Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Musty TV's Maniacal Halloween Countdown - Day 14: Brain Damage

I can't really figure out why I never saw Brain Damage back in the day. Director Frank Henenlotter's 1982 Basket Case has long been a fave, although I'm less fond of his 1990 film, Frankenhooker, so maybe that's why...

Brain Damage, released in 1988, is much closer in spirit and execution to the comedy horror of Basket Case than Frankenhooker complete with monster effects that utilize both puppetry and stop motion, which, combined with the...disgusting nature of the creature, results in something that's both stomach churning and kind of adorable.

And unlike the creature in Basket Case, the phallic alien that takes control of our hero is quite verbal, brilliantly so, and voiced by none other than horror movie host John Zacherle. His/its introduction is one of the funniest monster reveals ever.

It's part horror movie, part treatise on the dangers of drug use (I'm only kind of kidding about that), and completely wild. There's only one time where I think it goes too far, but Henenlotter's an exploitation director through and through, and it's the rare exploitation movie that doesn't include at least one moment like it. The rest is so memorable, I think I can just try and forget that one bit.

 Brain Damage is currently streaming on Shudder.

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