Brain Damage


Year 1988

Rick Herbst as   Brian
Gordon MacDonald   as Mike
Jennifer Lowry   as Barbara
Vicki Darnell as Blonde
John Zacherle as Aylmer (voice)  
 
Director - Frank Henenlotter  
Screenwriter - Frank Henenlotter

I toyed with where to put this one. Should Brain Damage be Under a Rock or just Torn and Frayed? As you can see, it's Under a Rock.

"Why?" you may ask. It's a cult movie with a pretty strong following. Doesn't it deserve better? Answer - nope.

A strange life form secrets a special, very addictive drug. For the recipient, it creates a strong feeling of euphoria and a very pleasant hallucinogenic experience. (You can "hear colors".)

The bad news is that the drug is administered directly on the brain via a little hole in the back of a person's neck. Also, the life form, named Aylmer, feeds on brains. Why? I dunno. Do they have to be human? Nope, but that's what Aylmer prefers.

So Brian (Herbst) is selected by Aylmer to be his caretaker and in return Aylmer will keep Brian drugged and worry free. The movie is about Brian experiencing his first high, seeing the effects of Aylmer's attitude towards human life, trying to beat the addiction, and having everything come to a head. (Brains? Head? Nevermind.)

There are some good things about the movie. Aylmer is thick, wormlike creature and the stop motion for him is quite good. There is something called, Aylmer's song, and it's a little clever and humorous. There's a great scene where Aylmer gets a little head (brains, actually) from a blonde (Darnell).

Brian catches his girlfriend Barbars (Lowry) in bed with his brother Mike (MacDonald) and she says, "It's not what it looks like." Of course it's what it looks like, Barbara! But I had to chuckle. The blonde grabs Brian's crotch and comments about his "monster". Also funny. And then there's the scene with the guy and a basket on the subway. Since the writer/director is also responsible for Basket Case, this was noteworthy. Not funny, but noteworthy. But the laughs aren't that big and there aren't enough of those scenes for this to be considered a comedy.

So, the movie is just kind of boring and except for Aylmer not even original. Even the effects of Aylmer's drug are fairly dull.

Herbst and Darnell are the two best actors in the movie by a long shot and they aren't even that good. John Zacherle is great as the voice of Aylmer. Anytime Aylmer's not talking, the movie loses ground.

If you liked Basket Case you might like this. I wasn't a fan of Basket Case. However, I did like Frankenhooker and I was hoping that Brain Damage would be as quirky, funny, and entertaining. It's not.

There's nudity, profanity, and blasphemy. There's not a lot of chick flick potential here. There's gore and blood but not much suspense or drama.


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