Brain Damage (film)

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Brain Damage
Limited edition DVD cover
Directed byFrank Henenlotter
Produced byAl Eicher
Andre Blay
Edgar Ievins
Written byFrank Henenlotter
StarringRick Hearst
Jennifer Lowry
Gordon MacDonald
Music byMatthias Donnelly
Clutch Reiser
Gus Russo
CinematographyBruce Torbet
Edited byFrank Henenlotter
James Y. Kwei
Distributed byPalisades Entertainment
Ventura Distribution
Release date
  • April 15, 1988 (1988-04-15)
Running time
Theatrical Cut:
84 min.
Unrated Cut:
86 min.
CountryUnited States

Brain Damage is a 1988 American comedy horror film directed by Frank Henenlotter.[1]


Brian begins an unwilling symbiotic relationship with a malevolent leech-like brain-eating parasite called "Aylmer". Aylmer secretes a highly addictive, hallucinogenic blue fluid into Brian's brain. In return for a steady supply of the fluid, Brian must seek out human victims for Aylmer, so that he can eat their brains. All the while, though, as Brian adopts a heavily secluded life in his indulgence of Aylmer's fluids, it begins to draw a rift in his relationship with his girlfriend Barbara and his brother.

The film climaxes with Brian by Morris and Martha; a middle aged couple who were Aylmer's previous hosts before he escaped and found Brian. Holding Brian at gun point, they retrieve Aylmer from his back, Aylmer fights back and kills them both. But while Aylmer is feeding Brian his next dosage, Morris, who is still alive but only half thinking, fiercely grabs Aylmer and squeezes an overdose of his juice into Brian's brain, causing him severe agony as it goes in to overload.

Aylmer dies and Morris succumbs to his injuries while Brian, still in agony from the overdose, retrieves Morris's gun and shoots himself in the head. The movie concludes with a shot of Brian, not dead from the gunshot but now with a glowing hole in his head.



The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by Palisades Entertainment Group in 1988. It was subsequently released on VHS by Paramount Home Entertainment. Synapse Films released it on DVD in 2007.[2] This special edition release features commentary by Henenlotter and reinstates all of the excised gore footage.


In an interview with Fangoria, Henenlotter said that the film was initially ignored and disliked. When it was released on home video, it acquired a cult following, and his later films were compared to it.[3]

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 69% of thirteen surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.4/10.[4] Walter Goodman of The New York Times called it a "brainless movie" with poor special effects and bad acting.[5] Leonard Klady of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "It's a veritable crazy quilt of ideas that manages to engage our attention while our heads continue to dart away from the shocking images on screen."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Staff and Friends of Scarecrow Video (2004). The Scarecrow Movie Guide. Seattle: Sasquatch Books. pp. 630&ndash, 723. ISBN 1-57061-415-6.
  2. ^ "Brain Damage (DVD)". Archived from the original on 2011-05-17. Retrieved 2011-04-18.
  3. ^ Thompson, Tristan (2013-05-31). "The Monster Movie Memories of a Brain-Damaged Basket Case: In conversation with Frank Henenlotter". Fangoria. Retrieved 2014-09-18.
  4. ^ "Brain Damage (1995)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  5. ^ Goodman, Walter (1988-04-15). "Brain Damage (1988)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-09-18.
  6. ^ Klady, Leonard (1988-05-24). "Movie Reviews : 'Brain Damage' a Bizarre Crazy Quilt of Ideas". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-09-18.

External links[edit]