30 user 13 critic

Brain Dead (1990)

In a showdown of man versus machine, Martin plunges into a chaotic nightmare trying to save his mind from the megalomaniacal corporation.


Adam Simon


Charles Beaumont (screenplay), Adam Simon (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Pullman ... Rex Martin
Bill Paxton ... Jim Reston
Bud Cort ... Jack Halsey
Nicholas Pryor ... Man in Bloody White Suit / Ramsen / Ed Conklin
Patricia Charbonneau ... Dana Martin
George Kennedy ... Vance
Brian Brophy Brian Brophy ... Ellis
David Sinaiko David Sinaiko ... Berkovitch
Lee Arenberg ... Sacks
Andy Wood Andy Wood ... Brain Surgeon
Maud Winchester Maud Winchester ... Crazy Anna
Lisa Moncure Lisa Moncure ... Board Member
Jon Kellam ... Board Member
Willie Garson ... Board Member
John Paxton ... Board Member


Dr. Rex Martin is a leading neurosurgeon specializing in the cerebral misfunctions that cause mental illnesses, whose expertise is called up by an old school chum, Jim Reston, who is now part of the mega-corporation Eunice. Reston needs Dr. Martin's help in extracting crucial data from the mind of John Halsey, once a top mathematician at Eunice, now a paranoid at the local asylum. Can Dr. Martin help both Halsey and his friend, or is he getting caught up in a corporate nightmare from which he may never escape? Written by EllenRipley112

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


From the writer of the original "Twilight Zone" comes the most terrifying film of the decade. See more »


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 January 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Paranoia See more »


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Chace Surround



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


H.P. Lovecraft created a fictional medical doctor character named "Dr. Halsey". Late in the movie, Halsey (Bud Cort) turned out to be a medical doctor. See more »


The computer in the brain lab changes from IBM compatible type (when switched off) to Commodore Amiga (when graphics is displayed). See more »


Dr. Rex Martin: By the perception of illusion we experience reality.
See more »


References Re-Animator (1985) See more »


Brain Dance
Music and Lyrics by Andrew Todd Rosenthal (as Andrew Todd) and Patrick Shipstad
Drum programming by David Roberti
Performed by Martini Ranch
See more »

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User Reviews

By the Perception of the Illusion we experience Reality
9 January 2006 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

(There are Spoilers) You begin to realize some 15 to 20 minutes into the movie "Brain Dead" that the film must have been badly edited and put together out of sequence. Things happen in the movie that give you the impression that they should have happened before rather then after the event your watching at the time.

For example when Dr. Martin, Paul Pullman, meets Vance, George Kennedy, the CEO of the Eunice Corp.it's obvious that Vance has never met Martin before but just some 10 minutes earlier in the film we see both Vance and Dr. Martin together at a board meeting at the Eunice Building. Scenes like the out of place Vance and Dr. Martin meeting are repeated all throughout the film giving it a dream-like quality but without a cohesive plot confusing the audience. like Dr. Martin who ends up like the title of the movie says "Brain Dead", if not all together deceased, if what's happening on the screen is real and not a dream or nightmare on Dr. Martin's part.

Being a top brain surgeon who loves his job, and his hundreds of jars of former patient's brains, Dr. Martin is called on by his friend Eunice executive Jim Reston, Bill Paxton, to go to the Lakeside Mental Facility. Martin's to talk to a former Eunice Corp. book-keeper as well as scientist Dr. Halsey, Bud Curt. Martin's meeting with Dr. Halsey is to get a secret formula, or numbers, that's vital to Eunice's future plans and operations. As Dr. Martin works on Dr. Halsey, getting friendly with him,to get the secret numbers hidden deep in his mind things start to go haywire for Dr. Martin with his laboratory. All the brains in Matian's lab were confiscated because the government cut his grants to operate it. Dr. Martin himself not only on the verge of losing his own mind by ending up as part of a dream that originates straight out of Dr. Halsey's sub-conscious.

The movie "Brain Dead" starts to get even weirder with suggestions that Dr. Martin isn't even real but a figment, or alter-ego, of Dr. Halsey's imagination. We begin to see Dr. Martin being totally ignored, as if he were invisible, by everyone he comes in contact with even his wife Dana, Patrica Charbonneau. Dana's having an affair with Marta in's best friend Reston as he just stands there unable to do or say anything. There's also a scene that immediately follows where Dr. Martin falls into a body of water that has Dr. Halesy swimming and drowning in it,or being eaten by a shark, that's supposed to be the inside of Dr. Halsey's brain!

The movie keeps getting stranger as it reaches it's final conclusion with Dr. Martin, or Dr. Halsey, being unsuccessfully lobotomized where he ends up dead on the operating table without giving the secret formula that Vance and the Eunice executives and shareholders so desperately wanted; as if the film-makers forgot what the original story of "Brain Dead" was supposed to be all about.

Nothing made sense in the film and even as a mind-blowing cult movie with a surprise ending, that at least ties a number of loose ends in the film together, it failed miserably. "Brain Dead" leaves you totally confused to what you were watching for the last 85 minutes and wishing that you forget what you saw as soon as possible.

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