Julius Orlovsky, after spending years in a New York mental hospital, emerges catatonic and must rely on his brother Peter, who lives with poet Allen Ginsberg. When Julius wanders off in the... See full summary »
After the end credits have rolled, over a freeze-frame of Private Reese, a Newsweek magazine cover picturing a monkey titled "Probing the Brain" is displayed, along with the text "In 1954, two Canadian scientists discovered that the brain contained areas of pleasure and of pain. Since then, in research institutes, hospitals, and sanitariums all over the world, electrical wires have been placed into the brains of guinea pigs, rabbits, monkeys......and humans." See more »
soldiers with facial hair? With a name like "The Mind Snatchers", I naturally assumed this was a film about space aliens abducting and scrambling the brains of folks. However, the film has absolutely nothing to do with this but is instead a slightly paranoid but thought-provoking film about psychiatric ethics.
The film begins with a VERY obnoxious and angry soldier, Pvt. Reese (Christopher Walken) bullying and mistreating everyone. He's soon arrested by the military police and incarcerated for psychiatric tests to determine what his issues are. They diagnose him with a personality disorder (no duh!) and schizophrenia--and, without his permission, they ship him off to a very strange hospital where there appear to be only three patients. One is SERIOUSLY disturbed and a total mess. Another (Ronny Cox) is a sex offender. And, the third is Reese. What is this all about? No one tells Reese and he's left to wonder. And, through the course of the film, it becomes more and more apparent that the military is planning on doing some sort of insidious mind-control experiment on them!
Despite a low budget and that the film is inexplicably set in Germany (I think this was due to funding), the movie has a very compelling script and has a lot of interesting things to say about abuses within psychiatry where, it seems, the end does justify the means. A very good and unusual film to say the least--and an interesting early Walken role. Well worth seeing, though I doubt if the average person would enjoy this. Me, with my background in psychology, I loved it and thought it brought up some very interesting concerns.
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