Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In short: The Brain (1988)

The regional psycho babble TV show of Dr. Blakely (David Gale) is quite a success in its area. People seem to be, well, totally hypnotized by the show and it is only a question of time until Blakely will first go national and then global. Alas, some people react rather violently to the programme and go on hallucination-driven murder and suicide sprees. Which seems fair enough to me.

Could the hypnotic effect of the most boring TV show this side of Murder She Wrote have anything to do with the hypnotic mind control rays of the giant (and growing) brain-with-a-face the psychologist keeps in a tank in his psychological institute?

When the intellectually brilliant (or so says the script) teenager Jim (Tom Bresnahan) is condemned to lose his attacks of Bart Simpson-like practical "humour" through a good old brain-washing by the good Doctor Blakely, he is soon hit by the strange after-effects of his therapy.

Only with the help of his girlfriend Janet (Cynthia Preston) will Jim find out the truth about the brain and safe mankind from mental slavery.

Ed Hunt's The Brain is a mildly diverting example of the giant, hypnotizing man-eating brain genre with a few sparks of genius and a double dose of friendly silliness.

The film's true star is of course the giant killer brain with its ridiculous (and cutely grumpy) little face and its appetite for human flesh. I couldn't help but smile blissfully whenever the MASTER used its mind-control powers on me the brain appeared on screen to look silly, hypnotize people and/or pounce on them to eat them, as every good brain should.

Unfortunately, the brain is the best actor on screen, everyone else - even an experienced mad scientist like David Gale - comes over rather flat, which of course is fits the flat way the roles are written and presented well enough. At least Gale gets to say the perfect mad scientist line of "Your mediocre mind can not begin to comprehend the importance of my work!" before the brain jumps his rebellious assistant and eats her.

The film's young heroes are of course as boring as all get out - but when weren't young heroes this way?

The Brain is the sort of popcorn movie I'll have forgotten everything about tomorrow, but it is pleasant enough to watch while it is running. Apart from the brain's excellent shenanigans, there are two scenes of teenage paranoia, a bit of gore, much running around and screaming, one skinny male chest and two breasts to see. That's perfectly acceptable to me.


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