Film Review: BRAIN DAMAGE (1988)

Film Review: BRAIN DAMAGE (1988)

Apr 7, 2017

IMDb: Brain Damage (1988)
Director: Frank Henenlotter
Stars: Rick Hearst, Gordon MacDonald, Jennifer Lowry

Frank Henenlotter is an underground and cult horror icon. His movies have always managed to blend horror and comedy to perfection. Don’t get me wrong, some are more horrific and some more comedic than others. The Basket Case films, for instance, in my eyes almost got more comedic as they progressed. The films that he was making in between his master trilogy, tended to work best at blending the two. While Frankenhooker is my favorite of his films, especially in regard to horror and comedy, Brain Damage may be my favorite in regard to being his most comedic.

This movie is getting a limited edition release from Arrow Video. I have the older and more affordable Synapse release. It is not the easiest copy to find, but may be more appropriate for the collector on a budget. I’m just being financially responsible for like one second though. Of course the Arrow set is going to be awesome. Of course, Blu-ray is the way of the future…er present? So lots of people probably want the upgraded version. Don’t lie to yourself though. If you don’t know the director’s work or lack experience in eighties cheesy splatter, find a cheaper version first.

I’m that guy that is willing to spend a lot for upgrades if they are in the series or genre that I feel needs to be on Blu. Hellraiser, Nightmare on Elm Street, and many of the more visual horror/sci-fi films out there need the higher definition. Some films only convince me when they are coming at me in ridiculously grainy VHS.

So when it comes to the grungy underground films of the old school, I don’t need to upgrade all of them. I don’t think I need to spend BD money on anything Henonlotter has done because his movies look better and feel more effective with that old school aesthetic.

So yes, when I get a movie about a guy with a sadistic creature attached to his brain stem that insists on taking them down a murderous rampage, I want to see it on DVD. I don’t want the amazing practical gore effects, that are also lovably cheesy, becoming weak and fake looking with a higher resolution.


I don’t want my sexual insanity, retro lighting, and sweet eighties music being clarified by this new age technology. I want to watch this movie and feel like I did when I was younger, watching movies ┬áthat I wasn’t supposed to be watching on the old school tube TV in the middle of the night.