The Brain marks the first time that I had to resort to VHS in order to watch one of these horror movies. At this point in time I figured every movie had made its way from VHS to DVD, but apparently that is very much not the case. I heard about this movie a few weeks back and knew immediately that it had to be a part of this. So I hit up eBay and bought the only copy available there at the time. I have to say that it was completely worth the effort.
The Brain is a weird Canadian movie from 1988 about this self-help guru on TV who is not so much trying to help people as he is using a big brain with a face to hypnotize everyone in an attempt to take over the world. Now if you are a level headed individual, there is no way that you can read that and not immediately want to stop what you’re doing and watch this movie.
The movie opens with a young girl in her room, being all normal until her teddy bear’s eyes start to bleed and then claws and tentacles start coming through her wall and television, while the whole time her bedroom continues to get smaller and smaller around her, before finally she ends up stabbing her mom with a pair of scissors, thinking that she is actually a crazy tentacle monster. It’s a pretty engaging way to start a movie, especially with no context, so I was ready to go right away.
We’re then introduced to our 30-year-old man playing a high school student protagonist, Jim. I don’t know about this guy. Besides the fact he looks older than me and I think is supposed to be about 17, when we first meet this guy he’s putting sodium in the school toilet to cause an explosion (which the end credits immediately tell us we should never do), acting like a huge egotistical prick, pressuring his girlfriend to give up her virginity, and just generally being a dick. I didn’t much care for this guy, which is why I didn’t mind too much when shit starts to get real bad for him.
You see he agrees to get help from this Dr. Blake guy because he’s being such a fuckhead. But like many self-help gurus, Dr. Blake is using a giant brain to hypnotize people and cause them to have insane hallucinations. Jim hallucinates boobs, cuz this movie needed some boobs. So Jim knows something is up because he keeps having visions of the brain face appearing in triangle video transitions, as well as tentacles bursting out of shit to attack him. There’s a pretty awesome part where we see things from the perspective of everyone else as Jim fights these tentacles, and the dude just looks out of his god damn mind since he’s fighting with nothing. He brings some people back to the lab with him to expose these shenanigans, and that’s when we find out that the giant brain also totally eats people. And that right there is a game changer.
The actual effects on the brain creature thing are surprisingly good. It doesn’t really chase people or do much aside from look like one of those Madball toys and occasionally eat a guys head off, but it’s probably the most convincing footage you’ll ever see of a big smiling brain eating a guy, and that definitely counts for something.
The Brain has a lot of cool stuff in it. The actual brain, some of the hallucination sequences, and I kind of dug this whole subplot of Blake hypnotizing people to murder each other, and then blaming it all on Jim. Unfortunately there are a lot of spots that drag. There’s a chase scene with the police about halfway through the movie that just goes on and on for at least 10 minutes. It’s not particularly exciting, and it doesn’t help that you know full well that time could be spent watching the puppet brain devour some people, so that makes this section extra wasteful.
I was kind of surprised how enjoyable I found this movie overall. I mean don’t get me wrong, I would never call it a legitimately good film by any means, but it’s unique and is far more competent than I would have ever expected. Definitely seems like the kind of thing you watch with a group of friends. Good luck finding it though. Some crazy fucker on Ebay wants 50 bucks for it, and this movie is maybe 8 dollar good at best.