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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it!
This is probably still my favourite story out of Tom Baker's era as the Doctor. With the newly added scenes and the divisions between episodes it's infinitely better than it's original release and makes most of the story alot clearer. Despite Morbius's rather silly costume (when it comes to Doctor Who, I tend to overlook these things) I think that the story is...
Published on February 7, 2000 by Bret M. Herholz

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An new twist to Doctor Who
The Brain of Morbius is certainly different from most Doctor Who stories. It takes alot from Frakenstein, even with a hunchback to boot! This story probes a little deeper into the still myserious Time Lords, revealing a power struggle at the top of the High Council. An interesting story, showing another powerful race almost equal to the Time Lords, and also a corrupt...
Published on November 10, 1999


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it!, February 7, 2000
By 
Bret M. Herholz (Worcester, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is probably still my favourite story out of Tom Baker's era as the Doctor. With the newly added scenes and the divisions between episodes it's infinitely better than it's original release and makes most of the story alot clearer. Despite Morbius's rather silly costume (when it comes to Doctor Who, I tend to overlook these things) I think that the story is brilliant. And Sarah Jane is just so cute in this episode. The line after Sarah loses her vision and contemplates a life of being a blind girl selling flowers at the side of the road will absolutely break your heart. This story is a must have for all Doctor Who fans out there.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The whole story, not just a 59 minute showtune!, January 24, 2002
What a treat! I already had "Brain of Morbius" the non-collers version released in 1984 and thought this Collectors Ed was just it topped with a silly naration like I heard on the Sci-fi channel. How wrong I was, all these years! This Collector's Edition is the full uncut version of the story and it is much better when you get the whole picture. The other version is a joke and should never have been released! Their are scenes in this that were cut from the other that really put things in to perspective and the whole story made more sense. I highly recommend to all DW fans and anyone who wants a sci-fi twist on the gothic Frankenstien horror and witchcraft. Phillip Maddock is also in it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars check your head., July 21, 1999
A Frankenstein rewrite in which a mad professor schemes to find a good home for a renegade Time Lord's brain; enter the Doctor, with his head. Tom Baker has a half-dozen great lines without upsetting the balance of horror and humor, and Philip Madoc (who also appears in "The War Games" as the War Lord) is magnificent as Professor Solon. Also, the set design is good, Sarah's pretty effective, and the Sisterhood of Karn are fairly intriguing. Warning: get the so-called Collector's Edition only, as the original version omits over a half hour.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evil gets a head, September 27, 2003
With the possible exception of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I can't think of a show in all television history that makes fun of itself so gleefully without losing its dramatic integrity. This is why I loved "Who" as a kid catching it in fuzzy 22 minute re-runs on late-nite PBS, and why I love it now, when I can watch it on VHS and DVD without being tortured by sadistic fundraisers hawking Channel 26 tote bags.
During Tom Baker's run (I'm not very familiar with the other Doctors yet, having grown up with #4) the writers of the show tended to have the most fun when they borrowed from classic horror tales and concepts. "The Brain of Morbius" follows in this tradition, being more or less the concept of "Frankenstein" set in space, or rather, on a stormy, abandoned graveyard of a planet named Karn.
The story opens with the Doctor throwing a comic tantrum because the Tardis has been diverted to this out of the way dump of a planet against his will. He suspects the Time Lords are manipulating him into doing some dirty work for them, and of course, he's right. Within 30 seconds Sarah, whose portrayal by Liz Sladen I am coming more and more to appreciate as I get older, has discovered not only a number of wrecked spacecraft all in a tiny area but also the headless body of a freshly murdered space traveller. Why is he headless? Why have all these ships crashed in the same spot? Why has the Tardis been diverted to Karn, which was once the seat of power for a renegade Time Lord named Morbius? And while we're on the subject, who lives in that spooky castle on top of the mountain?
