25 Days ’til Halloween, 2014: Basketcase 3: The Progeny (1991)


This film is on my list of top ten most disturbing movies. Seriously, I find this movie more disturbing than A SERBIAN FILM. I can barely watch it…and yet it is the perfect example of a genre of film I enjoy but which I don’t quite know how to identify or describe. Body horror-comedy, maybe? SOCIETY (1989) is another good example. And then, from Australia, BODY MELT (1993) also belongs on the list. There are others I can’t think of at the moment. They’re all bright and colorful satires with the tone of a children’s cartoon or an 80s sex comedy – REVENGE OF THE NERDS crossed with Looney Tunes – but they juxtapose this bland glee with perverse imagery and incredibly dark subtexts. I always get the sense, watching these films, that new kinds of sexual perversions are being invented before my eyes. Of course, in the end of SOCIETY, that is literally the case.

BASKETCASE 3: THE PROGENY, though less sexually specific than some of the other films of this type, nonetheless gives the impression of being in a constant state of disgusted arousal triggered by its own subject matter. Imagine being in the midst of sexual passion with a new partner who you’re very attracted to. When the clothes come off you find that, instead of genitalia, they have a kind of grey-brown rotten meat-like pit that is lined with oozing gristle-white nodules and surrounded by undulating tentacles. It’s disgusting, but you’re so into the moment you shrug and say to yourself, “What the hell? I’ll do anything once…” Watching BASKETCASE 3: THE PROGENY provides a parallel experience to not only that, but also the mixed emotions you might feel as you fall in love with this “person,” devote yourself to them, and have malformed, nausea inducing children…

Keep telling yourself that you’re “open” to new experiences and harbor no “superficial” aversions to the bodies of people you love or care about…just keep telling yourself that. It’s important not to judge, right? We shouldn’t shame people for their differences. It’s all about diversity, right?

Right…keep telling yourself that.

In any case, if it’s possible to completely shed one’s superficial attachment to such shallow biases it would require a kind of emotional leap into the “disgusting,” like jumping into cold water, before one can entirely adjust to the “difference.” I imagine that’s what it’s like for bigots to adapt to a more tolerant belief system. It’s that parallel, in fact, that makes BASKETCASE 3: THE PROGENY such a fantastic film. Although in many ways it has a typically trite plot about “tolerance” and “diversity,” it replaces the familiar “other” in this plot with creatures so alien and so physically disturbing that to accept them requires a kind of “letting go” from the audience. It’s that “letting go” into empathy for a REAL “other” that most movies about racism or homophobia or what have you DOESN’T require and, as a result, they never really challenge their audience’s real prejudices….the experience of watching something like MILK, for example, is (for most people) just a cheap game of escapist, self-congratulating empathy compared to watching something like BASKETCASE 3: THE PROGENY…

In other words, getting over bigotry is a bit like kissing your lover during morning sex even though they have halitosis. Eventually you’ll adjust to the stink. Soon you won’t even notice it. You might even revel in it…


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6 Responses to 25 Days ’til Halloween, 2014: Basketcase 3: The Progeny (1991)

  1. “A Siberian Film” ? Or a Serbian Film ? XD


  2. Kristen says:

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!


  3. Vickey says:

    Fine way of explaining, and good post to get information concerning my
    presentation subject matter, which i am going to convey in institution of higher education. http://fp-foundation.org/index.php/en/component/easyblog/blogger/listings/angelinedumares?Itemid=101


    • Wonderful, Vickey! Please let me know when your presentation is complete. I would love to read a transcript (whether or not it directly references my blog post). I’m currently working toward a Masters in Education myself to teach Fine Art at the Secondary level. I’m deeply interested in the role that art may play in challenging preconceptions and providing a “safe” (quotes are necessary as art can mimic the horrors of real life in a unique way) practice of transitioning into new “world-views” while also developing metacognition. It might be a stretch to call Basketcase III art, but the challenge it poses to the viewer is typical of great art and, for that matter, all new information that may challenge a student’s deeply head preconceptions about the world and themselves.


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