Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Brain Dead (1989)

...aka: Paranoia

Directed by:
Adam Simon

Dr. Rex Martin (Bill Pullman) is a brilliant neurologist who’s obviously losing his mind. After being roped into doing bizarre experiments for a top-secret government lab and a strange encounter with a rather distraught colleague (Bud Cort), things start getting even weirder, people are murdered (or are they?), he's committed to an institution and his world turns into one big freakish fusion of reality and nightmare. Director Adam Simon (in his directorial debut) reworks an old, un-filmed Charles Beaumont script (both received credit) in a movie that often bites off more than it can chew and many will find incomprehensible, but still manages to maintain interest through unpredictable plotting, good performances (Bill Paxton scores as Dr. Martin's shady colleage and there are nice turns from Nicholas Pryor, George Kennedy and others) decent special effects and a few well done shock scenes. I thought the ending was a bit unsatisfying, but I definitely give this film full credit for at least trying to do something different.
Simon followed this up with the lame killer-dinosaur film CARNOSAUR (1993), which was one of the highest grossing films for Corman's New Horizons company, and the excellent documentary THE AMERICAN SCREAM (2000).


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