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"We can't all do good, but at least do no harm."
Backlash00719 September 2001
Brain Dead...where do I begin? One could easily go crazy thinking about this movie. Brain Dead was written by the late Charles Beaumont (the man responsible for some of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes) and was directed by Adam Simon (The American Nightmare). It's basically one long chaotic nightmare and, at the same time, one of my favorite films. It's a real head trip where one is constantly questioning the sanity of the main characters. Is Bill Pullman crazy, is Bill Paxton out to get Bill Pullman, should the two Bills be taken seriously? In this movie, yes. The Bills are excellent and so is the rest of the cast. This is the film that really made me take notice of Bud Cort. He's hilarious as Halsey. If you're up for some serious insanity, give Brain Dead a spin. I give this movie a 10 on the psychological mind bender scale. It ranks up there with Cronenberg's Videodrome.

Note for genre buffs: Miskatonic University is mentioned by Dr. Martin in the film. That is the same school Dr. West attends in Re-Animator and is mentioned in many films based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
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Butterfly dreams of being a man
Semih8 August 2003
The great Taoist master Chuang Tzu once dreamt that he was a butterfly fluttering here and there. In the dream he had no awareness of his individuality as a person. He was only a butterfly. Suddenly, he awoke and found himself laying there, a person once again. But then he thought to himself, "Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?"

This quote is being used in the film and clearly illustrates the basis of the brilliant screenplay. The claustrophobia of not knowing reality from imagined reality is very real in this film. Earlier acts by Bill Pullman, and Bill Paxton make for a real viewing pleasure. But the real star of the film is Bud Cort (Harold, from the film Harold and Maude). Set designs and lighting make for a fine surreal experience. This movie is a great one with a fine story, fine actors, fine cinematography, special-fx and direction. The music sounds like synths left over from the 80's. But that adds to the B-effect of the film. Highly recommended.
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Neurological nightmare.
HumanoidOfFlesh11 December 2010
Bill Pullman plays a brilliant surgeon who decides to perform an operation on a psychotic mathematician.He tries to unlock corporate secrets hidden in his patient brain.As the result Pullman is plagued by a series of bizarre dreams and nightmares."Brain Dead" by Adam Simon is often confused with Peter Jackson's insanely gory horror comedy "Braindead".The script is clever and sophisticated,the atmosphere is quite chilling and the acting is solid.The film has pretty warped sense of humour,unfortunately the action is slow and there is no gore.A must-see for fans of "Twilight Zone","Blue Sunshine" or "Strange Behavior".7 homicidal mathematicians out of 10.
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underrated movie
KyleFurr24 October 2005
This is a very underrated movie that somewhat reminds you of Jacob's Ladder. The movie starts out with Bill Pullman as a doctor who studies brains and has a lab full of brains in glass bottles. Pullman is friends with Bill Paxton and Paxton is in some trouble with the corporation he works with and tries to get Pullman to help him. Pullman agrees and and he has to try and find out if a brilliant doctor, played by Bud Cort, who went and killed his family is actually insane or not. Pullman says he his insane and Paxton isn't too happy about it because Cort has some top secret information in his head and Paxton doesn't want it to ever get out. Pullman operates on him and then and the next thing Pullman knows he is in a mental ward and his entire reality starts to mess with him and he can't tell what is real and what is not. It's a great movie that should be more well known.
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A Marvelous Film
CMRKeyboadist30 January 2006
Brain Dead is a very hard movie to describe because of its constant twists and turns. This movie truly turns you in circles and can be very confusing upon first viewing. Still, this is a really good film with good acting from Pill Pullman and Bill Paxton. The whole concept of the film is based on whether this is a dream or reality and the rest is left to the viewer. The ending is rather sudden but very appropriate and dramatic. This is definitely the type of film you sit through the credits at the end in bewilderment. Truly a surprise, especially considering the fact that this is a Concord produced film and most of their movies are mediocre at best. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who is into the David Lynch style of film-making. This is definitely a true mind-bender. 9/10 stars
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How Did I Miss This One Until Now?
gavin69424 October 2012
Dr. Rex Martin (Bill Pullman) is a leading neurosurgeon specializing in the cerebral malfunctions that cause mental illnesses, whose expertise is called up by an old school chum, Jim Reston (Bill Paxton), who is now part of the mega-corporation Eunice.

