October's Daily Horror Dose #8 - The Basement

Ok so if you want to actually watch today’s movie I am not going to make this one easy on you. The Basement is a movie that was shot in 1989 and meant to go straight to VHS. This never happened and the movie was shelved....until now! Last year it, along with four other movies, was released to DVD in a box set called The Basement: Camp Retro 80’s Collection. I can’t believe I didn’t know about it until now but I ordered it the second I learned of its existence. Best of all, the set comes with a VHS tape of The Basement so you can watch it exactly was you were originally meant to. I chose to watch the DVD but the quality is so terrible I have to imagine VHS is the better choice.

But terrible quality aside, and despite the fact I am seconds away from spoiling the hell out of it, I really do think you should check out The Basement.

First of all, this movie was clearly shot on a next to zero budget, and was apparently shot over the course of just a few weeks, so it’s a little unfair to be too mean to it. I always have to respect when a group of people get together and put something like this together. I’ve never been able to pull it off myself so they definitely have earned some kudos.  However it has been almost 25 years since it was originally shot and well, let’s just say that time has not been particularly kind to this one.

The Basement is an anthology horror movie that tells four different stories. The wraparound story is that four strangers wind up in the basement of this house, because of reasons, and then this guy called The Sentinel shows up to show them horrible things they will do in their future, which they have been sentenced to hell for in the present. So basically he’s a cop from Minority Report, giving people shit for stuff they haven’t done yet. Hmm, this movie predates Minority Report by like a decade…maybe I’m not giving it enough credit. Also hell is depicted as stock footage of a volcano, which is pretty awesome. Anyway let’s break this down story by story shall we?

The first involves a lady who hates her husbands for reasons that aren’t explained. He seems like a good guy. Bathing suits a little skimpy but I don’t think that’s reason enough to kill him. Anyway there’s a monster in the pool I guess so she tricks people into getting eaten by it, by which I mean she just tells people to get into the pool and they do because hey pools are awesome but ooooo no I’m being eaten or something. That’s about all there is to it, but the “twist” is kinda funny just in how abrupt it is.

The second story is the golden one I feel. It’s about this asshole that hates Halloween so on Halloween night he is visited by three spirits. But instead of showing him his life and such, they just murder him in different ways. Some of the make-up is actually quite decent, though there’s a classroom massacre scene that is just all kinds of terrible/awesome. People with make-up on before they’re attacked, guys getting shot in the leg but holding their stomach in pain, and the most unconvincing “no please don’t shoot me” look ever committed to film. The twist I’m pretty sure doesn’t make any sense, but it’s a fun ride getting there. If you love A Christmas Carol but are bummed out because Ebenezer never has a mummy rip out his tongue and eat it, then get ready weirdo because this is the story for you!

The third is a pretty typical zombie short where people are filming a zombie movie and oh my god suddenly real zombies! Once again the twist makes no sense, and the main guy is such an over-the-top asshole that it can be pretty entertaining, but this one is pretty meh.

The last one is about a guy who moves into a new house that may or may not have terrible things happening there (spoiler: it totally does). This one may have been ok if it weren’t shot so dark that you never have any clue what is ever happening! I see some ok stuff happening there in the darkness but my eyes can’t quite penetrate it enough to make out what it is. Too bad, there’s so few ripping out of brains these days that it’s a shame not to be able to see it clearly when it happens.

So that’s The Basement. Really low budget (though like I said, occasionally manages some decent make-up and special effects), real silly, poorly told stories, consistently terrible acting, and god damn it, I was entertained. If you’re a fan of this kinda thing, you need to pick up this box set. I haven’t even watched the other movies in it but I am geared up now man!