DirectorFrank Henenlotter ScreenplayFrank Henenlotter Duration CountryUnited States
Release dateApril 15, 1988 (1988-04-15) CastRick Hearst (Brian), Jennifer Lowry (Barbara), Gordon MacDonald (Mike), Joseph Gonzalez (Guy in shower) Similar moviesNight of the Creeps, The Curse of Frankenstein, Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator, Being John Malkovich, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem, Hannibal
TaglineIt's A Headache From Hell!
Brain damage 1988 theatrical trailer
Brain Damage is a 1988 American comedy horror film directed by Frank Henenlotter.
Brian begins an unwilling symbiotic relationship with a malevolent leech-like brain-eating parasite called "Aylmer". Aylmer secretes a highly addictive, hallucinogenic blue fluid into Brian's brain. In return for a steady supply of the fluid, Brian must seek out human victims for Aylmer, so that he can devour their brains. All the while, though, as Brian adopts a heavily secluded life in his indulgence of Aylmer's fluids, it begins to draw a rift in his relationship with his girlfriend Barbara and his brother.
The film climaxes with Brian being confronted by Morris and Martha; a middle aged couple who were Aylmer's previous hosts before he escaped and found Brian. Holding Brian at gun point, they retrieve Aylmer from his back, Aylmer fights back and kills them both. But while Aylmer is feeding Brian his next dosage, Morris, who is still alive but only half thinking, fiercely grabs Aylmer and squeezes an overdose of his juice into Brian's brain, causing him severe agony as it goes in to overload.
Aylmer dies and Morris succumbs to his injuries while Brian, still in agony from the overdose, retrieves Morris's gun and shoots himself in the head. The movie concludes with a shot of Brian, not dead from the gunshot but now with a glowing hole in his head.
Rick Hearst as Brian
John Zacherle as voice of Aylmer
Jennifer Lowry as Barbara
Theo Barnes as Morris
Lucille Saint Peter as Martha
The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by Palisades Entertainment Group in 1988. It was subsequently released on VHS by Paramount Home Entertainment. Synapse Films released it on DVD in 2007. This special edition release features commentary by Henenlotter and reinstates all of the excised gore footage.
In an interview with Fangoria, Henenlotter said that the film was initially ignored and disliked. When it was released on home video, it acquired a cult following, and his later films were compared to it.
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 70% of ten surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6/10. Walter Goodman of The New York Times called it a "brainless movie" with poor special effects and bad acting. Leonard Klady of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "It's a veritable crazy quilt of ideas that manages to engage our attention while our heads continue to dart away from the shocking images on screen."