"Morbius" like all Who episodes good and bad, has a lot of competing plot elements in it. On the one hand is the Sisterhood of Karn, a group of immortal, telekenetic biddies given to bad makeup, chanting and a burn-them-at-the-stake-first, ask-questions-later mentality. On the other is Dr. Soren (Philip Madoc) and his hook-handed, ape-like assistant Igor, uh, I mean, Condo, who live in the spooky castle with a lot of surgical equipment and seem to have a strange interest in heads with large craniums. The Sisters want to kill the Doctor because they think he's after their Elixir, which is the secret of their immortality and the reason the supposedly dead Morbius came to Karn in the first place. Soren wants the Doctor's severed head to play host for a certain brain he's keeping in the basement. Sarah, who is blinded by Maryn, the grumpy crone who runs the Sisterhood, wants her sight back. And poor Condo just wants to know where Soren is keeping his arm.
Philip Madoc, who later returned to play a small part in the forgettable "Power of Kroll" is spectacular here. He recites incredibly campy and villainous dialogue with such relish it is impossible not to laugh. The best thing about "Doctor Who" has always been the classic, mustasche-twirling evil of its bad guys, and this episode is no exception. Similarly, Baker and Sladen are in very good form, as is the actress who plays Maryn, and the guy who does the voice for Morbius shows what fans of old radio shows have always known -- to make evil come alive, all you need is a great voice.
Of course "Morbius" is not a perfect episode. The scenes with the Sisters are overlong, dreary, and replete with whispery chanting which is so annoying that even the Doctor, who is about to be burned at the stake, can't help complaining, "This music is terrible!" They are nasty, murderous, self-absorbed hags who seem not much better on the moral scale than the crazy Dr. Soren; I can't say I cared whether the reborn Morbius, who looks like he's been put together from spare parts from your local zoo and/or aquarium and is topped off by a fishbowl holding his brain, strangles them all with that nasty-looking crab claw or not. Also, I can't help but feeling a wee bit sorry for the old fella. Living as a disembodied brain in a jar filled with glowing green goo, with only the crazy Dr. Soren and the incredibly stupid Condo for company, has got to be a huge downer. Who can blame him for being so cranky when he wakes up?
As for the controversy surrounding what the Doctor does to Soren, all I can say is, when push comes to shove, Tom Baker's Who shows in numerous episodes that he can be one mean SOB. Besides, as the original Frankenstein discovered, sometimes it's best to let sleeping body parts lie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An new twist to Doctor Who, November 10, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Brain of Morbius [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The Brain of Morbius is certainly different from most Doctor Who stories. It takes alot from Frakenstein, even with a hunchback to boot! This story probes a little deeper into the still myserious Time Lords, revealing a power struggle at the top of the High Council. An interesting story, showing another powerful race almost equal to the Time Lords, and also a corrupt ruler.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "bland" Frankenstein story? No way, February 25, 2004
In the Gothic Tom Baker era of Doctor Who which saw stories influenced by classic horror and sci-fi, The Brain Of Morbius takes on Frankenstein, Igor, and the monster.
On landing on the forbidding world of Karn, the Doctor's in a right sulk, angry at the Time Lords. "Meddlesome interfering idiots, messing about with my TARDIS, dragging us a 1000 parsecs off course." His sulk doesn't last long after seeing a spaceship graveyard, a castle, and a headless body.
He also meets Professor Mehendri Solon, a foremost Earth neurosurgeon, and his hulking barbarian servant Condo, who has a long thick eyebrow and a hook for his left hand that Solon once calls a "chicken-brained biological disaster." Condo is counting on Solon to reattach his real left hand, which had to be removed to save his life. Solon though, is endeavouring to find a head suitable to house the brain of Morbius, something that'll be his greatest and last operation. This is puzzling, as Morbius was a renegade Time Lord who with his followers fought the Time Lords and was defeated and executed by vaporization on Karn. However, what is the weird headless creature with one giant claw in Solon's laboratory?
