Directed by Frank Henenlotter
Produced by Edgar Ievins
Written by Frank Henenlotter
Director of Photograpy Bruce Torbet
Music by Gus Russo & Clutch Reiser
Cast: Rick Herbst, Gordon MacDonald & Jennifer Lowry
1.85:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Synapse Films DVD
After releasing BASKET CASE back in 1982, director Frank Henenlotter was back in '87 with a new flick, BRAIN DAMAGE.
BRAIN DAMAGE starts off with an old couple going ballistic because they lost something... they wanted to feed it with brains but "it" disapeared. The film then switch to Brian who wakes up feeling weird and having blood on his hand, neck and bed. While going to the bathroom to try to find out what happened, he knows that he's not alone and ask "it" to show itself. What appears is without a doubt beyond anyone's imagination; a penis-worm like parasite named Aylmer!! And it talks!
Aylmer talks Brian into "pluging" him on the back of his neck because they will need each other from now on. Brian loves the hallucination that the blue liquid Aylmer pours into his brain gives him and as for Aylmer, well the poor little things loves... brains! The two go out for a walk and end up in a car dump where Aylmer finds his first new victim.
Meanwhile Brian's girlfriend and his brother are wondering what's happening since Brian has been acting kinda strange ever since he met his little friend. The more the time passes, the more he need the blue hallucinogenic fluid. Next stop, a rock club where Brian meets a volumptious girl and the two goes outside where the infamous blow job scene is about to happen, remember that scene wasn't in the theatrical print nor the previous VHS versions of the film since the MPAA took it out so this is the first time you can enjoy it (!!). The girl gets down, ready to blow Brian but ends up with Aylmer in her mouth while it drains her brain out of her mouth!
Before going home, Brian meet Aylmer's previous owners, the old guy tell him the origins of the Aylmer and want it back. Brian escapes and decides to leave his apartment to fight off his dependance of Aylmer. They go into a motel where Brian goes nuts, gets sick and weak because he needs the hallucinogenic blue fluid but doesn't want to. At one point, he hallucinate himself pulling is brain out from his ear! A scene that was also cut from our friends at the MPAA.
Brian "finally" gives in an plug Aylmer back on his neck and find a new victim. He later goes back home to catch his girlfriend and brother making love! Brian tells them that he's leaving because he might hurt them even if he doesn't want to. His stupid girlfriend follow him right into the subway, look for a cameo of the brothers from BASKET CASE, where Brian finally does the right thing and kiss her to death.
Brian goes back to his place where the old couple were waiting for him and are now trying to get back Aylmer. Aylmer's pin (which it used to give it's host the blue liquid) breaks and Brian ends up with way too much juice in his brain. The old couple get their brains sucked by Aylmer but the poor 'ol thing get the shit kick outta him and dies. Back in his apartment, Brian will meet his end.
BRAIN DAMAGE is a great low budget film (made for $600 000 US). At the time, the slasher genre was making it's last run at the box office since people were starting to get bore with it. BRAIN DAMAGE brought something new to the genre. Some look at this film as a anti-drug film while others like to point out the homosexuality theme that Henenlotter might have put in this film without even noticing it! One thing's for sure is that this little gem needs to get more exposure and thanks to Synapse's DVD it might just get it.
The transfer is pretty good for a low budget flick. There's a few small spots that appears every now and then but nothing alarming. The darker scenes looks good even though there's sometimes lots of compression signs. This is without a doubt the best version available. The film is presented at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The sound, while in mono, is pretty good. As for the extras; we get the filmography of Henenlotter (take note that if you select BASKET CASE you will see the trailer), we get the trailer and a very funny and informative commentary track with Henenlotter, Bob Marten (author of the novelisation of BRAIN DAMAGE) and the director of SHATTERED DREAMS (if i remember correctly). The box mention an isolated Music track but i didn't find it.
The menu's presentation is really nice and a huge improvement over Synapse ealier DVDs. The film is separated in 22 chapters. The disc comes in a keep case and there's a card which as the poster on one side and the chapter's stops on the other.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©