BASKET CASE 3: THE PROGENY
Directed by Frank Henenlotter
Produced by Edgar Ievins
Written by Frank Henenlotter and Robert Martin
Director of Photograpy Bob Paone
Music by Joe Renzetti
Cast: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Annie Ross & Gil Roper
1992/90 mins/Color/Dolby Stereo
1.33:1/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment DVD
If you like your horror films sleazy, gory, and cheap, then Frank Henenlotter must be one of your heroes. This maverick writer/director debuted with the classic BASKET CASE in 1982, and then went on to make two more unforgettable films BRAIN DAMAGE and FRANKENHOOKER (Does anyone else remember those talking VHS boxes? "Wanna date?") Sadly, Henenlotter hasn't released a film since 1992 and his last entry was the disappointing BASKET CASE 3: THE PROGENY, which is coming to DVD in Region 1.
(SPOILER WARNING: I can't discuss the events of BASKET CASE 3 without talking about what transpired in BASKET CASE 2, although I'd rather forget both. So, if you haven't seen 2, read with caution.) BASKET CASE 3: THE PROGENY continues the sad saga of Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) and Belial (played by a puppet) Bradley, conjoined twins who were separated against their wishes as children due to the fact that Belial is a misshapen freak. Since that time, Belial has been on a murderous rampage and Duane has had to deal with the fact that his brother is a homicidal telepathic mutant. BASKET CASE 3: THE PROGENY opens with a re-cap of BASKET CASE 2 (in case you'd blocked it out of your mind). Here's where we remember that Duane and Belial had found refuge with Granny Ruth (Annie Ross), a woman who houses freaks. Belial had found his soulmate with the equally deformed Eve (Denise Coop) and they were having what may be the grosses on-screen sex ever. Meanwhile, Duane was falling for Susan (Heather Rattay), but when he learned that she had a monster in her stomach, he accidentally killed her. As the new story opens, Duane is recovering from months spent in solitary confinement, and Eve is very, very pregnant. Granny Ruth decides that she must take Eve to see Uncle Hal (Dan Biggers) in Georgia, as he can safely deliver Eve's baby. So, all of Granny Ruth's freaks pile into a school bus (labeled 'No One You Know', the only funny thing in the film) and head for Georgia. Once there, Duane attempts to escape by enlisting the help of Opal (Tina Louise Hilbert), which brings attention to the freaks staying at Hal's. As Eve gives birth to a brood, the local police raid the house, causing some deaths. This enrages the already unstable Belial, and another killing spree begins.
Given the sheer amount of special effects make-up in the film, BASKET CASE 3: THE PROGENY must have been planned, but the entire film feels very improvised, and may be the stupidest gross-out movie ever made. It's clear that writers Henenlotter and Robert Martin (yes, Uncle Bob of ancient 'Fangoria' fame) meant this film to be a tongue-in-cheek dark comedy. The problem is that BASKET CASE 3 isn't funny, merely silly. Most viewers will spend the entire film rolling their eyes, wondering when either the real laughs or the real splatter is going to arrive. There are some semi-gory murders in the movie, but the special-effects by Gabe Bartalos often take on a surreal 'Screaming Mad George' feel and are neither funny nor all that gory. The most disgusting scene in the film (second to the Belial-Eve sex scene flashback) is the birth scene and, true to this film's nature, it goes way over the top and loses any effectiveness. The presence of all of the freaks in BASKET CASE 3 also has an effect on the overall feel of the film. While their appearances are very cartoonish and exaggerated, I found myself wondering if there are really people who have similar maladies and that took away from the already limited humor. Van Hentenryck and Ross do a good job of playing things straight and camping it up at the same time, but the rest of the cast is pretty bad, especially Hilbert, who sounds as if she's reading her lines off of a cue card. And Belial still looks like a bad puppet. BASKET CASE was a zero-budget shocker that caught the viewer's attention through its sheer brutality and offensive nature. BASKET CASE 3: THE PROGENY offers none of those thrills and plays as a latex-laden mess. Henenlotter has announced a return to filmmaking with a film called SICK IN THE HEAD, which can't help but be better than BASKET CASE 3.
BASKET CASE 3: THE PROGENY pops onto DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio. Unfortunately, I have no idea with the original aspect ratio for the film was. I didn't notice any overt panning-and-scanning on this transfer, so if it was shot in widescreen, it was no greater than 1.85:1. However, I feel certain that BASKET CASE 3 (which was shot back-to-back with BASKET CASE 2) was planned as a direct-to-video sequel, so it may have been shoot at 1.33:1. Anyway, the image looks OK, but the transfer doesn't look as it's been re-mastered and may have been taken directly from an old laserdisc master. The image is soft and noticeably dark at times. Also, the picture is very flat, showing little vibrance. The colors are OK, but some shots look very washed-out. The picture is somewhat sharp, but there is visible grain and some defects from the source material. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital stereo audio track, which delivers clear dialogue, but is just as lifeless as the transfer. There are no extra features on this DVD.
No points were allowed since there is no extras.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©