Brain Damage (1988)

I’ve seen the full Basket Case trilogy by Frank Henenlotter, but I gotta say, I think I like Brain Damage even more. Definitely more than Basket Case and Basket Case 3, although 2 is my favorite of the trilogy. It’s tough to say whether I like BD or BC2 more. I guess I’ll just have to declare them equally awesome. Anyway, since this makes for about half of director Henenlotter’s non-documentary filmography, I guess I should go ahead and declare myself a fan of his work. At some point I’ll have to track down the likes of Frankenhooker, Bad Biology, and Chasing Banksy to see how I feel about them. Frankenhooker seems like my kind of trash.

Anyway, Brain Damage is a story of addiction: Brian, your typical youthful New Yorker, ends up addicted to the blue hallucinogenic liquid that gets pumped directly into his brain by a parasitic sentient leech which may be at least 1000 years old. The only problem? This critter likes to eat human brains, so it makes sure Brian is nice and high off his ass before it goes and takes him out for a bite to eat. What follows is violence, gore, sex, and sexual violence, particularly one scene where a punk chick tries to go for a blowjob and instead gets her thinking cap ripped out the wrong way. Bloody hilarity ensues as Brian struggles to come to terms with what he is now addicted to and stuck with.

Unfortunately to make things worse, Brian’s neighbors happen to be the critter’s previous “owners,” and they’re both addicts that want him back. Plus Brian’s girlfriend is upset about his behavior, and his brother is more than happy to move in and replace him as soon as he is gone. Between this, the blackouts, the bloody clothes, and the near-constant hallucinations, Brain Damage manages to range from occasionally awkward to flat out weird.

There are also some direct tie-ins to Basket Case, most notably one of the neighbors in his building and then the brothers themselves appearing for a very obvious cameo on the subway. It’s almost a shame Brian couldn’t make it the few years to Basket Case 3, as I’m sure he would have fit right in with the other freaks once his particular peculiarity was revealed.

Also, I don’t know why, but between the colorful junkyard freakout, the puking, and the occasional taboo sexuality, I kept having flashbacks to Street Trash the whole time I was watching the movie. That right there…it’s a good thing.

Brain Damage gets my seal of approval folks. It is delightful crap of the highest caliber.

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