Brain Damage (1988) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)

Brain Damage (1988) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Frank Henenlotter
Starring: Rick Hearst, Jennifer Lowry, Theo Barnes
Rated: UR/Region A/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available From Arrow Video

IT’S A HEADACHE FROM HELL! From Frank Henenlotter, the man behind such cult horror favorites as Basket Case and Frankenhooker, comes Brain Damage – the ultimate head-trip, now finally on Blu-ray! Meet Elmer. He’s your local, friendly parasite with the ability to induce euphoric hallucinations in his hosts. But these LSD-like trips come with a hefty price tag. When young Brian comes under Elmer’s addictive spell, it’s not long before he finds himself scouring the city streets in search of his parasite’s preferred food source – brains! Featuring late TV horror host John Zacherley as the voice of Elmer, Brain Damage boasts some of the most astonishing bad taste gore-gags ever realized, including the notorious “brain-pulling sequence” and a blowjob that ends with a distinctly unconventional climax.

Frank Henenlotter has made some very strange stuff. As with everyone, my first dive into his work was the cult classic Basket Case, a movie I still really enjoy a lot. And I’m happy to say if you’ve never seen Brain Damage before it’s more or less what you figure it would be, a Frank Henenlotter movie. Just by saying that many folks will know just what I mean. And for those of you who don’t I suggest you check one out, they are a rather big trip! Now, let’s get into the plot of this one. So there’s this parasite of a thing called Aylmer that goes around attaching its self to people and feeding off brains for many many years before it finally ends up in New York. A fitting place for it, if I do say so myself. So when the movie starts Aylmer (like a cross between a turd and a dick) moves on from its old owners who fed it animal brains to Brian who he juices up with narcotic substance in exchange for his unwilling assistance in obtaining the brains of innocent victims. This not only becomes a problem for Brian, it becomes a problem for Brian’s girlfriend and brother as well! I’ll be honest with all of you, I love this movie and if you’ve never seen it I’m sure you’ll love it as well.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice playing Brian is none other than Rick Hearst! A man not many of you might know is actually a pretty famous soap star nowadays. I had always wondered how he felt about the role and I’m happy that we now know thanks to the cool making of feature on the disc. I do wonder what this movie is REALLY all about? Is it about sex? Homosexuality? Both perhaps? I don’t know for sure, but the movie sure packs enough to make a good argument on both accounts. Or perhaps it’s something different. Aylmer is almost a God-like creature. Insuring Brian that nobody loves him more than him and how he will show Brian the lights and all that stuff. It’s for sure a movie one could talk about for hours. Thankfully, we now have this one in our hands on an awesome looking Blu-ray from Arrow Video. I remember back in the day when I saw the Synapse DVD of this that I felt it would look awesome in HD and trust me when I tell you that it really does. There seems to be some confusion from people online if this is the unrated version that was on that Synapse disc or not and I can tell you that a scene involving a girl at a club in a back alley proves that this the unrated cut of the film all in all. It’s gory, humorous, and disturbing all at the very same time. But it’s not something just anyone will want to see. And I can imagine some less cool folks even being offended by it in a lot of ways. But that makes it a lot of fun overall regardless.

Extras

– 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
– 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

Quality of Transfer: 100%

 

 

 

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