Brain Damage was originally released in 1988 and is written and directed by the supremely bonkers Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Frankenhooker). It is, quite magnificently, one of his weirder offerings and it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted.
“Just put me on the back of your neck and everything will be fine.”
Brian (Rick Hearst – The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital) is a perfectly normal young man, sharing an apartment with his brother Mike (Gordon MacDonald – The Thin Red Line, The Brave One) and looking forward to moving in with his girlfriend Barbara (Jennifer Lowry).
Unfortunately for Brian, his neighbours, Morris (Theo Barnes – Big Thumbs) and Martha (Lucille Saint-Peter) have a secret. They have been harbouring an entity known as Aylmer (John Zacherley – Niagaravation), a nasty little brain parasite who has decided he wants a change of scenery.
He makes a hole in the back of Brian’s neck, through which he can inject a highly addictive blue juice, which causes hallucinations and euphoria, much like taking drugs. In return for this, Aylmer expects to be fed human brains, a procedure which happily Brian is unable to remember afterwards, although the cost may turn out to be too high.
There is no doubt that Brain Damage is one of the craziest of a pretty strange bunch of eighties horror films. There is a mind boggling amount of gore and although for the most part the acting is rubbish it doesn’t really detract from the enjoyment. Although it is a comedy, it also makes some pretty strong statements about drug use and the tripping scenes are very well done, as are the depictions of the consequences.
There are plenty of scenes which are in extremely bad taste (most notably the blow job sequence) and Aylmer himself is hilarious, a horror bad guy for the ages!
Packed with special features, this release is a must own for the committed horror collector.
“This is the start of your new life Brian. A life without worry or pain or loneliness. A life filled instead with colours and music and euphoria.”
Brain Damage is available to buy now on Limited Edition Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original Mono and 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround Audio Options
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Isolated Score
- Brand new audio commentary by writer-director Frank Henenlotter
- Listen to the Light: The Making of Brain Damage – brand new documentary featuring interviews with actor Rick Herbst, producer Edgar Ievins, editor James Kwei, first assistant director Gregory Lamberson, visual effects supervisor Al Magliochetti and makeup artist Dan Frye
- The Effects of Brain Damage – FX artist and creator of “Elmer” Gabe Bartalos looks back at his iconic effects work on the film
- Animating Elmer – featurette looking at the contributions of visual effects supervisor Al Magliochetti
- Karen Ogle: A Look Back – stills photographer, script supervisor and assistant editor Karen Ogle recalls her fond memories of working on Brain Damage
- Elmer’s Turf: The NYC Locations of Brain Damage – featurette revisiting the film’s original shooting locations
- Tasty Memories: A Brain Damage Obsession – an interview with superfan Adam Skinner
- Brain Damage Q&A with Frank Henenlotter recorded at the 2016 Offscreen Film Festival
- Image Galleries
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Bygone Behemoth – animated short by Harry Chaskin, featuring a brief appearance by John Zacherle in his final onscreen credit
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
- Limited Edition O-card with exclusive artwork
- Collector’s Booklet with new writing on the film by Michael Gingold, illustrated with original archive stills and posters