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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Basket Case 3: Progeny
Basket Case 3: Progeny
Fox // R // September 7, 2004
List Price: $9.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted September 13, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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The Movie:

Those who aren't familiar with the events in the first two Basket Case films by gloriously demented New York City filmmaker Frank Henenlotter (of Frankenhooker and Brain Damage fame) will have no problems with this third and final film in the trilogy as it starts off explaining the story from the beginning in a handy dandy condensed flashback of sorts – just to get you up to speed).

Duane goes a little wacky and decides he wants to be reunited with his brother, Belial, and decides to have him stitched back to the side of his stomach where he was when they were born. Granny Ruth, a woman who runs a home for freaks, takes him in and gets him slapped into a straight jacket ASAP, while Belial heads out to find that his girlfriend is great with child… or children as the case may be... if you can call them children, that is.

Granny Ruth does what every good matron would do in her situation, she organizes a road trip to bring all the freaks along for the ride on their quest to find a doctor she knows of who will be able to aid in the delivery of Belial's special children. When Belial and friends hit the road, you know that things are going to get weird – and just wait until Belial's lady friend gives birth.

While it isn't on par with the near genius of the first movie, it does beat out Basket Case 2 in the laughs and out and out weirdness departments respectively. In short, it's an absolute freak show of a film and the monster and creature designs in this third chapter go all out and spare no one, not even the newly born! Henenlotter lets his overactive imagination run wild in this installment – from the monsters to the human characters as well, everyone in this film and everything about this film is over the top in pretty much every way possible.

While the story is rather simple, there are some nice twists along the way and it's interesting to see how in this chapter the tides are turned in a sense, with Duane as the freak (in a sense, at least) and Belial the normal one (again, in the context of the events of the film). Belial wants to make sure that his child is born safely and soundly, a normal reaction that any father to be would have when faced with the impending pressures of an upcoming birth. Meanwhile, Duane (the 'normal' or 'human' one) is running around like a chicken with his head cut off and suffering from some very obvious and very sever separation anxiety. This 'freak are the normal ones' line of thinking is further reflected in the way that women look at Belial in the film, and they way they react to him in the bedroom.

The usual Henenlotter touches are there – over the top special effects and monster gore combined with some goofy slapstick humor and some genuinely witty moments as well – which always makes for a good time. A couple of keen pop culture references further accentuate the humor over the horror in this installment (and to a lesser extent the earlier installments as well).

The DVD

Video:

The 1.33.1 image begins with a warning that 'this film has been modified from it's original version to fit your TV' but it looks like this is just an open matte presentation of a movie that has most widely been seen in a fullframe presentation anyway (seeing as it had only a very limited theatrical run before hitting video stores). At times the picture is fairly grainy and exhibits some minor print damage but it never gets bad enough to be too distracting. Compression artifacts aren't an issue but there is some edge enhancement visible from time to time and in a few spots the transfer looks a little darker than maybe it should be (though that could be the fault of the conditions under which it was shot – there just may not have been proper lighting used on the set).

Sound:

The English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix sounds just fine. It's hardly going to win disc of the year for best audio presentation but the dialogue is easy enough to follow and there aren't any problems with hiss or distortion anywhere in the mix. Levels are well balanced and the background music sounds just fine, as do the sound effects. It's a simple mix, to be sure, but it gets the job done well enough.

Extras:

Well, there's an insert with the chapter selection listing on it and that's it. No other extra features are included on this release.

Final Thoughts:

Basket Case 3 – The Progeny is far from Henenlotter's best film, it's not even the best in the trilogy, but it is a lot of fun and it sure does have its moments. While it is recommended for Henenlotter fans, the rest should probably rent it first as it isn't the best way to initiate yourself with the director's ouvre.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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