If you happen to be one of those people who cannot tell Pullman and Paxton apart, this might not be the film for you... they spend a fair amount of time on screen together. If you happen to be a fan of H. P. Lovecraft, this might be the film for you. While the writer is known for his work with "The Twilight Zone", there are at least two Lovecraft references in this story. Can you catch them?

I was already intrigued from the beginning with the wall of brains in jars and the face that could be remote-controlled. But I was in hook, line and sinker when Jack Halsey (Bud Cort) showed up -- he is the epitome of insane genius. The phrases, the mannerisms... even his appearance. Thank you, casting director. You aced a hole in one. The homeless guy is a nice touch, too.

Bonus: Kyle Gass of Tenacious D appears as an anesthesiologist.
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Pure Madness and Insanity
Vogler1 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
The advantage of making a movie about madness is that you can sell almost ANYTHING as long as it's all confusing. From this point of view, Brain Dead is brilliant. However, if you expect to find a solution in the end, you will be disappointed.

My interpretation of Brain Dead is that you can never tell what is reality and what is imagination of the main character (Bill Pullman). I even doubt that the brain surgeon story at the beginning is real. During the movie we learn that you can never tell who Pullmans character really is - Rex Martin, Dr. Halsey, who ever? Is he really a brain surgeon, or is that his own imagination, too? Or is he himself the mad-gone maths employee? Or is he just an insane patient suffering fear of somebody messing with his mind?

I think that the brain surgeon story is a very clever move to confuse the audience, because it seems to be the clue for what is going on, but at the end, it isn't. It reminds me of the psycho-drug story in Jacobs Ladder, which isn't real, either.

However, I'd have liked to see a clever explanation for all that weird stuff at the end.
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Strange chiller
loomis78-815-98903420 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Dr. Rex Martin (Pullman) is a brain specialist who is asked by his good friend Jim (Paxton) to help him with a matter at his corporate job. A man named John Halsey (Cort) who at one time worked for the company may have murdered his entire family and it is Dr. Martin's job to get some key figures from the man. Dr. Martin gets pulled in and is soon sharing the same paranoid and delusional visions Halsey is suffering from. Some of these bizarre visions include a creepy looking man who is splattered in blood who is following them around. Is this weird state of reality really happening, or not? No doubt Director Adam Simon wants to keep the audience off balance, but the film shifts reality so often it gets too confusing. Simon's direction is sharp, and all though it is confusing as hell, it remains interesting and entertaining for the audience. This movie features two future big stars in Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton who are early in their careers and provide strong acting in this well made and original chiller. The gore is minimal minus a few shots of some heads being cut open for brain examinations. This film isn't designed for jump scares but the bloody stranger haunting the two characters delivers some chills. 'Brain Dead's' biggest problem is its confusing narrative and ends up being a little too weird for its own good.
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Brain Dead, really messy, but neat
Samiam319 September 2009
Brain Dead is many things, including a mess, but with an ambitious story which is enough to hide the idiocy (mostly), it becomes a fairly enjoyable mess.

Dr. Rex Martin is a renowned brain surgeon who is approached one day by a representative of the Eunice corporation. One of the corporation's best mathematicians has gone Brain Dead, but there are still some numerical data locked in the back of his mind which Eunice wants. Dr. Martin is asked to operate, but as he manages to tap into the patient's mind, he triggers something in his own. He starts behaving strangely. What follows is a seemingly endless series of dreams and illusions that follows the old rhetorical 'what is fantasy and what is reality' question.

As messy as Brain Dead is, it's not dull. The question is whether you enjoy being confused. Making do with a fragmented budget, first time director Adam Simon has constructed the film with a kind of post-modern sci-fi approach. There are times when it resembles some of David Cronenberg's early work, which shows that the film has intellectual potential, but I would'nt call Brain Dead an intelligent film. Then again, next to Carnosaur (simon's proceeding feature) This is actually pretty brilliant.

