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Brainscan (1993) - Blu-ray Review

3 beers

ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a limit to the computer’s influence over our lives.  We were suspicious and still lived in a somewhat unconnected world.  That's right, we actually went OUTSIDE. 

We were a wee bit more suspicious of Artificial Intelligence back then and our entertainment reflected that in a questioning manner.  But which way would we go?  The question has been answered as we now know that there is no life (and no job) without THE COMPUTER.  Dun Dun Dunnnnn.

My proof of this one-time concern is the sheer amount of Lawnmower Man-type of flicks that came out in the 1990s.  These films were all comprised of FUTURE SHOCK material.  They were far out there – even Hackers had its exaggerations – but the writing was on the wall: the future involved a life WITHIN the computer.  These films weren’t big hits, yet they kept on rolling out of Hollywood.  Somewhere in our national psyche, we were aware that something was happening.  And computers would be a BIG part of what was to come.

"Welcome back to 1993’s TWIST on reality that is Brainscan. It's a bit suffocating here."


Brainscan, a DUD upon its original release among critics and movie-goers, is one of those films.  It gets a BRAND NEW LIFE on blu-ray thanks to Scream Factory and, due to a seriously DEMENTED performance from T. Ryder Smith as the madman who guides players through the world of VR murders, the film is not easily shaken off.  It's waning grunge-influenced soundtrack can be, though.  It's kind of desperate.  We NEED more of the awesome theme song by George S. Clinton and less crunchy plaid-sounding guitars.

Michael Bower (T2’s barely acting Edward Furlong) has a bit of a problem on his hands.  There is a severed foot in his fridge.  WHAT?!  Thanks to a horror-themed video game, this borderline shut-in finds himself as a suspect for a murder in his neighborhood.  So much for his chances with the HOTTIE next door.  As the body count keeps piling up, the video game’s avatar becomes more maniacal and extreme, leading poor Michael to do some damn dastardly things as the guide, known as The Trickster (T. Ryder Smith), becomes a REAL manifestation.

Welcome back to 1993’s TWIST on reality that is Brainscan.  It's a bit suffocating here. {googleads}

Co-starring a very mature Amy Hargreaves and the ever reliable Frank Langella as the cop assigned to find the killer in the film, this SCIENCE FICTION HORROR SHOW is partly to blame for why I have no use for souvenirs.  It is the initial souvenir after all (the damn foot) which sets Michael up for The Trickster’s big push to do more harm.  HIDE THE EVIDENCE!  Even if Michael believes what he is doing, at first, to be just a VR game, the consequence is severe. 

The reality involving murdering people is just one sickening THUD away from being the real thing.  But is it all virtual reality?  That’s the question we must ask ourselves. 

Directed by ROLLING THUNDER’s John Flnn and written by Andrew Kevin Walker and Brian Owens, the simple truth about this horror film is that it all revolves around The Trickster and voyeurism.  It works for those reasons only. 

Due to Michael’s sucky life (as a motherless child and a victim of an absentee father), he pretty much lives in his room.  He is a shut-in by choice but loves his horror movies.  Maybe it is a lasting interest in death from the car accident he was in with his mother.  Who knows?  All we know is that these blood-filled films – and spying on his cute neighbor (Hargreaves) – are his life.  He has one good friend and it is this friend that tells him about a brand new game he should play.

And so Michael gets himself a copy of Brainscan.  After a decent night of spying on the neighbor, it seems like the next best thing to do.  Big mistake.

Brainscan (1993) - Blu-ray Review

Soon enough, he is witness to a very realistic murder in the neighborhood.  He is the one, in the game, committing the murder and, as a memento, he saws off a souvenir of the momentous occasion.  It’s not everyday he gets away with murder.  But, the next day, a news report convinces him that the murder did take place.  Oh snap.  Soon enough, he’s considered public enemy number one.  Where can he go for help?  Who will believe him when all the evidence points to him?

It’s harder to unplug from the computer than one would guess sometimes.  Brainscan, with a brand new 2K scan of the original film elements, is proof enough of our burgeoning addiction to technology.  Nowadays, we don’t dare walk away.  We might miss something.

The Horror Club lives on!


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Brainscan (1993) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
96 mins
: John Flynn
Andrew Kevin Walker
Edward Furlong, Frank Langella, T. Ryder Smith
: Horror |Comedy
Game Over... You Lose!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Oh, lord! Don't you see? Violence is not senseless entertainment!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Triumph Releasing Corporation
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 22, 1994
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 28, 2018
Synopsis: When Michael, a lonely teenager (Edward Furlong, Terminator 2: Judgment Day), orders the latest interactive video game, the new high-tech wizardry penetrates his subconscious, where his darkest impulses lead him through a deadly maze of murder, deception and desire. Pursued by homicide detective (Frank Langella, Dracula) and prodded by "The Trickster" (T. Ryder Smith) who materializes into his room, Michael is torn between the worlds of good and evil, of reality and fantasy and, ultimately, life and death..


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Brainscan (1993) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- August 28, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
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 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.  Since this is primarily set at night, the dark tones are important and with this release they are dark and natural; effective in creating a sense of disturbing moodiness.  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. 



  • Fans get a brand new commentary from the assistant to the director Tara Georges Flynn.

Special Features:

This feels like an anniversary release.  The amount of information contained in these new supplemental items is overwhelming.  Lots of things to dive in and enjoy are included here as these filmmakers get their opportunity to explain the artistry behind the horror film.

• NEW A Virtual Debut – An Interview With Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker

• NEW Talking With Trickster – An Interview With Actor T. Ryder Smith

• NEW Merging Realities Featuring Interviews With Special Make-up Effects Supervisor Steve Johnson And Special Make-up Effects Artists Andy Schoneberg And Mike Smithson

• NEW Musical Virtuosity – An Interview With Composer George S. Clinton

• Trickin’ With Trickster: Vintage Behind-The-Scenes Fun On Brainscan

• Deleted Scene

• Behind-The-Scenes Footage

• Teaser & Theatrical Trailer

• TV Spot

• Still Galleries


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Brainscan (1993) - Blu-ray Review