The Sisterhood, a society of virtually immortal women who guard the Sacred Flame and the Elixir of Life, become alarmed when they realize the Doctor is a Time Lord. They are protective of the Elixir and the Sacred Flame, which has been gradually dying. No flame means no elixir and pretty soon, no Sisterhood. Fearing that the Doctor has been by the Time Lords to steal the last of their Elixir, they kidnap him and sentence him to death. However, aging leader Maren, and her young subordinate Ohica, are thrown when he returns of his own free will (for help) and realize he's not out for their Elixir.
Throughout her travels, Sarah has been kidnapped, cryogenically frozen, hypnotized, and more. Here, she gets blinded (temporarily). As for the Morbius Monster, it is described as "made from butcher's leftovers," "potpourri," "Mr. Allsorts," and as "Chop Suey, the Galactic Emperor." It has to be seen to believed. Hmm, Dr. Who vs. Chop Suey--sounds like a bad sci-fi/kung-fu story. Never mind.
The scene where a brain drops on the floor offended some medical students, but it made for unintentional laughs. However, scenes of strangulation and someone being gassed by cyanide probably didn't go well with Mary Whitehouse, the UK's Tipper Gore on television.
Philip Madoc (Solon) turns in his best performance in a Who story, a performance that's very crucial to the story. He runs the gamut of emotions, enthusiastically welcoming, cool and rational, angry, desperate, exasperated, and distressed, especially in the brain-dropping scene. Cynthia Grenville (Maren) and Gilly Brown (Ohica) also do well in their roles.
But who is Robin Bland, the writer? Former script-editor Terrance Dicks turned in his story the day he went on holiday (big mistake, because the producer and current script editor Robert Holmes were unable to contact him) and when he got back, he was incensed, as the story had been changed so much that it was more Holmes' work. Dicks asked his name to be removed and have some "bland pseudonym" put in its place. When he saw the aired story, credited to Robin Bland, he'd calmed down since then and was disarmed by the joke.
The initial video release was an edited 60 minute programme, and it wasn't until 1996 that it was released in its entirety. This is one of the more popular stories, as the BBC saw fit to include this among the original video releases in the 1980's. Along with the story and strong characters, the studio sets work well, particularly Solon's castle.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Superb head!", March 17, 1999
By A Customer
On Karn, strange things are going on. What is Solon and his servant, Condo, doing in his laboratory? And why is the Flame of Life dying in the temple of the Sisterhood? An excellent Frankensteinesque Who story. With a small cast, the performances are terrific. Condo, the dumb mute with a missing hand, Marn and Ochica in the Sisterhood, displaying their paranoia of losing their immortality, and Phillip Madoc as Solon is the anchor, a marvelous performance! Along with it being very creepy, it's also VERY violent, giving the story a extremely dramatic view. Another masterpiece written by Terrance Dicks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric and Memorable Episode from the Doctor's Gothic Period, April 9, 2007
By 
Ella Greggs (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
Like a lot of people who grew up in the 70s and 80s, for me Tom Baker is THE Doctor, and Sarah Jane is one of the two best companions he ever had (the other being Leela). And Brain of Morbius is one of their best adventures together -- a very vivid and atmospheric episode. So the plot steals heavily from "Frankenstein" - who cares? That's a great story! But Brain of Morbius also blends into the plot a cult of immortal women who protect the elixir of life from all outsiders. The leads in the supporting cast (Marah the High Priestess and Solon the mad scientist) are very good in this episode - actors with some real gravitas who bring total conviction to their performances. They play off each other and Tom Baker really well. For a more detailed plot description and other information go to one of the Dr. Who fan websites, like 'Outpost Gallifrey.' One warning to those who are not familiar with the original show: Dr. Who was always done on a tight budget in a studio. The special effects were always crude, even according to the standards of the time, so don't expect 21st century production values. Also, Dr. Who was ostensibly a children's show, but this particular episode is definitely NOT for young children because the themes can be very disturbing - dismemberment, burning alive, some other stuff that I won't say because I don't want to spoil the story. I saw it over 25 years ago, when I was around 14, and never forgot it. Hopefully it will be available on DVD soon but for now you can only get it in video form. I recommend getting the so-called 'Collector's Edition.' There are no extras like actors' commentary or behind-the-scenes features, but it has the full four installments of this story as originally broadcast by the BBC. I understand the non-collector's edition version is heavily edited, and what would be the fun of that?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a GREAT episode!, September 19, 2003