If I am interpreting correctly, it looks as if Brain Dead is trying to say that the brain is not merely a vital organ, it is a living thing. Whether I am right or not, means nothing. You can interpret this film any way you want.
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Horrible ending (no spoiler)
fezzikola28 October 2001
I spent this entire movie trying to figure out how they would tie all of the ends they created together at the end. As the movie went on and I couldn't figure it out, I thought to myself "They better have a good explanation for all of this". Rather than spoil the ending, let me just say that the end of this movie doesn't explain most of the events that took place in it, and the writer completely destroyed a movie that could be good and makes you think for an easy to write, disappointing ending. I could make a list of the things I saw in the movie that aren't explained at all and that's without viewing it again (I wouldn't put myself through that disappointment once more). Until the ending, I thought they took a movie which seemed like it was going to be bad and cranked out a horror flick that made you think. Instead, they made it impossible to watch without it hurting to think.
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That's the sound of your brain…CRACKING!
Coventry17 August 2005
Odd little movie, this "Brain Dead"…but nonetheless interesting and worth a look in case you can appreciate imaginative low-budget movies. This ultra-cheap looking gem (produced by who else than the Roger Corman clan) might look like one of those numerous and repetitive dream/reality intrusion thrillers that were made in the late 80's/early 90's, but that's only until you discover that the guy who wrote this film actually is Charles Beaumont, who died in 1967! So, this "Brain Dead" really is a trend-setter, when you come to think of it! This film teams Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman who're both quite famous and respectable actors with many B-horror movies on their repertoires. Both men work in some sort of medical research center; Pullman as the brilliant but confused Dr. Martin and Paxton as the shifty board member Reston. The latter convinces Dr. Martin to perform brain surgery upon their former colleague Dr. Halsey, who went paranoid and butchered his family. Shortly after the operation, however, Dr. Martin himself begins to experience Halsey's hallucinations. Pretty soon it becomes impossible to tell the difference between dreams and reality and Dr. Martin can't trust his own pair of eyes anymore. The downfall of paranoia and despair Pullman's character goes through is atmospherically illustrated with surreal landscapes (stormy clouds) and nightmarish visions (the doctor with his bloody white coat!). Too bad the very last sequences are overly misleading and you almost unwillingly stop to care. It feels like co-writer and director Adam Simon didn't really know how to end his film and he inappropriately inserts poetry-elements and fake mystery. A lame climax to an overall decent movie.
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A Decent Thriller with the 2 Bills!
the dude-234 March 2000
I didn't expect much from this movie, but it turned out to be decent thriller given its low budget and its cast - Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton, arguably the two dullest actors in Hollywood! Bill Pullman is Dr. Rex Martin, a brain scientist who has developed a technology to manipulate a person's thoughts and therefore their reality. He is recruited by a sleazy corporate administrator, Jim Reston (Bill Paxton), to use this technology on a former corporate genius, Dr, Hasley, turned paranoid psycho killer, to pry some valuable corporate information from his memory. Martin then suffers an accident, and then descends into a world of madness and paranoia, where objective reality is turned upside down. In true twilight zone fashion, it appears that Dr. Martin's technology is now being experimented on him. Pullman plays the part of the eccentric Martin well, and Paxton does a reasonable job as the ambitious, yet, sleazy, corporate type. I found the ending, at least my interpretation of it, somewhat conventional and a little disappointing. This movie has some genuine scenes of suspense without needing to resort to lavish special effects. There is also a gratuitous nude scene involving Martin's Wife, Praticia Charbonneau, which, of course, is always a bonus. Again I didn't expect much from this movie, and I was pleasantly surprised. For those who enjoy movies that involve the theme that objective reality is, or can be made to be, an illusion, this movie is worth seeing as a pre cyber version of this theme; the cyber version of course being the Matrix, The 13th Floor and Existenze.
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Leofwine_draca12 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
BRAIN DEAD is a low rent horror film that feels like an indie rip-off of RE-ANIMATOR. It's best known today for being confused with the Peter Jackson classic BRAINDEAD, with which it has nothing in common. It goes for a psychological approach to the material, but the story has been done better and more convincingly elsewhere. The cheapness is apparent throughout, particularly in the way a couple of white-painted rooms stand in for laboratories and the like. I was surprised that mainstream actors like Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton took roles in this as personally I think the material is beneath them. The story sees Pullman's brain surgeon going crazy and believing that he's a hallucination in a disturbed brain; the story becomes a thriller of sorts as his behaviour becomes more and more bizarre. It's oddball indeed, but not at all satisfying.
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People who confuse the two Bill Ps ought to see THIS one.
Hey_Sweden31 March 2018
Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton star in this ambitious sci-fi thriller from director Adam Simon ("Carnosaur") and the late, great writer Charles Beaumont (known for his work on 'The Twilight Zone' and Roger Corman films). Pullman stars as Rex Martin, a brilliant young scientist who becomes involved in a plan to pry vital information from the mind of Jack Halsey (Bud Cort), an equally brilliant mathematician. Also worked into the plot is the idea of erasing unpleasant memories from peoples' brains, or otherwise changing their personalities.

