Although it took eight years for cult director Frank Henenlotter to revisit the twisted world of Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck) and his basket-bound, mutant former Siamese twin Belial, this sequel picks up the plot mere moments after the original Basket Case ended, finding the psychically-linked brothers mangled but very much alive after the rather aggressive tiff that pitched them out a Bowery flophouse window. They manage to elude the authorities, escape the hospital (to avoid having to explain the dozen-or-so murders committed by gnarled, lumpy Belial), and eventually find sanctuary at the palatial home of Granny Ruth (jazz songbird Annie Ross), an eccentric activist who rallies the cause of "Unique Individuals" like Belial who have been ostracized by society for their horrific appearance and behavior. (Unique, indeed... Ruth's tenants run the gamut from a boy with 18-inch teeth to a woman who looks like a
hammerhead shark in a summer frock.) Although the pair soon grow quite accustomed to their new home, they are eventually forced to confront their murderous past, thanks to a tabloid reporter and a cynical cop, both of whom come to regret sticking their noses into places where such appendages tend to get bitten off. Henenlotter deserves credit for exploring new terrain in this interesting follow-up, but his reliance on outrageous makeup effects diminishes the effectiveness of the "Monsters Are People Too" theme -- it's hard to work up much empathy toward Ruth's charges, depicted as mute automatons by actors wearing 70 pounds of foam latex on their heads. Not that Henenlotter doesn't return to grotesque form now and then -- particularly for the most disgusting love scene on record and the effective shock ending, which paves the way for yet another sequel.