By 
Michael Christy (Henderson, NV United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Some say this was not as good an episode but I must disagree. This is an intriguing Frankenstein type Dr. Who adventure that really has an interesting and chilling plot. The evil villin in this story is Morbius, who once was a timelord like Dr. Who but was destroyed, or so the timelords thought. All that is left is Morbius's brain and he is desperate for a HEAD to put it in. The problem is that most of the alien life forms that he has brought down from the sky have not been suitable homes for the brain of Morbius, that is, until the unexpected entrance of the good Doctor. Dr Solon gets soooo excited at the sight of the head of Doctor Who, that you almost can see him salivate. Hehe. Unfortunately, the Doctor stumbles upon the sisterhood, who hate all intruders, especially males!!! Sarah, the close companion of the Doctor, is as useless as ever and gets herself into more trouble then she is at helping and eventually gets herself temporarily blinded by the ring of the leader of the sisterhood. You can imagine how helpful Sarah is after that! lol. One of the interesting character of this episode is the igor looking helper of Dr. Solon. Dr. Solon has promised (igor) is arm back if he helps him find a head for Morbius's brain. I am not sure how igor lost his arm??? Hmmmm. At any rate, the tale evolves around the Doctor attempting to stop the resurrection of Morbius into a new head while keeping the sisterhood from killing him at the same time. There is a lot of running back and forth between Dr. Solon's laboratory and the caves of the sisterhood. In the end... well, I wont spoil the ending, but I do suggest you add this episode to your collection of Dr. Who's. You wont be disappointed. This episode is one of my favorite with Sarah as the Doctors companion. Have fun!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Space Schlock at its best., December 1, 2001
By 
S. Nyland "Squonkamatic" (Six Feet Of Earth & All That It Contains) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Brain of Morbius [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is an episode I will always have a soft spot for because it not only has a shuffling, half witted Igor-like character with a hook, but also a clear brain cased shuffling Monster Menace with one human arm ... and a CLAW. RAAAAWR. I love hokey horror and space hokem, and this is one of the hokiest and enjoyable contrivances in all of Who ... even with the annoying sub-plot involving the Sisterhood and their stupid Flame of Life. The Doctor and Sarah inadvertantly (or not -- it's never made clear) land on the forbidden planet of Karn, where the Victor Frankensteinish Dr Solon has set up shop and waits for a suitable cranium in which to put the brain of Morbius, all that is left of the most dispicable of the criminal Time Lords. The truncated version I have is the clumsily edited cut referred to above, and it is a real shame -- wieghing in at about 60 minutes, the episode is fun to watch and lives up to the goofy, low budget excesses of Dr Who at it's best, but the story doesn't really make sense because so much has been edited out. [...] As is I'm happy with what I have at one hour, because it contains everything I need -- a hideous vaillainous Menace, the hulking but personable Kondo ["Girl, not see. Kondo, help."] and a great role in the diabolical Solon, insanely driven to his complete greatest triumph -- making a walking joke of a space monster that talks like a Dr Who villain. Perhaps one day I'll shell out for the "collector's edition", but only under one condition: more low-angle shots of Sarah in those great, figure hugging trousers. Yowsa. Recommended, but get the full version.
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Doctor Who - The Brain of Morbius [VHS]
Doctor Who - The Brain of Morbius [VHS] by William Hartnell (VHS Tape - 1987)
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