Brain Damage

Starring: Rick Hearst, Jennifer Lowry and Gordon MacDonald
Second Sight
RRP: 15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 29 October 2007

Brian is a young man who becomes alienated from his girlfriend and brother when he comes into contact with a blue slug-like parasitic creature. It injects an enzyme into Brian's brain which gives him an unbelievable high. The wisecracking parasite soon has him hooked, but there's a condition. The creature refuses to give him any more of the enzyme unless it is taken out to feed. Unfortunately, that consists of eating people's brains. And to make matters worse, the addicted and mentally-unhinged previous keeper of the parasite shows up to reclaim his prize...

This film is very much a product of its time. Its attempt to join the then league of video nasties merely results in it being cheap and nasty. When I mention nasty I'm talking about practically everything except the horror content.

Brain Damage looks like it was made in someone's garden shed, with a spray-painted glove puppet and a trio of bored teenagers. The so-called gore is achieved quite obviously using a squeegee bottle, a hose and fish pump. The psychedelic trip experienced by Brian in the junkyard reminded me of an early eighties pop video, using video effects that even Visage would have been ashamed of.

Considering Brain Damage is director Frank Henenlotter's follow-up film to Basket Case, it contains none of the elements which made Basket Case - and particularly its first sequel - work so well. The attempt at black humour falls flat, the death scenes are prolonged to such an extent that you tire of what's happening on screen pretty quickly, and the incidental music is far too loud and sounds like a cheap Woolworths organ. Avoid this one like the plague.

Ty Power

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