REVIEWED
6/26/03

STORY



LOOK

Brain Dead
Director: Adam Simon
Year: 1989
TRT: 1:25


A slightly above average horror flick that becomes suitably more disoriented as it goes along. I dunno about casting Bill Pullman (as an actor in general, but more specifically in this film), but it builds up alright.

Dr. Rex Martin (Bill Pullman) is a leader in the field of neurology, and is commissioned to do some work from an old friend (Bill Paxton), who operates R&D in the corporate realm. Martin has been developing a new way of altering the bad processes of the brain (like paranoia), in order to create a normally functioning human. The corporate implications are endless if marketed correctly. But Dr. Martin finds himself becoming inextricably linked to his most recent patient Halsey.

It's hard to not think this as a Cronenberg flick that's a little more mainstream (and of poorer quality). It starts off as pretty cheezy 80s fare that gets more interesting as it goes along. It's a decent portrayal of paranoia and identity crisis that leaves the viewer as discombobulated as the main character. While there is a little gore, it's best when in the surreal surroundings of the mental institution, and exploring the whole mind-fuck aspect as it progresses.

Lovecraftian Geek Note: Dr. Martin got his MD and PhD from Miskatonic University.

Great Scenes: Martin's repeat visits by Halsey (Bud Cort) throughout, particularly towards the end.

DVD Notes: Basic DVD put out by New Concorde under the "Roger Corman Presents" banner. It includes the full-screen version of the film, bios of the major actors (as well as Corman), and trailer for it as well as Velocity and Rabid (surprise, surprise, Cronenberg's second flick).