Brain Damage

Brain Damage ★★★★½

The Mind is a Terrible Thing To Taste said Ministry. Try telling that to Elmer! This little critter can't get enough of the old grey matter. In exchange for jizzing some electric blue trip juice into the CPU through the back of the neck, he just wants feeding. Good deal, thinks Brian, and so begins a story of hopeless addiction; a boy and his phallic foot-long smooth-voiced parasite.

Can't believe I've never seen this until now. Frank Henenlotter's beautifully deranged schlockfest of junkie fixation, co-dependence and transcendence via disgusting little shoulder worm hits so many sweet spots. It's got oodles of atmosphere - scuzzy NY is given a lurid sheen through primary coloured lighting (blue and magenta feature a lot). There are location shots around the city but a lot of it was filmed on sets specially constructed to accommodate the animatronics needed to bring Elmer to life. Gabe Bartalos and crew's effects work is glorious, not just on Elmer, but gory prosthetics like the hallucinogenic geyser of blood, with one half of Brian's face blue-lit.

There are lots of hilariously WTF moments like Brian howling in the bath, that absurdly long tracking shot after Brian has fled the restaurant in blind panic at brain ball bolognese, Morris delivering a monologue on the lengthy history of how Elmer (or Alymer as he is properly known) was passed down through the anals of history into the hands of Morris and Martha. Script, effects, shot selection, it's brilliantly inventive in every aspect, defying the tiny budget. Throw a chilled-out synth score into the mix and you've got a truly whacked out slab of prime 80s horror that looks fresh as a plate of glistening raw brains on Arrow's blu-ray.

Listen to the light, Brian. Just listen to the light.

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