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Brain Dead

3.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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(Dec 26, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

"A brilliant puzzle-film with a chillingly good story that offers the same kind of pleasure as THE SIXTH SENSE, which it predated. Riveting intense performances by Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton pull you into a harrowing and haunting world." -- Roger Corman ~~The Eunice Corporation is on the ground floor of an exciting growth industry, utilizing a memory resculpting technique bioneered by eccentric neurosurgeon Rex Martin. It envisions nationwide clinics where anyone can lose their hang-ups of an unhappy childhood, a failed romance, or a botched career. At Eunice's "New You" outlets, a simple operation will give customers peace of mind. Or it might leave them brain dead. But when Martin refuses to cooperate, he soon finds himself plunged into a surreal existence that intertwines dreams and reality. Has Martin slipped over the edge into madness? Or have corporate profit mongers given him a push, making him the guinea pig in his own experiment? To know the answer is to know the terror!~

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Pullman, Bill Paxton, Bud Cort, Nicholas Pryor, Patricia Charbonneau
  • Directors: Adam Simon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,470 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Brain Dead" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Duralde on October 2, 2000
Format: DVD
Director Adam Simon once made a fascinating documentary about director Sam Fuller, and BRAIN DEAD can be read as his homage to Fuller's SHOCK CORRIDOR, since much of the plot has to do with who is and isn't insane, and what is and isn't reality.
Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton -- admit it, you've always gotten them confused -- co-star in this low-budget gem that was barely released to theaters, but now gets a decent DVD release. The sound and picture are just fine -- alas, producer Roger Corman takes his trademark cheapness even to DVD: there are no commentaries, no extra features save some bios and a few trailers, and there's not even a booklet inside the case!
In any event, this is a smart and suspenseful little movie, and one you'll enjoy trying to piece together long after it's over.
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Format: DVD
Brain Dead (Adam Simon, 1990)

When Brain Dead is remembered these days, two decades after its original release, it is remembered mostly for being an early Bill Pullman flick, a few years before he would hit the big time. But this first feature from Adam Simon (The American Nightmare; he also wrote the vastly underrated 2009 flick The Haunting in Connecticut) has much, much more to recommend it than simply another obscure star turn from Pullman, who two years before had been part of what made The Serpent and the Rainbow into one of the best horror flicks Hollywood ever produced. It is oddly common that Hollywood will crank out two movies on the same theme at roughly the same time, with one obscuring the other for whatever reason; think of The Lost Boys getting all the press while Near Dark languished in obscurity. In this case, the overarching film was Jacob's Ladder, which was similarly brilliant but much better marketed. Both are well worth your time, but I'm guessing somewhere along the way you actually saw Jacob's Ladder, while this one fell under your radar.

Plot: Rex Martin (Pullman) is a brain surgeon. His pal Jim Reston (Near Dark's Bill Paxton) is a higher-up muckety-muck on the board of a big corporation. One of said corporation's mathematicians, Jack Halsey (Harold and Maude's Bud Cort, in what may be the best screen turn he ever gave), has gone round the bend and is locked in a mental institution. Reston wants Martin to see if there's any way Halsey can be returned to sanity long enough to complete a big equation he was working on for them. Martin hems and haws, and that's when things get sinister: is Reston suddenly now out to get him, at the direction of the mysterious head of the corporation (George Kennedy)?
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this film is that it was produced by Julie Corman—YES—as in, married Roger Corman, who was a master of grade-B Hollywood movies, and has been memorialized in his own film biography, “Corman”.
Julie produced much more family-friendly films than Roger, and this is perhaps as close as she gets to the grade-B horror which tended to be Roger’s hallmark.

The film was re-released in 2005 on DVD. It stars Bill Pullman (also in Independence Day and Wyatt Earp) and Bill Paxton (Titanic, Apollo 13, Weird Science) as well as Bud Cort as one of the supporting actors, who has been in innumerable films in a 40 year career.

I guess you’d have to call this a sci-fi horror film, although like any good horror film it is low on blood and body parts and heavy on suspense and atmosphere. Clearly it should qualify as “grade B”, as the special effects and sets did not look very expensive, but I think she did an excellent job with the resources she had.

It’s hard to say much about the plot without ruining it, but I will note that the jacket compares it to “Sixth Sense, which it predated”. I would also compare it to “Sutter Island” which it also predated, and say that the plot is every bit as suspenseful as both those films produced at much larger expense.

In this case the main character is a researcher on the relationship between brain pathology and mental disorders named Rex Martin (Pullman) whose research is being funded by a mega-corporation, here dubbed “Eunice”. He thinks he has localized the cause of paranoia to a particular region of cerebral cortex, and that perhaps by ablating the area of disturbance, it would be possible to cure paranoia.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an early Roger Corman film featuring a young Bill Pullman (The Serpent and the Rainbow) and Bill Paxton (Aliens). Bill Pullman plays eccentric brain surgeon, Rex Martin who is experimenting with brain re-sculpting techniques. The company he works for wants to use these methods to change people's personalities... for profit, of course. The clinics will be called 'New You'. They will provide a way to rid people of unpleasant memories of childhood, failed romances, unsuccessful career moves or any other traumatic experiences that haunt their everyday life.
Rex Martin is reluctant to sign on to the project, but is gradually coerced into it. What results is a hallucinatory trip into madness for Martin (very similar to Pullman's role in 'The Serpent and the Rainbow'). Is he wielding the surgeon's knife... or is he the one under the knife? All will be revealed at the movies end. Until then, you just have to keep guessing.
Liked the movie the first time I saw it, but not quite as much when I later bought the DVD. Not sure why. It's still a good movie though. Not great maybe... but pretty good.
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