Directed by Ed Hunt [Other horror films: Point of No Return (1976), Bloody Birthday (1981), Halloween Hell (2014)]
I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this film all that much (despite the fact that it’s long sat in a ‘want-to-see’ list of mine), but while I didn’t absolutely love it, The Brain was still a decently fun and enjoyable film, and not nearly as goofy as one might think.
It’s hard to say exactly why the film works better than expected. The story itself is somewhat interesting, true, and most of the main performances are competent, but even so, it lacks that flair that’d truly make it amazing. The fact that the film takes itself more seriously probably goes a long way to explain why I personally enjoyed it more than I initially thought I would, so there’s that.
Tom Bresnahan does well as the sympathetic main character, and Cynthia Preston, playing his girlfriend, does pretty good also. Preston, on a side-note, later appeared in Prom Night III: The Last Kiss, which I’ve yet to see, but thought it was worth mentioning. Otherwise, she’s not done that much for the genre. David Gale, however, well-known for his role in Re-Animator and Bride of Re-Animator, has both done a bit more for the horror genre, and more so, does pretty memorably in The Brain (though toward the end, his plot sort of runs thin). As a threatening presence, George Buza puts up a good performance.
There were a few issues I had toward the conclusion of the film regarding main character Jim’s actions, such as approaching his mother (in hopes, I guess, that she hadn’t been brainwashed somehow), something like ten minutes after criticizing another character for wanting to do the same thing. I was sort of expecting a Halloween III: Season of the Witch twist with Preston’s character, but one was never even hinted at, which felt off. Lastly, I got a slight sense that things were a bit anticlimactic, and while I sort of liked the final scene, it definitely threw me off-guard.
Where The Brain really shines is in their psychedelic hallucination sequences. The one that opens the movie is fantastic, and there are a few throughout the film that really show promise. In a way, it felt like watching some of the more trippy dreams from A Nightmare on Elm Street. It gives a very ‘what the hell am I watching’ feel to the film.
Overall, I don’t think The Brain is amazing, but I do think it’s a pretty fun slice of wild, 80’s horror, and probably worth at least one look-see, because I think that this would make quite a few fans of the genre reasonably happy.
This was covered on Fight Evil’s podcast, so if interested, listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this below.