Sunday, July 16, 2017

Brain Damage

Director - Frank Henenlotter (Frankenhooker, Basket Case)
Starring - Rick Hearst (Charmed, Warlock III: The End of Innocence), Gordon MacDonald (The Thin Red Line, Law and Order), and Jennifer Lowry
Release Date - 1988
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "It's a headache from hell"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     For as long as I can remember I've been a fan of Frank Henenlotter's.  When I was in high school the local video store began liquidating their stock to close their doors for good.  They started selling tapes around $5 but after time they quickly dropped the price to 50 cents.  One of the MANY tapes I grabbed during this time was Henenlotter's Frankenhooker.  I knew this film was made for me once I saw the cover and read the title.  I started grabbing up his titles.  My next stop was his 1988 Brain Damage before making my way to his Basket Case trilogy.  His films do not disappoint and are classic horror staple.  Sometime back Arrow Video released Brain Damage on blu.  This is one of the less talked about Henenlotter flicks but I fucking love it.  I reached out to Arrow and MVD about reviewing the film and they were kind enough to send a limited edition blu my way.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows Brian (get it?) who awakens under the weather and tells his girlfriend that he does not feel like going out.  Not to waste tickets, he sends her out with his brother.  Later that night he awakens to blood all over his head and shoulders.  He panics and rushes to the bathroom where he finds a strange creature has tapped into his brainstem.  The creature promises heaven on Earth through a drug it secretes into his brain if he promises to help him find people to feed on.  Brian agrees and plunges into darkness.  The former owners of the creature, names Aylmer, find out that Brian has possession of him they decide to arm up and get him back resulting in a scuffle and Aylmer's death...and Brian overdosing.
     When people mention Henenlotter horror fans immediately think of his classic film Basket Case or the popular Frankenhooker.  Very few people mention Brain Damage.  The film does have a cult following but nothing like the two before mentioned films.  Brain Damage is a fantastic film where practical effects meets storytelling resulting in one of my favorite horror comedies from the 1980s.  The acting in this one is fun.  The cast does a great job at bringing a range of emotions alive.  They are far from the type of cast that would win awards but they still make their characters very enjoyable and stand out from the crowd.  That's what I love about this film.  I thoroughly enjoy how colorful the characters are and the cast brings them to life.  The story for this one is a fun creature feature with one hell of a backstory.  The film, at it's core, is a creature feature but the end product is much more than that.  It is a horror tale about drug abuse and losing your family.  It also tosses in a very detailed and entertaining backstory for the creature which is something rarely done.  The film has great pacing, some fun puns and few good laughs, and delivers on the red stuff.  Finally, the film has several on screen kills. Watching Aylmer bury himself into someone's skull was very entertaining.  The kills all stand out and the practical effects are great.  The visual effects are dated but they still work regardless what year it is.  Overall, Brain Damage is a fantastic film.  The film is fucking bloody and brilliant.  This Arrow release is a must for any horror fan.  Check it out.

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