BASKET CASE 3 concludes a stylistic arc parallel to the one described by Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series. The first film was dark, intense, gritty and violent but was laced with black humor. The second film maintained the dark humor but added zaniness to it. The third film is every bit as much comedy as horror, though the two are intertwined. This final flick in the trilogy is the least of the series but is still a good film and a fitting finish to a classic outsider horror director’s definitive franchise. The first half of the film feels a tad aimless, as though helmer Frank Henenlotter is just parading the visions in his mad brain before the camera. But while it takes time to get going once the plot congeals around the half-way mark, the film has evolved into a compelling and grossly hilarious satire of society. The role of the outsider in society has been a frequent metatextual – and not so meta – throughout Henenlotter’s work. The same is no less true here. But with BC3, we have moved from BC1′s lone pair of outsiders trying to stay under the radar and survive in a society run by mundane normals. Hell, in the first one, even with all the weirdos that inhabited the hotel where dwelled infamous twins Duane and Belial, the two brothers were STILL outsiders among outsiders. With BC3, we reach the point where a whole family of mutants (representing outsiders) invade normal society and declare their presence. I was reminded of Magneto in the X-Men movies, though BC3 predates those by a number of years. At any rate, the bizarre menagerie of freaks and Henenlotter’s trademark sicko sense of humor and distorted, absurdist sense of horror is in full play with BC3, which reaches peaks of delirium on par with an MGM musical if said MGM musical was sociopathic, underground and thoroughly demented.
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