Brain Damage [AKA Elmer]: a regular guy wakens to find a parasite has made him the new host – he’ll get an addictive and hallucinogenic drug on tap, providing he feeds the alien human brains! The star of this film is the talking alien / parasite / turd / penis / spleen that’s brought to life through claymation, animatronics & other physical effects, and given a surprisingly rational personality (for a villain) like something out of a kid’s cartoon. The humans on the other hand are all pretty campy, but it makes for some ‘laughing at you’ moments. It feels like the director (Henenlotter) is almost too good for this stuff, throwing in a lot of visually arresting moments, like the gore, and some weird psychedelic electrical brain-juice trips which are great to watch – although the ending should probably come with an epilepsy warning. Interestingly, it’s a film that defies categorization: it continually mixes gore, comedy, horror and social commentary – but none of them are strong enough to define the film; think MTV type horny/horror with a more serious tone. Brain Damage is as cheap and ‘B-movie‘ as they come (death, plot, death, boobs, death sleaze…) but it aspires to more in that it’s a unique and left-field mix of offbeat plot and wild visuals – which make it more engaging / entertaining / interesting than rigidly formulaic and dull B-movies. Despite being a heavy-handed parable for drug addiction (with a sexual & homosexual subtext) I’d take this over Requiem for a Dream or Spun any day. A nostalgic oddity that could only come from the 1980s.
B-Movie Score: 8/10