In the second of our Basket Case special interviews we talk to the man who made Belial real, Kevin Haney. He tells us about special effects, working on a budget and the legend that is Frank Henenlotter.
Love Horror: How did you get involved in Basket Case?
Kevin Haney: It was through a high school chum, Steve Buck. He had a bit part in Slash of the Knife (at least I think that was the title) a short film Frank had made about the horrors of uncircumcision. They (he and Edgar Ievans) were going to do a film about a Legionnaires disease mutation called Ooze. I was 19 and living in Ohio. I did a little maquette for them to raise money of a diseased person in the final stages. Then they changed gears and decided to do Basket Case.
They flew me to NYC for a weekend and showed me a really good time, seeing Close Encounters on a huge NY screen! Frank showed me Slash which included a fantastic stop motion finale. We talked about the creature and what needed to be done. Frank had a picture book of Anomolies of Nature which included a picture of a parasitic twin. I had a vague idea of how to execute it, building the monster around Kevin Van Hentenryck’s lifemask.
Kevin Haney: I designed, sculpted, molded and fabricated the creature and a pair of arms (which were too small!) I was supposed to do the baby, which went to John Caglione based on the adult monster (although I helped with the mold), and figured a way to do the scalpels in Dr. Cutter’s face.
Love Horror: The first Basket Case film was made on a tiny budget. What are you memories of the shoot?
Kevin Haney: I wasn’t able to do the shoot, that went to John. Frank wrangled the adult puppet. I think John puppeteered the Baby. I was able to visit the set when Belial kills the landlord which was cool.
Love Horror: What was it like working with the legend that is Frank Henenlotter?
Kevin Haney: Frank is great. I loved his twisted sensibility. He knows character development, what makes you care about this one, hate that one, things a lot of big budget directors (fill in your favorite here) don’t get. He has a sense of the fantastic as well.
Love Horror: You have worked on some amazing and extremely different films over the years – C.H.U.D, The Addams Family, Men in Black II, The Shawshank Redemption, The Road and even Star Trek. How did Basket Case compare to the latter work you did? And you enjoy working on horror movies?
Kevin Haney: I did most of my horror credits for other makeup artists like Dick Smith, Carl Fullerton, John Caglione (and Doug Drexler). I did a Laurel Entertainment Show called Monsters but it almost killed me during the first episode (Feverman) and Dick had to do the shoot while I was in the hospital. I wish that I could have done more.
I don’t think you can compare film experiences because each one is different. I have been fortunate to work on a wide variety of films. I think I prefer low budget because there is so much less political machinations going on, just the fun of making the film. It is too bad things like rent and car payments get in the way… I am really glad I got to work on Basket Case, that it was my first film work/credit.
Love Horror: Why do you think the films achieved such cult status?
Kevin Haney: I think Frank knows what it takes to do a satisfying film. His characters are fun. You hate the bad guys and root for the heroes. You can get involved with his characters. There is that twisted mind of his as well, which has translated well over the years.
Love Horror: With this re-release have you had a chance to re-watch the movies?
Kevin Haney: I haven’t, but I did watch Basket Case in 2005 and I really enjoyed it.
Love Horror: What are you working on at the moment? What’s next for you?
Kevin Haney I am in between jobs.I never know what’s next. I am currently on staff at MEL (run by Allan Apone and Paul Elliot) I sculpt a lot of their recent stuff, but not everything. I am always willing to go in and work support for other artists because I get to work on more stuff that way.
Love Horror: Thank you so much for your time and your answers.
Look out for more Basket Case interviews and full reviews soon.
Basket Case – The Trilogy Special Edition is out on Blu-ray and DVD on the 22nd of October.