Brain Damage

  • 1988
  • 1 HR 27 MIN
  • R
  • Horror

Henenlotter's first film since the cult favorite BASKET CASE (1982) is another grotesque "boy and his parasite" tale. Herbst is a nice young man, with a New York City apartment, whose life is changed when a 1,000-year-old brain-eating parasite named Elmer (voiced by longtime horror host John Zacherle) slithers into his room and attaches itself to his neck,...read more

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Henenlotter's first film since the cult favorite BASKET CASE (1982) is another grotesque "boy and his parasite" tale. Herbst is a nice young man, with a New York City apartment, whose life is changed when a 1,000-year-old brain-eating parasite named Elmer (voiced by longtime horror host John Zacherle) slithers into his room and

attaches itself to his neck, injecting him with a blue fluid that causes pleasant hallucinations. As Herbst becomes addicted to the drug, he begins to experience radical shifts in personality and goes on nocturnal jaunts with Elmer during which the parasite attacks and sucks the brains out of

assorted security guards, punk rockers, and flophouse tenants. Trouble looms, however, when Elmer's previous owners--an elderly neighbor couple--demand his return. As in BASKET CASE, director Henenlotter combines some disturbing gore with an offbeat sense of humor that makes the entire disgusting

exercise a bit more palatable. In fact, the little parasite Elmer is the most engaging character in the film. Elmer, his lines spoken by an uncredited actor, is an arrogant little slug whose soothing, measured tones prove very persuasive to those within reach. Like a drug dealer snaring school

children, the creature seduces Herbst into accepting him. Giving the victim a taste of the blue fluid for free and then moving in for the kill, Elmer makes a junkie out of Herbst. The most haunting scene in the film is a uneasy combination of horror and laughs in which Herbst lies writhing on the

floor, trying to quit cold turkey, while Elmer sits in the sink and happily sings the Tommy Dorsey hit "Elmer's Tune." In addition to the queasily funny scenes, there are also some out-and-out comedy bits--such as the scene in which Herbst and Elmer share a bath, and Henenlotter's hilarious homage

to himself, in which Van Hentenryck (the star of BASKET CASE), with wicker basket in tow, takes a seat on the subway opposite the crazed Herbst and engages him in a wild-eyed stare-down.

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  • Released: 1988
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Henenlotter's first film since the cult favorite BASKET CASE (1982) is another grotesque "boy and his parasite" tale. Herbst is a nice young man, with a New York City apartment, whose life is changed when a 1,000-year-old brain-eating parasite named Elmer… (more)

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