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Brain Dead (1990) - Blu-ray Review

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Brain Dead (1990) - Blu-ray Review

5 beers

It's time to get weird.  A cult classic of the cerebellum is upon us!

Directed by Adam Simon, executive producer of Salem, and way too smart for its limited B-movie budget, Brain Dead lives again!  It is the crazy little film in which two former wise-cracking dunderheads - Hudson from Aliens and Lone Starr from Spaceballs – match brains and business methods in a psychological battle for control over what makes a person tick.

"Everything plays out with purpose AND fun.  This one, looking very much like a film from the latter part of the 1980s, succeeds thanks to the characters on display from its two very talented leads."


Updated from a script that Charles Beaumont had written for Roger Corman in the early 1960s, this Julie Corman production gets things off to a swell start as Bill Pullman, playing top neurosurgeon Dr. Rex Martin, reveals that his collection of brains – and we are talking about a floor to ceiling arrangement – aren’t specimens at all.  That’s not how he sees them at all.  These brains, no matter their appearance, are alive still.  They are people!

Unfortunately, the specimens he so lavishly covets are all from the “Abby Normal” type.  Martin might be just as touched in the head as they were in people’s bodies. 

Enter Bill Paxton as he creates yet another great character in the smarmy business type asshole that is Jim Reston.  Reston, a former college friend of Martin’s (who already had eyes for his super sultry girlfriend), needs Martin to help him recover the memory from a murdering mathematician who took out his entire family before turning over all the research to Reston concerning the project he was working on.

This mathematician named Halsey (Bud Cort) is to be either saved or lobotomized by Martin. Did I mention that this one is darkly comical?  Because it is.  And its ode to all things twisted makes for a deliciously zany atmosphere. 

But a funny thing begins to happen during the procedure.  Martin begins seeing a man in all white and he’s covered in blood!  What?  Who is this guy?  Suddenly, over the course of a few days, Martin’s entire life is flipped upside down.  He sees himself murdering his wife after catching her sleeping with Reston and winds up in an insane asylum.  People even start calling him Halsey!  What the hell is this?! Even the delusions seem real.Brain Dead (1990) - Blu-ray Review

Mind-altering horror on a penny budget might be one of my favorite things when it comes to B-movies.  These flicks are unapologetic in their use of gore.  They are committed to the purpose of the narrative, usually gonzo in their delivery, and could five two shits about trying to keep your interest in the bizarreness that they are putting out.  You are either with them or not.  Brain Dead is no different. 

Everything plays out with purpose AND fun.  This one, looking very much like a film from the latter part of the 1980s, succeeds thanks to the characters on display from its two very talented leads.  The film co-stars George Kennedy and Nicholas Pryor and, thanks to Scream Factory, now celebrates a rebirth in HD.

Get those scalpels ready!  Brain Dead is ready for its game of Operation.

Brain Dead (1990) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
85 mins
Director
: Adam Simon
Writer:
Charles Beaumont, Adam Simon
Cast:
Bill Pullman, Bill Paxton, Bud Cort
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
You have nothing to lose... except your mind.
Memorable Movie Quote: "My brains are individuals - they're special - they're unique."
Theatrical Distributor:
Concorde Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 16, 1976
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 11, 2018
Synopsis: The Eunice Corporation is on the ground floor of an exciting growth industry, utilizing a memory re-sculpting technique pioneered by eccentric neurosurgeon Rex Martin (Bill Pullman, Independence Day, The Grudge). It envisions nationwide clinics where anyone can lose the hang-ups of an unhappy childhood, a failed romance or a botched career. At Eunice's "New You" outlets, a simple operation will give customers peace of mind. Or it might leave them brain dead. But when Martin refuses to cooperate with Eunice, he soon finds himself plunged into a surreal existence that intertwines dreams and reality. Has Martin slipped over the edge into madness? Or have corporate profit mongers given him a push, making him the guinea pig in his own experiment? To know the answer is to know true terror!

Brain Dead (1990) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- September 11, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD 5.1 lossless Master Audio
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Scream Factory’s NEW 2K scan from the original film materials is fantastic!  The images on the 1080p transfer using the AVC MPEG-4 codec are presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio of its original release and absolutely explode with a crispness long since missing from the original presentations.   The tones are natural and amped up on saturation and dark tones. The Blu-ray is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 lossless Master Audio and contains a good mix of levels for multiple channels requiring no tweaking from its audience in order for dialogue to be heard. 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • The best bit in this new release is the recently recorded audio commentary from co-writer/director Adam Simon and filmmaker Rodman Flender.

Special Features:

  • • Deleted Scenes
  • • Theatrical Trailer

Brain Dead (1990) - Blu-ray Review

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