Release Date(s)1991 (August 9, 2016)
Studio(s)Shapiro Glickenhaus Entertainment/20th Century Fox (Synapse Films)
- Film/Program Grade: C+
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: D-
Basket Case 3: The Progeny was released in 1991, concluding a trilogy of movies about the murderous freak twin brothers Duane and Belial Bradley. The third entry, like the previous one, picks up after the events of the last film, but this time, we find Duane some months later after a psychotic meltdown. Him and Belial are separated while they and the rest of the group, including Granny Ruth, make their way to Peachtree County to see a trusted doctor friend and his son about Eve’s impending birth of her and Belial’s children. The movie’s themes of fatherhood and the acceptance of people who aren’t normal coming out of the shadows populates it with a multitude of characters, old and new. There’s also a welcome return to some of the goofy splatter moments Frank Henenlotter is generally known for, but it isn’t quite the rousing conclusion fans were hoping for.
Basket Case 3 is definitely the least of the series, which is not to say that it should be discarded completely. There’s plenty for fans of the Basket Case series to enjoy, but whereas the previous movie felt more cohesive with a stronger narrative thrust, the third feels a bit choppier by comparison. By the final minutes, there’s actually two different movies happening that have very little to do with each other, with only the thinnest of threads keeping it all together. Unfortunately, there are sections of the movie that drag a bit, especially in the middle. The new characters that are introduced also don’t hold all that much interest. And while the last film had scenes from the original inserted for context (perhaps running a bit too long), this one flat out opens with all of the previous film’s final moments, with only minor edits here and there. Perhaps it was meant to re-familiarize the audience with the story, but in retrospect, it feels more like padding.
Frank Henenlotter also seemed to be trying to cut loose and do things a little more off the wall, especially with the side characters, but it winds up feeling a little forced. Of course, learning that several pages of the script were removed before the actual shooting to cut back on the gore, it’s obvious that it affected the final product. Things aren’t all bad though. The same great prosthetic make-up effects make their return, and once again, there isn’t an overt amount of carnage on display, but occasionally, a fun, bloody effect will rear its head. There’s even a nice cameo from Beverly Bonner, who was in the original film. So Basket Case 3: The Progeny isn’t perfect, but to its credit, a movie like this, especially from a gonzo filmmaker like Frank Henenlotter, at least tried to do something different each time. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work too well the third time out. The movie can be a bit divisive as well, as some feel it’s more Henenlotter than not, but whatever the case may be, one can’t deny that the idea had run its course and was wearing very thin.
Synapse Films’ Blu-ray release of Basket Case 3, like its predecessor, features a very strong transfer taken from “35mm vault materials”. It’s another organic-looking presentation with even grain levels and a high amount of fine detail, texturing, and depth. Once again, all of the prosthetic make-up work stands out the most. Colors are quite strong with nice skin tones, blacks are quite deep, and brightness and contrast levels are satisfactory. There also isn’t much in the way of film damage or defects leftover, save for some mild speckling. The soundtrack, which is an English 2.0 DTS-HD track, isn’t quite as strong as its predecessor, as it tends to sound a little thin in places. That being said, dialogue is still clear and discernible, and both score and sound effects have some nice breathing room. There’s also some decent ambience from time to time. There are no subtitle options to choose from and only the original theatrical trailer is featured as a supplement.
Bottom line, Synapse Films’ releases of both Basket Case 2 and Basket Case 3: The Progeny are welcome additions to your horror Blu-ray library. Fans may go back and forth about which is better, but the excellent quality of the transfers are bound to satisfy.
- Tim Salmons