Every two weeks this column will shed light on the underseen, underrated, or misunderstood. Most films will be vastly different from one another, so just consider this a bi-weekly recommendation from me. This week’s film is Frank Henenlotter’s Brain Damage (1988).
Last month I was extremely focused on breezing through countless 80s films that had been on my radar for so long, and while searching through Arrow Video’s massive catalogue, Brain Damage caught my eye. Luckily, I found it on Shudder and watched it expecting something bonkers and immature. To my astonishment, it’s rather depressing and takes a stark look at heroin addiction while also managing to be a wacky 80s horror film. However, the wackiness never detracts from the real message and rarely ever hurts the semi-serious tone. It’s nowhere near subtle (Aylmer—the evil brain—gives Brian his “juice” with a needle coming from his mouth), yet it’s such a wildly captivating horror film that you can enjoy it even on a surface level. Having said that, I highly recommend watching this film with an open mind, pondering on all its metaphorical glory, and soaking in all the wonderful practical effects.
Where to Watch:
Now streaming on Shudder.