Monday, December 28, 2009

Basket Case 3: The Progeny (Frank Henenlotter, 1992)

Swarming with more unique individuals than you can shake a pockmark-covered albino wet dream at, Basket Case 3: The Progeny is the delightfully inappropriate and hilariously gory final chapter in the harebrained trilogy about a pair of formerly conjoined twins named Duane and Belial. Unlike most horror trilogies, this one has sprung forth from the singular vision of one man: esteemed writer-director Frank Henenlotter (Brain Damage and Frankenhooker). Involved with the making of all three movies (he's not the type to shirk responsibility), you really get the sense that his unique brand of twisted horror isn't being stifled by outside forces. While I'm sure he wanted it to be messier and more disgusting in places, the off-kilter and satirical temperament of the film never fails to shine through. This wacky disposition is best observed when Granny Ruth (Annie Ross) asks a pharmacist if he's got any extra large condoms for sale, and when Little Hal (Jim O'Doherty) videotapes the most nauseating birthing sequence in film history for posterity. (I liked the drugstore scene because it forces you to imagine what the mutated genitalia of a man with twenty-seven noses would look like encased in rubber.)

Performing double-duty as a penetrating public service announcement detailing the bane that is prejudice and a cautionary tale about the dangers that can come with being too fertile, the film covers some pretty deep themes. The matriarchal Granny Ruth and her band of oddities, still living on Staten Island, are planning a trip down south in order to procure the doctoring expertise of one Uncle Hal (Dan Biggers). Why do they need a doctor, you ask? Remember that revolting sex scene I mentioned that takes place between Belial and Eve in Basket Case 2? No? Well, it seems that Eve is pregnant and they want Hal to deliver the baby. Anyway, they all hop aboard a school bus (even Cedrik and his head of lettuce) and mosey on down to Peachtree, Georgia for some Dixie-based hospitality.

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about the mixed-up Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) and his various issues involving his homicidal twin. Worried about his safety, Granny Ruth has fitted him with a strait-jacket for the long journey south. He still desires to be free from the freakish cabal, but he really misses his brother, and hopes to reconcile with Belial, the basket-bound expectant father who likes to rip people's faces off.

All the so-called "freaks" (I don't really like to call them that since I've grown quite fond of them) from the previous film are all back and more grotesque than ever. A large part of the enjoyment of parts 1 and 2 was gingerly basking in the pure inventiveness that must have gone into creating the various deformities. I mean, one of them has a head shaped like a half-moon.

Now, I know it's rude to stare and all, but every time they showed them in a room together, like, for example, the party celebrating Eve's multiple birth, I couldn't help but be in awe of the craftsmanship that was on display.

The aforementioned birthing sequence is quite the sight to behold. The way the little Belials kept coming, while comedically satisfying, was a sickening spectacle. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the circle of life, it's just the screeching sound they made, and, not to mention, the manner in which they were all strung together, was all a tad much to take. Luckily, the bizarre play-by-play provided by Little Hal as the tiny terrors came out managed to alleviate the tension. In fact, some of his comments were quite funny. Of course, funny in a "did he just ask for some celery" kinda way.

Nothing is normal in the ooze-filled world of Frank Henenlotter.

Speaking of not being normal, I loved how the pristine-looking Opal, the daughter of the local sheriff, had a little bondage surprise for Duane during his brief stay in jail. It was just another in a long line of demented treats in this film. However, the fact that her disrobement led to unveiling of leather lingerie was actual not as big a shock as one might expect. I mean, I've found that it's always the quiet ones who exhibit the most perverted of tendencies. The other cool thing about Opal was that she was played by Tina Louise Hilbert, an actress who has the boast-worthy distinction of having Basket Case 3: The Progeny be their only motion picture credit role to date. I'm a big fan of actors who only have one film on their resume.

video uploaded by DarkAngel182


  1. Wow! In that photo, I NEVER would have recognized Kevin Van Hentenryck (but it's the same for all of us right, especially after...waitaminit...only ten years?!?)

    Kevin has not aged gracefully.

    I should check that out as I generally like Henenlotter's warped sensibilities.

    Hey Yums, I've got the ulimate 80's flick that you REALLY need to see (and review..) It doesn't appear that you've seen it. How can I message you?

  2. For a guy who only acts in Frank Henenlotter flicks, I thought he looked all right.

    The ultimate 80's flick?!? Damn, my noodle is soaking wet. Can't you just tell me what it is? If not, I guess you can PM me at Match-Cut.

    Du-beat-e-o? Meet the Hollowheads? No wait, I bet it's something by Albert Pyun. Vicious Lips? Alien from L.A.?

  3. What. The. Freak.

    Happy New Year, Yums.

  4. Yeah, I guess it is kinda freaky. (I take it you're referring to the gory birth pics and not my cavalier mention of Staten Island.

    Happy New Year, Karims.

  5. Happy New Year! I hope you've been having a great holiday season. Mine has been wonderful except for my cable modem dying on me. I just did a new post with a big announcement in it. I hope you'll check it out. Thanks. Take care. Have a fantastic holiday weekend. Cheers!

  6. Ewww!
    That is awesome
    Rock on!

  7. Happy New Year, Keith!

    Rock on, Rex Venom!

  8. Of course I acknowledge the classic status of the first BASKET CASE and the second one is not without its charms, but I couldn't get excited for a third entry. Thank you for watchin' it for me. :) best wishes for the New Year!

  9. Wasn't there a moon-head in "Nightbreed" too? I wonder if it is the same guy? He'd certainly be prone to type-casting :-D