, and vamooses, ready for his date with Sharon the receptionist. The two begin their date, and after a bit of hanging out and talking blithely about things that don’t revolve around mutated gumballs in baskets, they share a brief kiss.

Belial, not too happy about the kiss that it is able to experience via the brothers' apparent psychic connection, pushes the TV off the table and shrieks, shrieks, shrieks. We are then treated to an AMAZING stop-motion sequence of the basket thing completely tearing apart the room, pulling drawers from dressers and smashing them against the wall.


The hotel’s other occupants, annoyed at all the noise, crowd the hallway and want to see about all the ruckus and goings-on. The motel manager breaks in, sees the mess, assumes it was an animal, and closes up the room. Everyone disperses, but one of those nosy neighbors, having spotted Duane’s cash pile, breaks back in and helps himself. He also helps himself to the basket, which results in an OMG.

Meanwhile, during Duane and Sharon’s kissfest, Duane begins to feel the attack via his psychic connection. He freaks out and runs home to field questions from the authorities, who believe the attack to be that of an animal.

“What’s in the basket?” asks the detective. He flips the lid to see…nothing. The detective then leaves, and Belial reveals his hiding spot, lifting his head out of the toilet.

The first draft of Basket Case focused on Duane's
heroin addiction, and the toilet demon that urged
him to seek help.

The two have a psychic spat and then go out to a bar where they meet one of the female tenants, to whom Duane chooses to provide all the exposition we’ve been wondering so far.

“There's something I've been dying to ask you. What's in the basket?” asks Casey, who is one mustache away from being a man.

“My brother, he's deformed; a freak. He's like a squashed octopus. Our mother died giving birth to us. He was attached to my right side. They wouldn't let us go to school or anything. They kept us hidden. We were the big family secret. Everybody hated us, except our Aunt. He talks to me. Up here. Without words. I just hear him whispering in my brain. They didn't want him to live. But he fooled them, he just got stronger.”

After this monologue, Duane passes out and we’re treated to a flashback of them as children. The boys try to make a life for themselves—that as one normal boy attached to a piece of cat poop. As children, they are separated in a very bloody surgery in an attempt to live a normal life. When the father attempts to throw Belial out with the garbage (haha), he is rescued, and a large spinning saw is erected in the basement that eventually separates the left side of the father’s body from his right. The boys are then raised by their aunt and live a fairly normal life.

Back in the present, Duane falls sloppily drunk on his bed and immediately passes out. Meanwhile, Belial visits Casey in the apartment next door, caressing her naked sleeping body. Let’s just say that when she wakes up, she’s not thrilled. Belial makes his escape with a secret prize: red panties.

The next morning, the boys go to visit Dr. Judith Kutter again.

Plot twist!

Turns out Dr. Kutter was one of three doctors who had originally assisted with the separation surgery of the Bradley boys two decades ago. If you can say who the other two doctors are, you win thirty kisses from Belial.

You think Belial is scary now? Just wait 'till he
goes for the butt, lady. Just wait.

Dr. Kutter gets her tongue ripped out and many scalpels shoved into her face before the boys make their escape. Dr. Kutter turns and screams directly into the camera, her face strawberry short-caked with blood, the scalpels wiggling around, until she finally drops dead of exhaustion.

Back at the hotel, Duane meets up with Sharon, and soon things start getting hot and heavy. Of course, master cock-blocker that is Belial, Sharon freaks out at the sight of him and leaves. Duane sighs and takes his blue balls to bed.

Belial takes this opportunity to sneak out, molest, and kill Sharon. There may have even been coitus, but I wouldn’t even know what that would look like, so I can only assume.

Belial and Duane have a huge fight over it, Belial picks up Duane by his balls, and then they both fall out the window (which I hear was the alternate ending to The Shawshank Redemption).

They both smash to the ground face-first, blood splashing across the faces of all the onlookers.

To be followed by two sequels.



2 comments:

  1. quite an in-depth review there, check out My Review

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's kind of you to call this a review, and not the lazy play-by-play filled with sarcastic comments it actually is. Your link's not working?

    ReplyDelete