The first thing one might notice about “Basket Case” is its authentic grit. Shot on 16mm film, No Wave style, and operating on a budget of only $35,000, “Basket Case” spends a lot of time prowling around the streets of 1980s New York, peering deep into the litter and the crowds, looking for the monsters that lurk therein. 

“Basket Case” stars Kevin Van Hentenryck as Duane, a mild-mannered fellow who most certainly has violence somewhere in his heart. Duane arrives in New York, checks into a cheap, sleazy motel, and sets up shop, all while carrying a mysteriously large, locked wicker basket. In private, he opens the basket and throws in a few hamburgers. He talks to the basket. It doesn’t respond. Living inside the basket is none other than Belial, Duane’s twin brother. Belial cannot speak and is little more than a mound of flesh with an enormous fanged mouth, black eyes, sharp teeth, and two powerful, monstrous arms. The two brothers communicate telepathically. 

In flashbacks throughout the film, the audience learns Duane and Belial’s story. As boys, they were conjoined, with Belial emerging from under Duane’s arm. Despite their protests, Duane and Belial were ordered to be surgically separated. Belial has been full of hate ever since, resenting having been removed. Duane, meanwhile, hates the world for how badly it treated his brother. At Belial’s instigation, they are in New York to murder the doctors who separated them all those years ago. 

Along the way, Duane finds himself falling for Sharon (Terri Susan Smith), one of the doctor’s assistants, while Belial remains hellbent on violence. The brothers find their paths diverging.