71 user 116 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.


Frank Henenlotter




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


A young man has to live with a leech-like brain-eating parasite who secretes a highly addictive blue fluid into man's brain routinely and in return, the man must seek out human victims for the parasite so that the parasite can eat human brains. Written by Fella_shibby@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The movie that will blow your mind! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Horror


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Star Rick Hearst was a method actor; he would actually sleep on set in Brian's bedroom to develop a connection to the character's place. See more »


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


Aylmer: [Discussing the blood found in Brian's underwear] It came from that girl at the club.
Brian: What girl?
Aylmer: The girl whose brains I ate.
Brian: What?
Aylmer: The blood came from the girl whose brains I sucked out.
Brian: You sucked out her brains?
Aylmer: Yeah. Right through her mouth.
Brian: Is she dead?
Aylmer: Of course she's dead. What, are you kidding?
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

The original UK cinema version was cut by 18 secs and the 1988 Palace video had the same 22 secs of pre-cuts to edit the infamous scene where Aylmer burrows his way through a prostitute's mouth during a fellatio act. The cuts were fully waived for the 2007 DVD. See more »


Featured in Animating Elmer (2017) See more »


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

"It's A Headache From Hell! "
25 September 2001 | by Backlash007See all my reviews

Brain Damage is the greatest anti-drug horror/comedy. Well, probably the only one. This is Frank Henenlotter's crowning achievement. If you like his Basketcase trilogy, who cares? This is way better than those movies. This movie actually has a message: Don't trust little phallic-like aliens named Aylmer. Just kidding. The anti-drug theme is played heavily throughout the movie. If you're a genre buff or if your sense of humor is as perverted as mine, then do not miss this film. It should be a considered a classic low budget horror movie but it seems that it's rather unheard of. And that is a sad thing. Frank Henenlotter...where are you?

Note for genre buffs: Look out for the man with the wicker basket on the subway. That's Kevin Van Hentenryck from the Basket Case films.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

22 April 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brain Damage See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA


Box Office


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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Palisades Partners See more »
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Technical Specs


| (uncut)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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