March 30th, 2011: Basket Case (1982)

What It’s About: Strange and awkward Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) moves into a flea pit hotel in Times Square at the height of its decay, bringing with him an odd little basket.  Inside the basket is Belial, his Siamese twin, who is little more than a lump of flesh with arms and a face.  The pair have come to New York for revenge on the doctor’s that separated them.  When Duane meets the doctor’s receptionist, will he abandon Belial and live a “normal” life?  Will Belial let him?

Why Watch it Today?: Today is National Doctor’s Day; hopefully you have better things in mind for your doctor than the Bradley twins have for theirs.  Basket Case is one of the landmark late grindhouse films, an insanely off-the-wall (and gory, disturbing and funny) picture from maverick director Frank Henenlotter.  While Henenlotter’s films (including Brain Damage and Frankenhooker) are unquestionably in poor taste, they are consistently creative and enjoyable in their own way.  The film is also a primer for those who can’t remember the time when New York City (and Times Square in particular) was synonymous with crime, urban decay, and sleaze.

Where to Get It:  iTunes, Netflix (Rental only) or Amazon

The Trailer: Note that it’s pretty gory, so maybe NSFW in some jurisdictions

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