Basket Case 3 at 30!: Kevin Van Hentenryck
Welcome back to the ICFH Archives as I continue my look at Frank Henenlotter’s Basket Case 3 with some of the people who made the film.
At the time I conducted these interviews in late 2012, at the film’s 20th anniversary, I made every effort to track down the original Belial Bradley himself to get his thoughts. Frank Henenlotter told me Belial had retired from film and gone into seclusion at the end of the 90’s and even he had no idea where he was.
Luckily, I was able to track down Kevin Van Hentenryck, who portrayed the haunted Duane Bradley in the trilogy. In addition to his acting, Van Hentenryck is also an accomplished sculptor, sign maker and musician.
The evening I called him I found him to be every bit as laidback and easygoing as I had been told he was. Van Hentenryck is an affable kind of guy, and it was a complete joy getting the chance to talk to him. (He has actually portrayed Duane Bradly four times on screen, popping up in a cameo appearance on the subway in Brain Damage.)
Looking back, what are your thoughts on Basket Case 3?
The first one is my favorite, of course. I like both the second and third films. I like the third one. It was interesting to go someplace else to make one. It was a fun shoot. A lot of stuff was fun. Annie Ross- you know, the legendary Annie Ross!- was cool to hang out with.
Even Frank Henenlotter seems indecisive as to the film’s true merits.
You’re right. Frank has gone back and forth from absolutely hating the third one to “Maybe it’s better than I realize.” On the commentary on the metal box set that they released in the UK, he says pretty much that. Depending on his mood he goes from hating it to tolerating it.
Did the production run into difficulties?
The way I heard it is, in the first week of filming, they have a formula- so many pages should equal so many minutes, right? And we have “the suits” hanging around, you know, with, like, sledgehammers. They decided after the first week that we were ahead [of schedule] so they cut a scene that we weren’t going to need. We’re all pretty busy so we just carry on. The second-to-last week of filming they’re in a panic now. Their formula says we’re going to be short. We’ve already lost that location now. So, Frank writes a scene that night. The next day we get there, and I pace the parking lot learning it while they’re setting up the lights and the tracks for the camera and everything. This is the scene after the carnage in the sheriff’s office. I come running down the hill, talking about a shoe store and discover that Belial’s been shot and yell for help. That was that scene, which I thought we pulled off, considering it was a last-minute thing. We pulled it off. It goes to show you that “the suits” should stay in the office.
Any memories of working with the cast and crew.
Gil [Roper] was cool, very cool. I liked him very much. He’s really great on screen too. All of the people we met down there were very cool. There was one area we were shooting in, we had to drive there. It was kind of out in the country a bit. One of the grips or one of the lighting guys said to us, when we were getting there, “Just don’t mention to anyone around here you’re from New York.” I don’t know what he meant by that. We were pretty busy, so it didn’t come up anyway.
After doing the three Basket Case movies, did you ever become protective of the Belial prop, your “brother?”
No, no. It’s all perspective. Perspective is everything. If you’re doing a scene, a normal pedestrian scene with another human, Annie was playing Granny Ruth, I wasn’t really talking to Granny Ruth. There’s this element of being able to put yourself into a different place, perspective-wise. So, whether it’s a green screen or a rubber guy or another person, a young girl in a dominatrix outfit, whatever it is, you have to be able to adjust your perspective. That’s what acting is.
Is there any chance you might be revisiting Duane Bradley in a future Basket Case sequel?
In the last couple of years, all of a sudden, there seems to be a lot of interest in it again, just of its own momentum. Frank has tossed around some ideas for a fourth one, which sounds really great. I’m writing my own version, a different version of a fourth one. If he does his, mine will be Basket Case 5. I’d love to. I think it’s a good time to revisit the Bradley Brothers.
Next Week: Frank Henenlotter