Monday, July 25, 2016

Monsters Galore! BASKET CASE 2 and 3: The Progeny (Blu-ray Review)

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Director: Frank Henenlotter

Cast: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Judy Grafe, Annie Ross, Robert Martin

Synapse Films / All Region / Rated R / 1.78:1 widescreen (1080p) / DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo / 90 minutes (both films)

Disk Extras: (Part 2) The Man In The Moon Mask - Featurette
Beyond The Wicker Behind-the-Scenes Featurette (Part 3) Theatrical trailer

BUY PARTS 2 (link) and 3 (link) FROM GRINDHOUSE VIDEO

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Director Frank Henenlotter is in my top five favorite horror movie directors, maybe top three. I think it's fair to say that he is in the upper echelon of horror movie filmmakers on any list. Brain Damage, Frankenhooker, the Basket Case trilogy and Bad Biology, not a stinker in the bunch. One thing I admire about an artist is their ability to do only projects that they feel are worthy and when a filmmaker like Henenlotter shoots five movies in ten years (1982-1992) then doesn't get back on the horse for sixteen years until he has renewed inspiration—with Bad Biology in 2008—, I can dig that. It also helps that he writes all of his own movies and directs them which completes the vision and there is no better example of that than the grotesque yet fun Basket Case series.

We learn in part 2 that the Brothers Bradley are no longer conjoined, they are living in a home for other mutations (re: monsters) and they both have girlfriends. Duane learns that his girl's mutation is that her six-year-old son (a hideous, toothy monster) lives inside her belly and he freaks out and pushes her out of the window, killing her. He is then locked away in an insane asylum only to return at the beginning of part three. Upon his return he finds that he is going to be an uncle and Granny Ruth (the monster's caretaker) thinks it best to take the whole gang to Uncle Hal's estate in the country to relax and because he is a doctor who specialized in "special" cases. Of course when you are hanging out with more than a dozen monsters, you're sure to stir up some trouble.

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The Basket Case trilogy can almost be played together to form one long, awesome movie, especially the sequels that star a whole cast of unique and Abaratian looking creatures (look up Clive Barker's paintings from his "Abarat" series). Henenlotter must have wanted to go out with a "bang" before his long hiatus because these movies are two of the most outrageous and zany films I have ever seen. The home that the brothers are taken to by Granny Ruth to escape the media in part 2 is full of those glorious monsters and obvious by the subtitle and blu-ray cover of part 3, someone is having a baby... or twelve. That's right, Bilal, the mutated half of the Siamese twins (now separated), is having offspring. More correct would be to say that his girlfriend Eve (also deformed), who he was banging in part 2, is having offspring.

These two movies are made with the same over-the-top and irreverent attitude of Henenlotter's other films complete with some of the awesomest old-school practical effects you will ever see along with his outrageously cheesy sense of humor. With Bilal and Eve's Dirty Dozen of devil spawns added to the mix and Duane as fucking nuttier as ever, shit just gets zany, funny and disgustingly outrageous! I don't want to give too much away but I have one word for you: Robo-Bilal... seriously, with a buzz saw for a hand! There isn't much "serious" blood and guts but what we get in return is awesomely creative monsters and laughable gore-gags. Henenlotter's follow-ups to the classic original Basket Case are wonderfully demented masterpieces in and of themselves.

A few years ago Synapse Films released the best versions of these two film on DVD with a new 1.78:1 widescreen format (all former disks were full screen) and they were very clean and vibrant, especially when compared to other releases. Thankfully they have taken the audio/video quality to the next logical step with new and gorgeous high-definition blu-rays of both films! Both movies have an odd yet vibrant color palette and the new 1080p transfers really show them off. Both new disks contain the same supplemental materials as the DVDs but don't let that stop you from double-dipping. If you are fan of Henenlotter and these bizarre, nutty and outlandish sequels, you may as well lay down your money on these upgrades. They are well worth it.

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