The Films (3.5/5 BC 2, 2/5, BC 3)
Basket Case could without argument be considered the first horror hit of the video era. The tape had the distinction of being one of very few horror films being sold at sell-through prices when most films were being sold to video stores or at a 100 dollar plus price point. The film was an effective mix of sleaze and camp, and is justifiably a genre classic. Of course, with any success in the horror genre a sequel is never far behind, and we got them with Basket Case 2 and 3 in the early 1990's.
Basket Case 2 discounts the tragic ending of the original film, rather then the Bradley brothers dying after their fall out of the Hotel Broslin window, the pair survive thanks to the arrival of an ambulance. They quickly become media darlings, and are whisked away to the country estate of Granny Ruth, who runs a home for mutants. In the relative safety of the home, Duane and Belial begin to feel secure, but a tabloid reporter begins to snoop around and invade their privacy.
Basket Case 2 is an interesting film. It didn't need to be made. The original film ended perfectly. Basket Case 2 is essentially a huge, gory, and somewhat fun homage to Tod Browning's classic Freaks. The film is at it's most fun, when it is dwelling in the world of Belial and his new creature "family" and detailing their weird interactions. There is an undercurrent of dark humor that pervades the film that works nicely, and the film while gory doesn't live up the standards of the original film. The biggest problem with the film from my perspective is the balance of horror and campy humor. The original film managed to effectively blend horror, humor, sleaze, and a sense of weirdness wonderfully. The sequel, which in all honesty is a much different beast anyway, veers more to the campy side of the equation, causing it to drown out the strength of the horror.
Basket Case 3 follows on almost immediately after Basket Case 2. We have Duane locked up after he attempts to join himself back to Belial, and soon after we find out that Belial is going to be (and quickly becomes) a Daddy to a litter of blobby Belial like mutants. Of course, the cops get involved and kidnap the Belial-spawn, and now Duane, Belial, and the rest of the mutants at Granny Ruth's have to go get them.
Basket Case 3 came out the year after Basket Case 2, and essentially feels like more of the same. While the first film feels like a different overall entity, these 2 like the Sleepaway Camp and Evil Dead films go into a tonally different direction. The 2nd film was a decent watch, with it's mix of gore and unique creatures, but by this point it just feels like the same buttons are being pressed again and again. If you really liked the 2nd film, then I would recommend the third film, but outside of that, this one is pretty far removed from the greatness of the first.
Audio/Video (4/5, 4/5)
If there is one avenue in which I will wholeheartedly recommend this release it is the A/V. Synapse Films are the best in the business when it comes to film restoration, and their release of Basket Case 2/3 just continue that tradition. Both film's are presented 1:78:1 with 1080p AVC encoded transfers. These transfers simply look fantastic. Both films feature very film like presentations with excellent detail and color reproduction, deep blacks, and a nice organic grain structure.
The audio is presented with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track in English. The track is quite solid with dialogue and score coming through nicely for both films, and no issues for either.
Extras (2.5/5 BC 2, 1/5 BC 3)
Basket Case 2 has an interview with Dawn of the Dead's David Emge who plays Half Moon Guy in the film. We also get a 22 minute interview with FX guy Gabe Bartalos. Basket Case 3 has a theatrical trailer.
Synapse has done fine work restoring Basket Case 2 and 3 for Blu-ray. The films themselves aren't that great, and the extras are limited. I'll lean toward RECOMMENDED on these, because they look better then ever.