6.7/10
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Brain Damage (1988)

Unrated | | Comedy, Horror | 25 May 1988 (France)
One morning a young man wakes to find a small, disgusting creature has attached itself to the base of his brain stem. The creature gives him a euphoric state of happiness but in return demands human victims.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Brian (as Rick Herbst)
Gordon MacDonald ...
Mike
Jennifer Lowry ...
Barbara
Theo Barnes ...
Morris
Lucille Saint-Peter ...
Martha
Vicki Darnell ...
Blonde in Hell
Joseph Gonzalez ...
Guy in shower
Bradlee Rhodes ...
Night watchman
Michael Bishop ...
Toilet victim
Beverly Bonner ...
Neighbor
Ari M. Roussimoff ...
Biker
Kevin Van Hentenryck ...
Michael Rubenstein ...
Bum in alley
Angel Figueroa ...
Junkie
John Reichert ...
Policeman
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Storyline

A normal, average guy who lives in New York City becomes dependent on an evil, disembodied brain. The brain feeds the guy a narcotic substance in exchange for his unwilling assistance in obtaining the brains of innocent victims for sustenance. This turns into a tour of circa-1980s underground NYC clubs, backlots, and other seedy locations. One scene features the band Swimming Pool Cues playing the song "Corruption." Written by Mark Logan <marklo@west.sun.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Heads up... Elmer's here! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 May 1988 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Brain Damage (La maledizione di Elmer)  »

Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the subway, Brian sees a man carrying a big basket with a lock on it. The character is from Frank Henenlotter's previous film, Basket Case (1982). See more »

Goofs

When Brian wakes up bloody, the blood on his left hand disappears and reappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

Aylmer: You're a wreck, Brian. You've got to relax. Why don't you put me on your neck and 'calm down?'
Brian: No way! It's not gonna happen again!
Aylmer: What isn't?
Brian: Killing people!
Aylmer: Oh.
[laughs]
Aylmer: I thought you meant getting high!
Brian: We can't keep killing people every time you're hungry!
Aylmer: Oh yes we can. We'll do anything I want us to do. You're mine now, Brian. I *own* you...
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the end titles, listed under "Historical Research" is BABE WOZENTHAL. According Frank Henenlotter on the DVD's commentary, this was a joke about Jerry Lewis in "The Errand Boy." See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Basket Case Study (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Corruption
by J. Calder, A. Boston, J.E. Garnett, B. Elsey, & B. Burton
Performed by The Swimming Pool Q's
Courtesy of Irving Music, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Juice me up! Henenlotter's most entertaining work
19 February 2003 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Frank Henenlotter's 'Brain Damage' (1987) is easily the director's best film, esp. when considering the solid performances, technical proficiency and fascinating storyline. Aylmer, a rather large, penis-shaped parasite, gives unsuspecting Brian brain damage by getting him hooked on an hallucinogenic, blue fluid that Aylmer himself produces. Oh, the colors! But the thousand-year-old worm-like parasite demands something in return for the buzz - human brains! Aylmer and his actions seem to be a metaphor for drug use and addiction and convey very graphically how substances foreign to our bodies can alter our own thoughts and actions.

Henenlotter adds context and meaning to the proceedings by creating a history for Aylmer. The parasite was sold and stolen over the centuries, until it finally ended up in the possession of Brian's neighbors. But the neighbors deprived Aylmer of his needs in order to keep him weak, and that's where the story begins. Henenlotter's films are never without heavy doses of sick humor, and the perverse highlight here is a sequence depicting a disco-whore getting her brains screwed out - literally - through her mouth. If that's not enough, the special effects in the restaurant scene, complete with spaghetti and brainballs, are particularly polished and satisfying. Ultimately, the director outplays his hand and is left with nowhere to go. Despite this weak ending, 'Brain Damage' is an odd, effective story and film, a major step up from the director's debut, 'Basket Case', but every bit as twisted. >


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