Basket Case, Frank Henenlotter’s 1982 horror-comedy about a weirdo loner who arrives at a New York boarding house with his homicidal, telepathic, deformed former conjoined twin brother in a wicker basket under his arm, is not just a grimy time capsule of Times Square in the early ‘80s and the source of one of this writer’s favorite horror trailers of all time (see below). It’s also a work of capital-A Art.
At least, that’s the conclusion we’ve drawn from a recent move by the Museum of Modern Art, which recently added Basket Case to its permanent collection and will fund a restoration of the film later this year. Henenlotter announced the news yesterday on Facebook:
Founded in 1935, the MoMA’s film library is now more than 22,000 titles strong, and includes such priceless classics of the art form as early Edison Company silents and the world’s largest collection of D.W. Griffith’s films. Including a cult horror title like Basket Case would have been unheard of at the MoMA just a decade ago; the original 16mm prints of the film were thought to have been lost for many years, and were only re-discovered in Henenlotter’s mother’s attic in 2011.