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.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Brain of Blood (1971)

...aka: Brain, The
...aka: Brain Damage
...aka: Creature's Revenge, The
...aka: Oozing Skull, The
...aka: Undying Brain, The

Directed by:
Al Adamson

Abdul Amir (Reed Hadley), the beloved and respected leader of a fictional Middle Eastern country called Khalid, is dying of cancer, so he, his doctor friend Robert Nigserian (Grant Williams) and his assistant Mohammed (Zandor Vorkov) make arrangements to have his brain transplanted into another body. After he dies, Amir's aluminum-foil wrapped body is then hand delivered to Dr. Lloyd Trenton (Kent Taylor) in America for the operation. Trenton can't wait to try out his new machine, which uses lasers to cut through skulls without damaging the brain, and after using a scalpel to peel back the skin, he finally puts the machine to work, removes the brain (which looks nothing like a human brain and is in fact came from a local butcher!) and then hooks the brain up to some machine with electrodues and tubes to circulate blood through it to keep it fresh. The blood transfusions come from a couple of unwilling female prisoners - Katherine (Vicki Volante) and some nearly-dead, unnamed Asian girl (Margo Hope), who are kept chained up in the dungeon and are tormented by the doctor's cackling dwarf assistant Dorro (Angelo Rossitto) before he drains them of their blood.

While Dr. Trenton waits, his giant, bald, retarded, acid-scarred conehead henchman Gor (John Bloom) goes out looking for a nice, strong body to house the disembodied brain in. He pushes a thief off a fire escape and brings the body back to his lab. It's rejected by Dr. Trenton, who instead decides to put Amir's brain into Gor's body. He also arranges for an assassin to kill the guys from India. The assassin runs them off the road but Robert manages to bail out before the car explodes and then picks up Amir's lady friend Tracy Wilson (Regina Carroll, with her amazing giant platinum blonde hair) at the airport. The two of them then head to Trenton's mountaintop clinic, where Amir awakens, freaks out about his appearance and puts the beat down on both Trenton and Robert. Tracy mutters something about a plot to overthrow Khalid (?) then flees into the woods with Amir-Gor. Meanwhile, Katherine manages to get keys to her shackles and then tries to navigate her way out of the dark, rat-and-spider-filled dungeon, which sees to extend for miles.

The last half hour basically consists of Amir-Gor, Tracy, Trenton (now armed with some sonar device that can control the monster), Robert and Katherine running around outside trying to find one another and is capped off with a surprise twist ending. There's some truly terrible acting (particularly in the case of Ms. Carroll), silly dialogue, a bit of gore (the brain transplant scene, which is very bloody and fairly well done, goes on for about five minutes), a car chase, a couple of explosions and a Gor flashback that reveals the history of his deformity (a couple of rednecks took his toy away, hit him with a shovel and then poured battery acid in his face). It's cheap, badly made and overloaded with assorted nonsense. In other words, your standard Al Adamson flick.
Samuel M. Sherman wrote the story and produced. The cast also includes Richard Smedley (THE NIGHT GOD SCREAMED) and Bruce Kimball (NAZI LOVE CAMP 7). It's available on DVD either in its original format through Image Ent. or in the series "Cinematic Titanic" (under the title THE OOZING SKULL); with silhouette commentary from some of the people behind the cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000. I always recommend watching these films in their original format without being distracted by being spoon fed wisecracks the whole time, but whatever floats your boat...

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