(18) 86 min
(Secondsight DVD )
Brain Damage is surely the masterpiece in Frank Henenlotter’s limited but bloody career (though he does have a film called Bad Biology currently in post-production). Henenlotter made his name with the lurid Basket Case, before moving on to Frankenhooker and two Basket Case sequels. But it was 1988’s Brain Damage that perfectly captured his deranged genius, being slicker than Basket Case but more unhinged than any of his later output and striking just the right balance between all out gore-flecked horror and pitch black humour. At heart this is a drugs allegory as young Brian (Rick Hearst) develops a bizarre and truly intimate relationship with his own parasitic monster, Aylmer (voiced by John Zacherle). Cue whacked-out hallucinogenic trips and multiple brain munching freak outs. Still riotously funny, outrageous and subversive, Hearst makes Brian an endearing hero even if the acting is far from RADA standards. Screaming ‘lost cult classic’ from its opening frame, Brain Damage is the ultimate bad trip movie. Minimal extras.