6.6/10
8,650
59 user 111 critic

Brain Damage (1988)

One morning, a young man wakes to find that a small, disgusting creature has attached itself to the base of his brain stem. The creature gives him a euphoric state of happiness but demands human victims in return.

Director:

Frank Henenlotter
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Basket Case (1982)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young man carrying a big basket that contains his extremely deformed Siamese-twin brother seeks vengeance on the doctors who separated them against their will.

Director: Frank Henenlotter
Stars: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner
Frankenhooker (1990)
Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A medical student sets out to recreate his decapitated fiancée by building her a new body made of Manhattan street prostitutes.

Director: Frank Henenlotter
Stars: James Lorinz, Joanne Ritchie, Patty Mullen
Basket Case 2 (1990)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Duane and his basket-bound mutant brother are taken in by a secret home for wayward freaks with journalists hot on their tail.

Director: Frank Henenlotter
Stars: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Judy Grafe, Annie Ross
Basket Case 3 (1991)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Duane recovers from his delusional breakdown to find his freakish basket-bound brother Belial will soon become a father. But not everything is joyous as the once tight knit brothers no longer seem to trust each other.

Director: Frank Henenlotter
Stars: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Annie Ross, Gil Roper
Street Trash (1987)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A liquor store owner sells alcoholic beverages to homeless people, unaware of what the bottles actually contain: toxic brew.

Director: James M. Muro
Stars: Mike Lackey, Bill Chepil, Vic Noto
Bad Biology (2008)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Driven by biological excess, a man and a woman search for sexual fulfillment, unaware of each other's existence. Unfortunately, they eventually meet, and the bonding of these two very unusual human beings ends in a god awful love story.

Director: Frank Henenlotter
Stars: Charlee Danielson, Anthony Sneed, Mark Wilson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A breezy comedy set in the art world of New York that brings an insider's insight into the financial troubles that constantly beset a group of Big Apple artists struggling to survive.

Director: Frank Henenlotter
Stars: Will Cooper, Brian Faas, Drew Freed
Director: Frank Henenlotter
The Stuff (1985)
Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A delicious, mysterious goo that oozes from the earth is marketed as the newest dessert sensation, but the tasty treat rots more than teeth when zombie-like snackers who only want to consume more of the strange substance at any cost begin infesting the world.

Director: Larry Cohen
Stars: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris
Society (1989)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An ordinary teenage boy discovers his family is part of a gruesome orgy cult for the social elite.

Director: Brian Yuzna
Stars: Billy Warlock, Concetta D'Agnese, Ben Slack
From Beyond (1986)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A group of scientists have developed the Resonator, a machine which allows whoever is within range to see beyond normal perceptible reality. But when the experiment succeeds, they are immediately attacked by terrible life forms.

Director: Stuart Gordon
Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ted Sorel
TerrorVision (1986)
Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A family's new satellite TV system starts receiving signals from another planet, and soon it becomes the passageway to an alien world.

Director: Ted Nicolaou
Stars: Diane Franklin, Mary Woronov, Gerrit Graham
Edit

Cast

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

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:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brain Damage See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Palisades Partners See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

As Brian wakes up for the first time in his bed, his head covered in blood, an album poster is spotted on the wall, Slayer's "Reign In Blood". See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Brian: Elmer? You fucking named him Elmer?
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 »

Alternate Versions

Paramount video release deletes the gory nightclub fellatio and ear-pulling scenes to avoid an 'X' rating. See more »

Connections

References The Maltese Falcon (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Elmer's Tune
by Elmer Albrecht, Sammy Gallop, & Dick Jurgens
Courtesy of CBS Robbins Catalog, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Trademark Henenlotter with an anti-drug theme
5 March 2017 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

Largely ignored on its original release but subsequently gathering a loyal cult following over the years, Brain Damage will no doubt appease fans of director Frank Henenlotter's other darkly humorous and outrageously gory works Basket Case (1982) and Frankenhooker (1990). Bringing his trademark sense of humour and mixing it up with lashings of tongue-in-cheek blood-letting, Brain Damage also strives to deliver a message, and is admirable for the anti-drug theme running throughout. With America in the midst of an AIDS and crack panic at the time, Henenlotter paints a very bleak picture of a New York City in crisis, as a parasitic killer searches for unwitting victims.

Average Joe Brian (Rick Hearst) wakes up one morning feeling disorientated, finding his bed sheets soaked through with blood. He doesn't seem to be cut, but when he looks in the mirror he finds a strange parasitic creature on his person. Looking like a turd with eyes and big teeth, it also has a name, Aylmer, and speaks in a dignified foreign accent (voiced by John Zacherle). Injecting Brian through the back of the neck with a blue liquid that gives the unsuspecting goofball a drug-like sense of euphoria, Brian gets hooked on the stuff, and Aylmer exploits his addiction for food. Only Aylmer has a taste for human brains, and so Brian must spend his sober hours searching for human victims. Alienating himself from his girlfriend Barbara (Jennifer Lowry), Brian also faces the threat of the symbiote's former owners, who have been going cold turkey ever since it fled.

Cut to pieces on its original home video release but later restored, it isn't difficult to see why the ratings board demanded the removal of certain scenes. A wonderfully wince-inducing scene in which Brian pulls his own brain out of his ear for what seems like an eternity found itself on the cutting-room floor, as did the uncomfortable scene where a woman is eaten alive while appearing to be performing fellatio in an unnecessarily sexualised moment of pure exploitation that left me genuinely horrified, and not in a good way. The story and characters are engaging enough to keep the film interesting, while the obvious lack of budget means that the acting is sub-par and the special effects are often laughable, if not charming. The main strength is Brain Damage's depiction of a drug addict going to increasingly desperate measures in order to procure his fix, and Hearst is surprisingly good in the role. Fans of Henenlotter should keep their eyes peeled for the appearance of a certain man with a basket.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 59 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed