Last week we went into the archives and blew the dust off my email exchange with Basket Case 3 scriptwriter Robert Martin. This week we revisit my phone chat with actor Beverly Bonner about her involvement with Basket Case 3.
Bonner made an appearance in six of Frank Henenlotter’s films. In addition to the Basket Case trilogy, she also showed up in Brain Damage (1986), Frankenhooker (1990) and Bad Biology (2008). (She later resurrected her Casey character for the stage so fans could see what she was up to 30 years after the events of the original film.)
The night I called Beverly it was freezing, and as I said previously, my heat was out, and I spent all day waiting for the repair tech to show up. It was not until I was well into my conversation that the repair tech arrived.
I found Beverly to be an incredibly positive, upbeat spirit. She laughed a lot and was just an incredible, incredible person. I cherish the memory of that conversation and I stayed in touch with her over the years. She passed away in 2020.
How did you get the part of Casey in Basket Case?
Years ago, I was working with the late Divine at the Truck and Warehouse Theatre in the East Village here in New York. We were doing the play Women Behind Bars, which Divine had the lead in. Frank came to see the play and spoke to me after the performance. He said he was going to do a movie and he wanted to put me in the movie. Of course, I’d heard that thousands of times before from guys. Sure, enough when he got ready to do this movie he called me in for it. It was funny because I was supposed to have this little bit part to start out. He liked what I did, and he kept writing more and more for me to do in the movie. So, what started out as a bit part became the third lead.
After reprising Casey in Basket Case 2, you appeared in Basket Case 3 as a different character.
By that time, they had a whole lot more money for Basket Case 3. Frank flew me into Atlanta, put me in a hotel. I had a great time with Annie Ross. It was surreal to be out there at the picnic area during my scene. It was so hot, and all those characters were suffocating in their costumes and trying to eat. Frank named my character Casey because he knew the fans would get a big kick seeing me as Casey in this one, although I wasn’t the same character.
How have you enjoyed working with Kevin Van Hentenryck on the films?
He’s a sweetheart, a very easygoing, very laidback guy. It’s nice the three of us have a good relationship after all these years.
What do you think of the fan reaction to you and your work in these films?
I’ve done a couple of conventions. I was never able to go to the horror-film conventions because I was always working 9 to 5, and sometimes two jobs, plus I had a TV show. I was really busy. When I finally got out of the corporate world in 2007, I was able to follow some of these things. It’s really great. I went to my first convention in Pittsburgh. They put you up and you sign pictures, and you pose for pictures and people give you money and they love you. Who wouldn’t love that? It beats working in an office.
What can you tell us about your stage show?
I wrote a play about Casey, and she’s got a bar in the East Village. The basket is living there with her and a reporter from NYU comes to interview her. HE’s a big fan of Casey and Basket Case. Casey’s still kind of living in her “Basket Case world.” She’s got a crazy waitress there, another who wants a reality show, and people come through. Kevin made an appearance on one of our shows in New York. Frank has been so supportive. He’s been at every show that’s been here in New York. He’s very helpful. I do some opening acts and then screen the whole film Basket Case and they you get to see me on stage live.
Will Casey ever cross paths with the Bradley Brothers again?
You’ll have to ask Frank that. I’ve heard [about a sequel], but I’m not talking. Let’s just say it’s a possibility.
Next Week: Kevin Van Hentenryck