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  • Review by Leon Mason

MOVIE REVIEW: Brain Damage (1988)

It’s best to go straight for the jugular and point out that this film was shot in the same junkyard as the infamous horror filth known as Street Trash. That lays out what territory we are in. If you haven’t seen that beauty from 1987, put down your device, stop reading this, and go out and pay for, borrow, steal, just watch it in whichever way is the most convenient to you.

Now back to the film in question: Brain Damage. Made the year after, and although not as disgusting, it will put you in your place when it comes to gore and splatter films of the period. While not putting its foot to the pedal for the entire running time it has its moments, enough in fact to have two of its most notorious scenes cut out until recent releases on DVD and Blu-ray. One sequence of which involves the oddest blow job you could possibly imagine, the other being a sicko scene of organ removal that makes The Fly’s scenes of body melt seem tame.

Arrow video delivered the ultimate uncut version a couple of years ago, containing all the extras you could wish for, with a full HD picture and sound that puts you right in there with the repulsion and depravity. There is a great in-depth documentary, and all sorts of goodies to keep you busy. Believe me, this is quite a massive detour from the crappy VHS copy your host first viewed back in the early 90s. The colours bounce now, where they used to drip into one another. This is where we can climb into our protagonist’s messed up junkie mind, as he babbles about being able to listen to the sound of the colours of objects he touches.

He is Brian, and his parasite friend/foe is Aylmer. We go along with them on a surreal journey where they feed off each other, Aylmer needs his carrier but Brian REALLY needs his fix. That is in the form of a bug-eyed freak that resembles a large wriggling lump of excrement, but a lot more charming. He has a silky smooth voice and an irresistible way about him. When he’s in though, that’s it for you, you can never let him go. Any attempts at cold turkey end very badly. Your relationships will fall apart, and all friends will give up trying to save you from yourself. Despite all this, Brain Damage is a comedy and a bloody one at that. Set in New York back when it was a place of mean streets, and each corner was a dodgy place to be. Revel in the filth, take a walk on the wild side, and join in the fun.

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