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The Brain (1988) - Blu-ray Review

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The Brain (1988) - Blu-ray

Canuxploitation goes for the head with director Ed Hunt’s The Brain.  Maybe not for everyone, but for those audiences out there hungry from some Cronenberg-esque madness, this is a pulpy movie that delivers the goods.  And now, thanks to Shout! Factory, the movie and its monster-sized brain are available on blu-ray, made brand-new again with a NEW 4K scan of the original negative.

"It is fun and frenzied and, thanks to the effects work (which is both cheesy and inspired), provides a nice matinee-like metaphor for a society under the influence of one drug: television"


Starring David Gale as Dr. Anthony Blakely, a cult-like television self-help guru, and Tom Bresnahan as Jim, the teen rebel who will try to stop him and his alien brain from world domination, The Brain is what happens when no one pays attention to what goes on in the shadows.  Or in this case, at the edge of town where a research facility does the good doctor’s dirty work. 

And it all has to do with hallucinations which leads to happy people . . . which leads to absolute and total world domination . . . all on a shoestring budget, mind you.  Both irreverent and gory (but never self-aware)”, The Brain is a total blast of B-grade shenanigans!  Big boobs and even bigger brains are chasing Jim through countless corridors as he works up a sweat satisfying his girl and exposing Blakely for what he truly is.

In fact, proving itself worthy of a hell of a lot of squishy good vibes, The Brain opens with a murder and a suicide as one teen imagines her entire room to be possessed.  First, the white teddy bear in the corner of her room starts to cry blood, then tentacles grab at her, and then her mother is attacked, and the walls close in and, damn, this opening doesn’t even allow us time to register all that is happening to this poor girl.  All we know is that when the dust settles, it will look like she murdered her mother and then took her own life.

But that’s not the case at all.  And, as well done as that opening is – effects and all – it is only the beginning in an otherwise crazy-ass movie that spent its glory days getting rented and re-rented on videocassette by my friends and myself. The Brain (1988) - Blu-ray

And it will be up to Jim and his girlfriend, Cynthia Preston as Janet, to put an end to the kooky nonsense happening as Blakely’s kooky TV show, Independent Thinkers, gains traction among viewers.  We’re talking mind control here and, thanks to a special “viewing” of a topless Christine Kossak, we have to wonder what’s so bad about this alien brain anyway.

Co-starring George Buza and Bret Pearson, The Brain is loads of fun to watch.  It is fun and frenzied and, thanks to the effects work (which is both cheesy and inspired), provides a nice matinee-like metaphor for a society under the influence of one drug: television.

Not even cheese can stop the “so bad it is good” aim of The Brain!

4/5 beers

The Brain (1988) - Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- April 30, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Presented in a crisp 1080p transfer, the new 4k scan of the original negative is a thing of pristine beauty.  The film is dominated with reds and greens that absolutely burst with color.  It’s a cheap film, for sure, but the simple backgrounds burst with new details and a nice level of clarity.  Black levels are solid and skin tones are natural.  This is, after all, a dark film. There are lots of night scenes; thankfully, the lines hold their edges. Shadows are defined and the film has a new depth previously unseen.  Audio wise, the DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono soundtrack is clear and the dialogue is never lost or hard to hear.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There are three NEW commentaries: one with Director Ed Hunt, one with Composer Paul Zaza, and one with Actor Tom Bresnahan.

Special Features:

A lot of people have been waiting for this release to be done right and Shout! Factory doesn’t disappoint.

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Original Negative
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Ed Hunt
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Composer Paul Zaza
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Actor Tom Bresnahan
  • NEW Canada On The Mind – An Interview With Actress Cynthia Preston
  • NEW From Monster Kid To Monster Man – An Interview With Actor George Buza
  • NEW Brain Art – An Interview With Assistant Art Director Michael Borthwick
  • NEW Food For Thought: A Love Letter To The Brain
  • Still Gallery

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3.5/5 stars

The Brain (1988) - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
94 mins
Director
: Ed Hunt
Writer:
Barry Pearson
Cast:
Tom Bresnahan, Cynthia Preston, David Gale
Genre
: Horror | Comedy
Tagline:
Mind Over Matter.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I never killed anyone. I'm just a high school student."
Theatrical Distributor:

Official Site:
Release Date:
October 23, 1987
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 30, 2019
Synopsis: Imagine a pulsating mass of gray matter, expanding in size and strength as it takes control of human minds and devours human bodies. It could never happen, right? Just watch Independent Thinking, starring Dr. Anthony Blakely (David Gale, Re-Animator), a hot new TV program. But as the show's ratings continue to soar, so does the suicide and murder rate among its viewers. What they don't know is that Dr. Blakely has teamed with an alien brain and plans to gain control of all humanity.

The Brain (1988) - Blu-ray

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