Director: Frank Henenlotter
Cast: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Annie Ross, Gil Roper, Dan Biggers, Jim O’Doherty, Tina Louise Hilbert
Synapse Films / Region 0 / Rated R / 1.78:1 widescreen / Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo / 90 minutes / BUY FROM TLA
Disk Extras: Theatrical trailer
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, Bad Biology (the only one I have yet to see but have heard nothing but good things about) and the Basket Case trilogy, 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, I can dig that. That last movie before his hiatus was the last film in the Basket Case threesome entitled The Progeny and he must have wanted to go out with a “bang” because it is one of the most outrageous and zany movies I have ever seen. Complete with a whole cast of unique and Abaratian looking creatures (look up Clive Barker’s paintings from his Abarat series), Henenlotter would like to welcome you to the family.
Obvious by the subtitle and DVD cover, someone is having a baby… or twelve. That’s right, Bilal, the mutated half of the Siamese twins (now separated) along with Duane, is having offspring. More correct would be to say that his girlfriend Eve (also deformed), who he was banging in Basket Case 2, is having offspring. Prior to the beginning of part 3, we are given a rundown of the high points of part 2; the brothers are no longer joined, 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.
This third installment of the Basket Case trilogy may be the most fun of all of Henenlotter’s movies. It has the same over-the-top attitude complete with some of the awesomest old-school practical effects you will ever see as his other films along with the outrageously cheesy sense of humor but this one has something that the other ones don’t: MORE MONSTERS! The same cast of freaks from the home in part 2 are back along with Bilal and Eve but this time you have their Dirty Dozen of devil spawns to add to the mix and Duane is fucking nuttier than ever. And 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 hit this one out of the park during his last at bat. The Progeny is a wonderfully demented masterpiece that is the perfect bookend for the series. Synapse Films’ new 1.78:1 widescreen DVD (all former disks were full screen) is very clean and the parade of the grotesque looks vibrant and colorful. The only supplement is the original theatrical trailer.