It's all quite an intriguing set-up by Beaumont, although the film doesn't really reach its full potential due to ultimately telling a rather routine story. And it's a story that falls back on the time-honoured theme of forcing the lead character and audience to figure out what is fantasy and what is reality. As this tale progresses, Rex suffers from visions and hallucinations that may well be the product of a deteriorating mind. Eventually, it resolves itself in a way that isn't exactly unpredictable.

Still, the ride taken here is interesting. "Brain Dead" is certainly a notch above most product created by Concorde, the company formed by Corman after his departure from New World. It's played as well as it can be played by a top cast, with Pullman and Paxton in fine form. (One of the questions posed is whether or not Paxton, as Pullmans' friend, is a smarmy, self-serving jerk just out for himself.) George Kennedy does not get to do much as a corporation head, but sexy Patricia Charbonneau is easy to watch as Pullmans' wife, and character actor Nicholas Pryor has a field day in a trio of inter-related roles. Other familiar faces include Lee Arenberg, Willie Garson, Brent Hinkley, and Kyle Gass. Paxtons' father John has a bit as a board member. But it's Cort, a longtime specialist in quirky and offbeat parts, who tends to steal the show much of the time.

"Brain Dead" is, overall, adequately filmed, and it shows its audience a pretty good time. Some gore here and there, decent makeup effects (especially the "experimental face"), and a fine score by Peter Rotter help to keep it watchable.

Produced by Cormans' wife Julie.

Seven out of 10.
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A weird little movie...
nightshade07122 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Around the time I first saw Wes Craven's "The Serpent and the Rainbow," I became enamored with Bill Pullman as an actor. This ended up as a gateway through which I would ravenously hunt down as many early movies of his as I could, Brain Dead included...

Some might say this movie is downright bizarre. Well, I can't disagree with that. It's twisted, confusing, and surreal, all the while managing to be darkly humorous (although I have my doubts as to whether or not certain moments of hilarity were intended to be so). The whole thing plays out like an exaggerated fever dream and, as a result, makes it very difficult to give an accurate rating for this weird little movie.

While not a cinematic masterpiece by any means, it is not a bad movie - provided you can pay attention long enough to grasp what's going on! If you enjoy it enough, Brain Dead may warrant subsequent viewings. I have watched it around five or six times and always notice some new little oddity that I hadn't caught the previous time around.

Bill Pullman plays his role to nerdy perfection. Meanwhile, Paxton is the slightly skeevy business associate who may or may not be lusting after Pullman's wife (played by Patricia Charbonneau, who looks suspiciously like Sigourney Weaver these days. Hm...)

Far from perfect but highly entertaining, Brain Dead is a lost gem of the 90's that must be seen to be believed.
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By the Perception of the Illusion we experience Reality
sol-kay9 January 2006
(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'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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Classic 80's Horror Flick
cammie28 June 2003
One of the better movies that one can accidentally stumble upon on late night cable, Brain Dead was an early film for Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton.

The film starts simply enough, with Bill Pullman as a doctor, Rex Martin, who specializes in research on the human brain. A friend and co-worker, played by Bill Paxton, wishes the good doctor to help him get some information (The Numbers) out of an accountant, played by Bud Cort. Unfortunately, the accountant has gone insane, and the only way to get the information is through brain surgery, which will likely leave the man brain dead.

