6.7/10
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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
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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
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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:

Hang onto your hats... Elmer's here! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 May 1988 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Brain Damage (La maledizione di Elmer) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a 2016 interview, Frank Hennenlotter said one of his favorite things about shooting in 35mm was that he couldn't misplace the camera as easily as he did with the 16mm camera he used on Basket Case See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Aylmer: Why are the stars always winkin' and blinkin' above? What makes a fellow start thinkin' of fallin' in love? It's not the season, the reason is plain as the moon. It's just Elmer's tune! What makes a lady, of eighty, go out on the loose? Why does a gander, meander, in search of a goose? What puts the kick in, a chicken, the magic in june? It's just Elmer's tune! Listen, listen, there's a lot you're liable to be missin' Sing it, swing it, any old place, and any old time. The hurdy-gurdies, the ...
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 unrated director's cut has been released on DVD. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 31 Horror Movies in 31 Days: Brain Damage (1988) (2017) 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 »

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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