Brain Dead1990

Director: Adam Simon
Stars: Bill Pullman, Bill Paxton, Bud Cort, Nicholas Pryor, Patricia Charbonneau
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 85 minutes

Adam Simon (Carnosaur) made his directoral debut with this mind game of a movie. Based on a decades-old screenplay by former Twilight Zone contributor Charles Beaumont, Simon dusted off and updated the script about an experimental brain researcher (Bill Pullman) who agrees to dig into the gray matter of a schizophrenic scientist (Bud Cort), only to fall prey to his patient's psychosis. Or maybe he's just plain nuts. Spiced with a bizarre sense of humor (Pullman wrestles over a brain specimen in a jar with a homeless man who tries to grab it: "That's my brain!"), Pullman's ordeal takes one hairpin turn after another as he becomes lost in a maze of alternate realities, no longer able to sort fantasy from reality or paranoia from persecution. This clever puzzle of a film overcomes low-budget restrictions with a deviously inventive story that echoes Brazil and quotes from The Manchurian Candidate and North by Northwest. Bill Paxton costars as a smarmy corporate manipulator with slicked back hair and a get-rich-quick scheme for a chain of brain surgery boutiques ("The New You, by Eunice!"), and George Kennedy is his bottom-line boss. Director Simon may be most famous for playing himself in a jokey cameo in Robert Altman's The Player. --Sean Axmaker

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