Basket Case 3 (1992)

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Finally, only a year after making Basket Case 2, Frank Henenlotter created Basket Case 3: a film set directly after the events of Basket Case 2, using the same cast of delightfully bizarre characters, with the intent of creating an explosive conclusion to the journey of Duane and his freakishly demented twin brother Belial. However, when all is said and done, Basket Case 3 ends the trilogy with a mere fizzle, not a bang. Basket Case 3 suffers from a lot of issues, not technical issues, but issues of story and character development, issues that make Basket Case 3 less enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, Basket Case 3 ended Frank Henenlotter’s directing career in the 1990’s before he would return with the film Bad Biology 16 years later.

Unlike the previous films, Basket Case 3, despite it’s premise of Belial becoming father to a litter of mini-Belials, is an uncomfortable film that is incredibly mean spirited towards it’s main characters. The film can sometimes be depressing with how unrelentlessly appalling the story treats these characters that were so enjoyable to watch in the previous films. As the film progresses, the brutal treatment of these strangely lovable characters was all done to set up a cathartic ‘revenge’ plotline, much like the original film, but because the producers decided to censor the film by removing 11 pages of script, the deaths of the villains just aren’t as cathartic as they’re supposed to be, and the film ends up feeling very underwhelming. The death scenes that are present in the film may have become memorable memes by themselves, but when put in context with the story, they aren’t as satisfying as they need to be for the film to become a more enjoyable experience.

In fact, the entirety of the film just isn’t as enjoyable as the previous entries and a lot of the characters that were fleshed out in the previous entires feel toned down and neutered: the menagerie of freaks have lost a lot of their charm and are reduced to essentially background colour, the character of Duane Bradley isn’t as enjoyably relatable as he was in the previous films, and the story itself is unbelievably paper-thin with a boring first hour of screen-time and a disappointing third act. In the end, Basket Case 3 just feels like a pale escuse of film made just to end a trilogy. The film doesn’t enhance the characters that viewers have grown to like, instead the film just beats these characters down so that the story can have some semblance of cathartic struggle. The main problem I have is that I feel that there was a lot of potential with the premise – Belial having a litter of flesh-eating children – but I feel that the film wastes any potential it had just to give viewers a basic revenge flick to end the Basket Case series.

There was so much that Basket Case 3 could have given us, but I feel that every potential was squandered, and in the end, fans of the Basket Case series were given a film that just isn’t as enjoyable to watch as the previous two cinematic entries. After Basket Case 3, Frank Henenlotter took a 16 year hiatus from film-making stating that “I decided that it didn’t seem to be working out the way that I wanted it to be”, and by watching Basket Case 3, I feel that I understand what he means. Basket Case 3 feels like a rushed ending to the entire trilogy and the film pales in comparison to the previous entries, or even any of Henenlotter’s other films around that same time. In a 2009 interview with Future Movies, Frank Henenlotter states that: “But as for Basket Case 3, that’s an absolute disaster! That may be the worst film ever made in the history of mankind. For lots of reasons, but I accept total blame on that. It was not the film I had set out to make.” and that is clearly evident when watching the film. In conclusion, Basket Case 3 is a disappointing ending to an entertaining franchise. (Quote taken from https://www.futuremovies.co.uk/filmmaking/frank-henenlotter-interview/matt-mcallister)

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