Basket Case (1982) 4k

Basket Case (Limited Edition 4K UHD Review)

What we sometimes perceive as an absurd situation can often be the most entertaining one. Something that is true when it comes to cinema, if you give in to suspension of disbelief fully… you may just find yourself having a whole lot of fun. Especially the case when it comes to Horror or Sci-Fi, some of the wildest films created within these genres are often made on low budgets by inventive filmmakers. Something you can trace back many decades, a few memorable figures in this corner of cinema history would have to include Ed Wood, Roger Corman, Larry Cohen, as well Frank Henenlotter. Henenlotter, very much a master of exploitation filmmaking, is beloved by many Horror fans for titles such as 1988’s Brain Damage and 1990’s Frankenhooker, but also 1982’s Basket Case.

Basket Case, originally released theatrically in April of 1982, is one of those films that still stands out even forty plus years later. Written and directed by Henelotter, with a $35,000 budget he went into Manhattan and created an extremely bizarre, crude film. Originally shot on 16 mm film, but enlarged to 35 mm for a theatrical release (something that can result in quality loss), Basket Case utilizes its surroundings, quirky characters, and the element of satire to its full advantage. With this, you are taken into the world of Duane Bradley (portrayed by Kevin Van Hentenryck) who freshly arrives in Manhattan with a large wicker basket in-hand on a mission. Seeking lodging in a seedy part of the city, you soon learn more about Duane’s story, including the most disturbing aspect of it… which lies locked within the basket.

Basket Case movie
Basket Case (1982) / Arrow Video 4K (2024) 

Filmed in an era when New York City was still rather gritty and recovering from the economic trials significantly felt during the ‘70s, you can feel the atmosphere vividly within each frame of Basket Case. Something that was captured in other films shot years earlier on – such as 1971’s The French Connection, 1973’s Mean Streets, or 1977’s Saturday Night Fever – Henelotter’s Basket Case mirrors a similar atmosphere, but in a very unique way. Attributes which give Basket Case its character, this withheld, it is still the wackiness of its story which truly remains the foundation of the film.

What is considered a cult classic, Basket Case’s following has continued to grow as time goes by. First released to both VHS and Betamax in 1983, fast forward to 1994 it made it to Laserdisc, DVD in 1998 and 2001, before a Blu-ray release in 2011 (a restoration from a 35 mm interpositive, and not completely from the original 16 mm camera negative). Offering many options for others to check the film out, then in 2018 Arrow Video released Basket Case on Blu-ray and DVD, presenting it in a 4K restoration. Rather cool, now in 2024 Arrow Video upped the ante with the release of Basket Case yet again… but this time as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Basket Case (1982) movie
Basket Case (1982) / Arrow Video 4K (2024)

A limited-edition single disc release; this will mark the first time ever the film is available on a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Set for release on April 30th, what you get is the 2017 4K transfer, plus a ton of extras such as documentaries, interviews, Henelotter’s debut 1972 short Slash of the Knife, and more. Very much on par with the 2018 Arrow Video release contextually, if you are someone who wants to experience the film on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc format, then this 2024 release is a must have. However, for those who have not invested in a 4K player just yet, the Blu-ray edition from 2018 is still a fine option. Nonetheless, this limited-edition set pulls out all the stops with the most complete offering of Basket Case put out there to date.

In all, the 4K transfer is nothing short of astounding to watch. Breaking it down to provide further understanding of what transpired to make this possible, Basket Case was selected for preservation by The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City back in 2017. Putting in a ton of effort, they oversaw the entire process and the film was actually restored from its original 16 mm camera negative, while its audio also underwent a restoration as well. Using the original magnetic tracks of the sound mix as the source, what you get is a full-blown clarified Basket Case experience like you have never seen or heard before on any prior format. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Arrow Video’s 2024 Limited Edition 4K ULTRA HD release 5 out of 5 stars.

Basket Case (1982) / Arrow Video 4K (2024) 
Basket Case (1982) / Arrow Video 4K (2024)

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