Dr. Martin refuses, and from then on, it is hard to tell what's real until the end of the movie. There is a series of contradictory events, which leads Dr. Martin questioning his own health & sanity. Though not necessarily a shocking ending, if you've seen enough 80s sci-fi/horror, "Brain Dead" is a particularly enjoyable film which you've likely never seen.
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Underrated nightmare
rich-10619 October 2000
Warning: Spoilers
Some people thought this movie was too confusing but isn't that just like a nightmare? The first half of the movie is coherent but then Pullman's descent into madness begins. You keep guessing what scenes are real (ie, consistent with the first half) and which are wild dreams. Don't hurt your brain too much trying to make sense of it. IMHO you can actually piece together a valid storyline after its over, but it would be a spoiler for me to comment on it. Anyway it nice to have a million cable channels so obscure movies like this can be seen. BTW the movie has some entertaining acting, creepy brain operations, a hot sex scene, imaginative dream sequences, and twilight-zone-like ending scene. I gave it a 6 exposed brains out of a maximum 10 exposed brains rating.
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yeah! what a masterpiece!
randoman7 May 2005
I felt brain dead, I'll tell you. This is the worst film I have ever bought. (in my ignorance I thought this was the Peter Jackson film of the same name). The performances are so terrible they are laughable. The special effects have not stood the test of time and look dire. The script promotes that kind of TV movie, stare into the middle distance kind of acting. The cast look as if they have been taking lessons from Joey Tribbiani, they have one look each, and stick to it. Plus I have never been confused by a movie until I sat down to watch this. The is it a dream or no plot is so terrible that frustration sets in within a few minutes. Avoid like a plague.
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amazing movie that made me think and go crazy!
nicole1022199130 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
i originally wanted to see this film for Bill Pullman and Bud Cort and i got way more out of it than expected. this movie is a mind f*** and you really have to pay attention to every little detail and be somewhat nuts to understand this from my point of view but ill give it my best shot. Bill Pullman plays a brain doctor along with Bill Paxton who experiment on Bud Cort who killed his family. After performing this test on Bud Cort, Bill Pullman is hit by a car and then things get weird. He wakes up but nothing is how it is supposed to be, he is no longer the brilliant doctor he was before getting hit by the car, he is now being called by Bud Cort's characters name (Halsey) and is now a patient. He tries to escape with the help of Bud Cort. Heres the metaphor to look for, when Bill is running around the hospital trying to find his way out he is, in a way running through his own mind. So who's mind is this this Bud Cort's brain or Bill Pullman's brain? we find that out in the end which i wont say but its genius. I've always wondered about the human brain and this movie made me wonder (even more) just exactly what goes on in our brains when we are unconscious? when we die does the brain still work? is what we are seeing now and doing now really happening or is this all a dream? this movie really made me ask these questions more and it freaked my sister out! i say bravo to the director, writer and of course Bill Pullman and Bud Cort for f***ing with my mind!
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Sci-Fi/Horror With Many Twists and Turns
charlieoso4 May 2020
Bill Pullman plays Dr. Rex Martin who is a neurosurgeon who works on brains. His old roommate and buddy Jim Reston (Bill Paxton) shows up to let Dr. Martin know that a mathematician Jack Halsey (Bud Cort) who once worked for the company he is employed by Eunice has gone bananas and is being held at a mental institution. Reston is wanting Dr. Martin to work on his brain. That is just the start of it. There are some really cool twists that start near the middle of the movie. It was at this point I wasn't sure if I was really enjoying the movie or not. The twists come off quite nicely, made me enjoy the movie much more and plays out like an extended version of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Which is kind of interesting because original screenwriter Charles Beaumont wrote for that TV show. Director Adam Simon got ahold of the script and rewrote it for modern times (or 1990 anyways). Also starring George Kennedy.

This sci-fi/horror film may in fact not be for everyone, but I enjoyed the twists and certainly know that it will be one I will watch again to piece some things together hopefully.
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This film proves one thing
bregund10 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton are not the same person. I had never heard of this film, and I've watched a lot of films over the years, and there it was on my media feed (name of streaming service omitted). So I thought what the heck, it will finally prove once and for all that Pullman and Paxton are not the same man. I hope I don't mix them up, but I never realized how much Pullman sighs and stares at the floor, but he does this in every scene. Meanwhile Paxton is smarmy and corporate, a gross caricature of an 80s yuppie that was out of date even when this film was released. The first half of the film is normal and presents a compelling mystery, but then continuity and lucidity are abandoned in favor of a confusing melange of disconnected scenes that are supposed to make you question what's real and what isn't. Though the story becomes frustrating and pointless, there are some amusingly philosophical scenes, such as this quick exchange between Pullman and Bud Cort: Pullman: "Didn't we do this before?" Bud Cort: "Are we doing this now?" As is typical of entertainment that keeps too many balls in the air (Game of Thrones), the ending is a quickly-written washout that cheapens the whole story and answers none of the questions it posed. Given the promising beginning of this film I expected so much more.
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A personal favorite of mine...
stephenh-952494 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very good, creepy, "horror" movie. Very little credible gore. I enjoy movies where one never really knows whether what they are seeing is real or not?

