Review: Brain Damage


Henenlotter treats us to a second helping of his lucid imagination in 'Brain Damage', a drug influenced creature movie ,which is, quite possibly, the weirdest trip you can get without actually injecting.

Henenlotter continues his wild theme from 'Basket Case' by showing a main male character lead astray by the violent compulsions of a deformity; in this case 'Aylmer', a drug injecting phallus shaped creature.

Brian, an ordinary sort of guy, has his life turned upside down when Aylmer designates him as his next host. Previously the creature had been held captive, used in a weakened state by Brian's neighbours for his much sort after drug. After escaping he attaches himself to an unwitting Brian, promising everything; but at what cost? Well, at the cost of having to feed on brains every evening. Devoid of ethics, Aylmer insists that the relationship is symbiotic, as the host need not worry about the stress of murder as they are kept in a 'high' state by his toxin, but once the feeling has worn off the realism hits Brian who, knowing that Aylmer is more parasite, is left at the mercy of the creatures blood-lust, powerless to resist the drug he is now addicted to.

One could argue that this movie is a definite parody of the dangers of drug addiction in a naïve society, and I suppose from a determined perspective this could well be the case, however, this is Henenlotter we are talking about, and whilst I'm sure some influence came from real life, this movie is an unethical piece of art in its own right and it seems unlikely that the intent was anything remotely to do with anti-drug.

The plot in itself is enough to keep the movie going, after all Henenlotter is not exactly short of imagination and, with his movies being directly aimed at a cult audience, he manages to string together copious amounts of trippy set pieces without the need for much justification keeping the pace moving along nicely.  Despite the noticeably low budget Henenlotter's attention to detail goes a long way. The script is well written, he demands (and gets) a lot out of his no-name actors and his characters are always likeable and developed, hell even Aylmer gets a back story!

In terms of gore too you are not likely to be disappointed. Naturally the effects are pretty cheap, but he always seems to put a gross-out edge onto the kill scenes which give them a more memorable impact - look out for the party girl who literally has her brains screwed out! Throughout the movie there are plenty of scenes which show some splatter-like tendencies, which in-spite of a low body count keeps the movies gore count high.

Overall, 'Brain Damage' is a definite improvement in terms of film making over his début 'Basket Case' making it a definite one to check out. It's sick enough to hold up against most splatter movies, and just bizarre enough to still enjoy without it turning into a situation where you simply don't know what is going on!

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