Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Brain, Tentacled Menace Conquers World

It was such a beautiful thing. The opening scene of 1988's "The Brain." The beautiful Becky (Susannah Hoffman) is attacked in her bedroom by tentacles bursting out of her teddy bear, TV, furniture, etc. Her mom comes to help and the tentacle that exploded out of the stuffed bear strangles her. Becky tries to help her mom, to no avail. Horrified, Becky is then attacked by a huge brain that busts out of her mirror, grabs her, and throws her out the window to her death. You can't beat 1980s horror.
Becky and her mom are part of a murder/suicide epidemic (as classified by the police) in a small town. Meanwhile, Dr. Blake (David Gale) runs the Psychological Research Institute (PRI). He films his TV show there. Also there is a huge monster brain. This brain uses the TV signals to hypnotize TV audiences in an attempt to conquer the world by turning all the viewers into mind-numbed robots to do its dirty work. Jim (Tom Bresnahan) is a high school rebel sent to Blake for treatment. Blake and the brain are alarmed because Jim cannot be hypnotized. Oh yeah...Vivian (Christine Kossak) is the sultry blonde assistant to Blake. When she poses an objection to serving the monster, the brain jumps her and eats her whole...it was such a beautiful thing.
Jim is now on the run as local murders are blamed on him. As the entire town is under the spell of the monster brain, Blake and the brain try to get Jim back. Jim's hot girlfriend Janet (Cynthia Preston) is the only one who believes him. Together they have to fight the brain and save mankind...but not before some pre-marital sex. Now the stakes are raised as even Jim's parents are out to kill him, and Janet is abducted by the creature and its tentacles (yeah, you Japanese businessmen will love this one). Jim has a simple plan...return to PRI and kill the brain.
Does Jim's plan have any chance at success? Will the tentacled menace have its way with the nubile Janet? Are brain creatures with probing tentacles a mere metaphor for the treatment of women in the film industry, or maybe in western civilization? This is a good one with some nice creature effects. Directed by Ed Hunt, for some neat social commentary about the influence of TV in our lives and how our brains process women in society...see "The Brain."


  1. Mind control, mind over matter, the brain is the symbol of both good and evil, nice one!! I can see you adored this movie!

  2. 80s class action! Great review thanks. I need to see this neurological menace.

  3. Attacked by a brain? Obviously a metaphor for depression/anxiety/mental health issues there...or at least it automatically is to anyone with aforementioned issues.

    But then "using TV signals to hypnotize TV audiences in an attempt to conquer the world by turning all the viewers into mind-numbed robots to do its dirty work." makes it sound like a documentary up in the class of They Live.

    Either way I'll have to keep eye out for this one. Thanks again Chris :)

  4. I first enjoyed this movie as a VHS rental during my senior year in high school 30 years ago