Brain Damage (film)
Limited edition DVD cover
|Directed by||Frank Henenlotter|
|Produced by||Edgar Ievins|
|Screenplay by||Frank Henenlotter|
|Music by||Matthias Donnelly|
|Edited by||Frank Henenlotter|
James Y. Kwei
The Brain Damage Company
|Distributed by||Palisades Entertainment|
Brian begins an unwilling symbiotic relationship with a malevolent leech-like brain-eating parasite called "Elmer". Elmer 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 Elmer, so that he can eat their brains. All the while, though, as Brian adopts a heavily secluded life in his indulgence of Elmer'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 Elmer's previous hosts before he escaped and found Brian. Holding Brian at gun point, they retrieve Elmer from his back, Elmer fights back and kills them both. But while Elmer is feeding Brian his next dosage, Morris, who is still alive but only half thinking, fiercely grabs Elmer and squeezes an overdose of his juice into Brian's brain, causing him severe agony as it goes in to overload.
Elmer 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.
- Rick Hearst as Brian
- John Zacherle as voice of Elmer
- Jennifer Lowry as Barbara
- Theo Barnes as Morris
- Lucille Saint Peter as Martha
- Kevin Van Hentenryck as Man with basket
Brain Damage was distributed theatrically in the United States by Palisades Entertainment and premiered in New York on 15 Apr 1988 and later released in Los Angeles on 20 May 1988. Synapse Films released it on DVD in 2007.
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.
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. Walter Goodman of The New York Times called it a "brainless movie" with poor special effects and bad acting. 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."
- "Brain Damage". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- The Staff and Friends of Scarecrow Video (2004). The Scarecrow Movie Guide. Seattle: Sasquatch Books. pp. 630–723. ISBN 1-57061-415-6.
- "Brain Damage (DVD)". synapse-films.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-17. Retrieved 2011-04-18.
- Thompson, Tristan (2013-05-31). "The Monster Movie Memories of a Brain-Damaged Basket Case: In conversation with Frank Henenlotter". Fangoria. Archived from the original on 2015-01-24. Retrieved 2014-09-18.
- "Brain Damage (1995)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
- Goodman, Walter (1988-04-15). "Brain Damage (1988)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-09-18.
- Klady, Leonard (1988-05-24). "Movie Reviews : 'Brain Damage' a Bizarre Crazy Quilt of Ideas". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-09-18.