Back in the day, when you were roaming the aisles looking for that one elusive rental, there were times when the good stuff was out. You were left standing there, forlornly staring at the movie you wanted to grab, but it was gone. Well, you had to settle for something else. Well, I found something else for you.
I apologize, but the box is hard to read. Let me lay it out for you: "WARNING! An Experiment in Mind Control is Out of Control...and the Body Count is Building!". Add to this the image of a very surprised head in what appears to be a jar, and very steamy shower in the background. The cover art is rather lame and uninspiring, but it does promise experiments and shower scenes. What can go wrong?
Brain Twisters is a sci-fi/thriller from 1991 produced by Nightlife Film Productions which appears to be the only film this company ever produced. Crown International Pitcures distributed this film, and if you don't know who Crown International are, you can check them out here: http://www.crownintlpictures.com. Apparently, they haven't updated their site since 1991. It was written and directed by Jerry Sangiuliano, who only has one other directing credit behind him: a short film from 2007 called Hello, Goodbye. I'm really hoping that Jerry's dream was to write and direct a sci-fi thriller and once he accomplished that dream, he sat back and smiled.
The film stars Farrah Forke, who had much better fame as "Alex Lambert" on the TV series Wings. This is one of her first acting credits, as she plays "Laurie", a college student who takes a job working for the enigmatic Dr. Phillip Rothman, played by Terry Londeree. This appears to be Londeree's only film acting role, and judging by his work in this film, I can't understand why. I mean, he practically sleptwalked through the entire movie, leaving us unable to determine the difference between creepy and going slightly insane. Do you how hard that is to pull off? To keep all of your emotional output on an even keel is one of the most difficult things to do for method actors. Also, on the role call is Joe Lombardo as "Frank Turi", a detective. Joe can be seen previously in Please Don't Eat the Babies and Deadly Reactor, which was a movie about the Amish in a post-apocalyptic world. WHY AM I NOT REVIEWING THAT FILM??
Dr. Rothman (Londeree) is a college professor who is conducting experiments for a software company called Biotechnic, Inc. He is using students as the guinea pigs. The experiments consist of the students sitting inside a pod staring at a TV screen that displays all sorts of crazy patterns and electronic bleeps, bloops and scratchy/static-like noises. You know, like all 80's and 90's movie technology did. Meanwhile, Dr. Rothman's equipment consists of a computer keyboard and a bunch of TV screens. One of his human guinea pigs is named Ted. Ted has a girlfriend named Denise. One night, Denise decides to go to aerobics with her friend Laurie (Forke), rather than stay at home and have sex with Ted. This disappoints Ted and he leaves. Next thing you know, Denise is found dead by Laurie. So top cop Frank (Lombardo) questions Ted while Ted is working at his job as a waiter. Ted freaks out and jumps out a window to his death. When Frank wants to get an autopsy done, he finds out that Dr. Rothman has claimed the body. Finding it strange that a college professor wants a dead body, Frank gets a court order to re-claim it. When he goes to Dr. Rothman's office, Rothman tells Frank that "Ted is in the freezer". Which is an actual freezer. That you would put ice and frozen peas and steaks in. Franks asks "Where's his head?". Well, Frank, Dr. Rothman has put Ted's head in a jar in order to study his brain. When the jar is shown, the look on Ted's pickled face is priceless. See the cover art for this. This whole scene is the highpoint of the movie. When Frank asks Laurie why she works for Dr. Rothman, she says that she likes him and that he is brilliant. Frank retorts with "He's got brains all right. A whole room full of them."
It turns out that Dr. Rothman's employers at Biotechnic are aware of the results of the experiments, but want to proceed anyway. Dr. Rothman continues to experiment, as one other student, Yvonne, another friend of Laurie's, has a freak out at the car wash. I've made that sound like a 70's disco tune intentionally. Yvonne stabs her douchebag boyfriend, Norm, with a pair of scissors at a Halloween party. Finally, Frank ties the ends together and thinks that the experiments conducted by Dr. Rothman have something to do with the craziness. Dr. Rothman has also been experimenting on himself as well. Londeree's acting is so good that the oh-so-subtle change from creepy college professor to brain-damaged stalker is only noticeable to the astute viewer. The chairman of Biotechnic thinks that Dr. Rothman is expendable, so they collect their equipment from his office and a goon is sent out to kill everyone tied to him, including Laurie.
The plot is paper-thin here. How do these experiments work? All we see are people staring at a very brightly colored screen. What is the motivation of the Biotechnic? Do they want to kill people, or do they just want their product on the street regardless of the body count? I enjoyed the dialogue of the film as it was filled with enough goofiness to make you laugh out loud (LOL, for you millennials out there). Take Frank's come on to Laurie, after a dinner of spaghetti and clam sauce: "Which one are you? The fresh clam or the virgin olive?". Aces all the way for the dialogue. The special effects were weak, but this film was obviously made on the cheap. The acting was horrible, but would you really want anything less in a film like this? That is one of the criteria here on this blog. Terry Londeree is the best actor of this generation based on this criteria.
I can't really recommend the film, however. The ending is really anticlimactic, and the murder scenes are really PG. Score: 2.5/5
Let me leave you with this, one of the final lasting images of the film, as Biotechnics really crappy video game hits the streets:
|I'LL BE RIGHT DOWN.......MOTHER!!!!|