HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
First Love
Countess from Hong Kong, A
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
   
 
Newest Articles
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
   
 
  Brain Dead Lost In Thought
Year: 1990
Director: Adam Simon
Stars: Bill Pullman, Bill Paxton, Bud Cort, Nicholas Pryor, Patricia Charbonneau, George Kennedy, Brian Brophy, David Sinaiko, Lee Arenberg, Andy Wood, Maude Winchester
Genre: Science Fiction, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Dr Rex Martin (Bill Pullman) is a scientist specialising in the human brain, and at his office he has a large collection of specimens which are all labelled according to whatever was wrong with them. Actually, his collection has just been reduced by one when his assistant drops a jar, but he feels he can salvage some of the remains for more experiments. And experiments are on the mind of his old schoolfriend Jim Reston (Bill Paxton), now a executive at a research institute, who has a proposition for him: visit an ex-worker of theirs, the pioneering but now hopelessly paranoid Dr Halsey (Bud Cort)...

If you get confused over which is which out of Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton, then Brain Dead isn't really the film to see as it's deliberately befuddling from the first scene. It had an odd history, being taken from a script by one of Roger Corman's top writers and indeed one of the leaders in the field of fantasy writing, Charles Beaumont, a fine talent who had died tragically young from premature Alzheimer's back in 1967. Corman had held on to this script all these years and the project was eventually realised in 1990.

It was a noticeably low budget affair, and much of its disorienting effect lay with the swift cutting to different locations just when you think you have the plot pinned down. If anything, it resembles a Philip K. Dick story brought to the screen, especially in its use of paranoia as the main thrust of the action and adorned with science fiction trappings such as brain surgery of a kind we are unused to, and likely never to reach, unless you really can open up someone's head and place electrodes inside which can land them in a situation from their memories.

But is Dr Martin in Dr Halsey's memories? This is what we must ask if we are to make any sense of it, yet so playful is the script that it is reluctant to commit itself to any one reality. In truth, even at under an hour and a half it can become exhausting to keep up with a narrative which never settles down, but Pullman manages to bring off a character who is deeply exasperated, yet desperate to find his bearings. It all stems from his visit to Halsey in the sanatarium he is incarcerated in, and while he's patently mad, this insanity infects the whole film the longer Martin tries to cure it, or at least draw vital knowledge from it.

Of course, after a while the most vital knowledge for Martin is the true facts of his own identity, as after a hit and run outside the research corporation everything goes haywire for him, and he gets people reacting to him as if he were Halsey, even ending up in the sanatarium and tormented by a doctor (Nicholas Pryor) he has previously seen as hallucinations of a man in a bloodstained white suit. But is it Halsey who is the real villain? Or maybe Reston, who Martin suspects is having an affair with his wife (Patricia Charbonneau)? There are so many reveals and steps back to see a bigger picture, or a differing point of view anyway, that it's tempting to give up and allow the film to turn into a total, mindbending enigma - it ends with a shot that takes the "it was all a dream" cliché and reduces it to its basics. Music by Peter Rotter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2517 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: