Every so often, a movie comes along that makes you utter three letters… Maybe it’s the movie that makes you say that is one that features an Indonesian Mr. T. Perhaps it’s a movie where white stuff comes out of the ground and the people who discover it decide to package and sell it so it can take over the planet. Heck, maybe it’s about a cyborg who has to do something that isn’t really clear throughout the entire movie, arm wrestles truckers from the future, and just figures out that he’s probably just a dumb cyborg after all. Those three letters? W – T – F. The movie this time? Brain Damage – what the fu…
Brain Damage starts with an old couple talking about how hard it is to find brains these days, ever since their normal butcher passed away. Now they have to go to gourmet shops, and brains are just getting too expensive. They have to feed Elmer to keep him happy, and he just loves to eat brains, you know. Who’s Elmer? Oh, Elmer is the blue brain that resembles a turd that lives in their bathtub (or as I lovingly referred to him as “the blue Mr. Hanky“) – or at least he used to, until he got sick of eating animal brains and went on the lookout for the human variety.
Elmer decides to go looking for someone who’s willing to help him out, and that person is Brian (Rick Hearst). Brian lives with his brother, and when his girlfriend comes over to go out to a concert, Brian is too sick to go and he asks his to brother to take her instead. Brian meanwhile starts to hallucinate and imagines that the light on his ceiling is a giant eyeball that is staring him down while a blue flood of liquid drowns him. Turns out, that first blue flood was Elmer (or “Aylmer” as he’s called later in the movie) sinking his hooks in. You see, Elmer injects a highly addictive and highly euphoric drug into his hosts in exchange for them helping him find human targets so he can feed on their brains.
The drug is injected directly into the hosts brain via a spot on the back of their neck, and the host sees colors and hears flavors and all that looney stuff. It’s like LSD times 1,000. In the meantime, Elmer rides on the host’s body (in this case Brian) until the time is right when he can strike, and the host is so drugged up they never remember any of it. Brian’s life quickly erodes into a never ending quest to continue to get his fix, and he neglects everything else in his life. When he finally realizes that he’s becoming a slave to Elmer, his body has already deteriorated into a husk of its former self, and it might be too late to stop Elmer before he totally takes over Brian’s body.
After reflecting on it, I’m actually pleasantly surprised by Brain Damage. It had a lot of black comedy in it, and it was gory, but the story was still actually pretty decent. It was filled with the same footage over and over of Brian’s brain getting blue stuff shot into it, and Elmer’s jaw unhinging to show all the teeth and stuff inside of him. Other than that, all the death scenes are pretty good, including a memorable scene of a woman fellating Elmer while he eats out her brain, and a dude on the toilet getting his brain gnawed away too. There was also a nice touch near the end of the film where a character from Basket Case is seen on the subway carrying his “basket”, so if you’re a fan of the Basket Case series, you’ll probably enjoy Brain Damage too (Frank Henenlotter wrote and directed all three!). Brain Damage gets 3 out of 5 freshly gnawed brains.