Not altogether unlike Jacob's Ladder...another fave of can only truly enjoy this movie the first time he watches it. Once one figures out "the twist" the movie loses a bit.

Essentially, early on in the film, the brain surgeon is hot by a car...and killed. Everything that happens afterwards is a dream (or rather, a nightmare) of his disembodied brain.
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A butterfly dreaming he's a man
idontneedyourjunk3 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Not to be confused with the much better splatter/horror/comedy movie Braindead (1992).

Neurosurgeon Rex Martin (Bill Pullman) has a shelf of live brains in jars, that he pulls down and pokes at with electric sticks. And this is before he goes crazy.

His old school friend Jim (Bill Paxton) is a slimy corporate salesman, who wants Rex to poke around in the head of a genius mathematician John Halsey (Bud Cort), to unlock the secret formula he was working on for the company before he went crazy.

With his research grant money gone, Rex agrees, but is involved in an accident with a madman's brain (paranoid/schizophrenic), which appears to have overlapped his own.

The rest of the movie is a slow fall into insanity. Did the accident cause their minds to fuse?

Is he Rex with memories of Halsey or Halsey with memories of Rex? What is reality, if not what we hold in your minds?

I actually studied the poems of Zhuangzi at Canterbury University, so what do you know, tertiary education in the arts is good for something.

The lives of both men blend into one, as Rex is committed to the same mental institute as where he first met Halsey.

Or is he? There is no payout by the end of the movie, draw your own conclusions.

Doctor Rex Martin attended Miskatonic University, the same location of the movie Reanimator (1985), both movies paying homage to HP Lovecraft.


Rob & Barney Burman, makeup FX father and son team. Rob (son) was involved in makeup on the original The Thing (1982). Barney (dad) was head of makeup for TV series Grimm and won an Oscar for Star Trek (2009). He is also the experimental head in the first lab scene.

Kyle Gass, anesthetist. Better known as half of Tenacious D. This was his movie debut. 3 other actors from this movie would also appear in the Tenacious D videos

Ann & Dorothy Vincent. Twin sisters not stretching their acting skills very far by playing twin sisters (for the 2nd time)

John Paxton, board member, Bill Paxton's dad

Lee Aranberg, crazy homeless guy. His best line "That's my fucking brain!" was sampled by Delta 9 (My Brain). Best known as Pintel (Pirates Of The Caribbean) and Leroy (One Upon A Time)

Brian Brophy, Ellis. Starred in The Roommate with Bill Paxton

George Kennedy, Vance. Appeared in all 4 Airplane and all 3 Naked Gun comedies. Was still best remembered for one of his earliest and only award winning performance, as Dragline in Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Bud Cort, Jack Halsey, still best known as Maude in Harold & Maude (1971)

Bill Pullman, as the crazy (or is he?) doctor, I only ever remember him as the Independence Day (1996) speech guy
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Acquired taste, but is it worth acquiring?
Sandcooler9 September 2011
Everyone knows you can't judge a book by its cover, but Adam Simon's "Brain Dead" (not to be confused with the superior Peter Jackson comedy) isn't a book so I figured I'd be fine. However, it isn't nearly the Z-grade extravaganza I had expected it to be, though it has some elements that could steer it in that direction. You have your cheap sets, you have your silly-looking props, you have your sound that appears recorded through a tin can and you most definitely have your hammy horror acting that brings images of dopey campfire kids with flashlights to mind. What you don't have however is a decent story, it's really just one uninspired hallucination after the other. The movie never really seems to go somewhere, it seems satisfied with playing out like a third rate "Eraserhead". Nothing wrong with a third rate "Eraserhead" of course, but there are so many more entertaining ways to completely waste your evening. What is real and what is fake in this movie? The makers don't care, neither should you. The early 90s brought us many B-movie gems, this just isn't one of them.
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