Frank Henenlotter returns 8 years later to deliver a much anticipated sequel to his 1980s hit classic ‘Basket Case’ featuring Duane and his deformed and deranged brother Belial. The result, if it is at all possible, a more mental and surreal experience than the first outing!
The plot of basket case 2 picks up directly from where the first movie left – infact there is a little section from the end of the first movie just in case you couldn’t keep up with the heavily cerebral story line (!). At the end of the first movie we see the two brothers caught in a predicament and then falling to what could have been their death. Thankfully, thanks to the rapid response time of the emergency services both brothers are taken to an intensive care facility, from which, and in spite of severe media coverage of their killing spree, they make their escape. But where do two deformed brothers go? - Well enter Granny Ruth, a pro-freak activist with a house full of the crazy fuckers!
The plot rambles on a bit from here as Belial and Duane try to integrate, there’s a bit of a subplot running throughout involving their relationship with each other and a slight climax as the terrible two are finally discovered, but despite my witticism in the introduction all in all I thought the movie’s plot was unnecessarily padded out; even the addition of several scenes of abstract surrealism didn’t help to mask the fundamental issue that not a lot was really happening. Being filmed 8 years after the original would make one believe that there was a reason to revisit the original characters and finish off a storyline; however, plot and dialogue in particular seem something of an afterthought.
That said, Basket Case 2 is not without some merit, and those viewers who admire Henenlotter’s work for his imagination over content will certainly appreciate the surreal and bizarre characters introduced in this movie (many of whom make a second appearance in Basket Case 3!). With costume design obviously dominating most of the films limited budget it is just as well that the creatures, deformed and grotesque as they are, fill the majority of the movies run time. Of course to a cynical viewer they may appear to be doing nothing, but to those who appreciate characters which could have only been conceived through copious ingestion of hallucinogenic compounds whilst watching ‘CB’s Nightbreed’ then this is all the movie needed.
Of course no Henenlotter movie would be complete without the token splatter effects fans of his movies have become accustom to, and whilst this movie certainly is not the splatter classic you might have expected it to be, the few kill scenes scattered throughout are well up to standard, the birthing scene in particular will remain with me for a while!
Overall though, despite showcasing a range of oddities and unimaginable freaks, Belial getting his end away and a crazy old woman trying to act amidst all the aforementioned madness, Basket Case 2 pales in comparison to the first movie. It had some big boots to fill, and some effort was clearly made to make something of a franchise which didn’t really need a sequel, but ultimately the lack of any real plot meant that all too often this movie was plain and simply boring! Something which isn’t often said of Henenlotter’s other work.