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Old 09-20-18, 09:45 PM   #1
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"Brainscan" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge





Brainscan (1994)



Selected by Chad


Spoiler:







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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.
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Last edited by Chad; 10-15-18 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 10-29-18, 11:18 AM   #2
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Re: "Brainscan" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

One reason I wanted to suggest Brainscan for the 'games' theme night is because this notion of 'games' in horror movies is too often a not very witty reference to horrible torture porn – like making people crawl through barbwire and it's somehow being more 'zomg evil' to sarcastically call it a game. Brainscan is horror elements well build on the idea of a digital game, with oddly implemented social commentary. The 'it was all a dream/hallucination' twist is so often horrible but here is it not a lazy copout and a natural conclusion to the elements of social rhetoric.

There's something very sly and meta about the film lampooning the all too often political refrain of violence in entertainment really equating to violence in reality. Brainscan is often so 'on the nose' with the worse sort of stereotypes about 'kids today.' For example with the overly distant dad and a mom who is literally dead to really draw out the idea of alienated youth without any parental guidance, we have the kid who cannot stop playing the video games (because they are really threatening his existence). It's like the kind of film some youth pastor wrote as a cautionary tale but goes into it with gleeful abandon playing on these social concerns in an insidious way beyond the obvious setup, more tongue in cheek revealing in horror rather than cautioning against it. It's a great wtf premise of over-exaggerated technology, sort of like a digital Rear Window (I believe the peepers were an intentional homage) where you are the killer watching yourself unable to stop it. The Trickster is well acted and the idea of digitally invoking him (telephone calls) and bloodletting (like how disc 3 is drawn from his blood) that might go with traditional demon invocation tropes update nicely.

Ultimately Brainscan is what is says about violent, sexual, horror entertainment - just a movie, something that didn't really happen other than in the heads of the participant and it perhaps changed the way he saw life in an upbeat way to that instead of leering at his girl he goes for living romance. It's structured not unlike a cooler version of A Christmas Story with emphasis on loss of his present (best friend) and future (love interest) but in a sharp police procedural themed murder mystery.

Frank Langella didn't need to be in the film (the police role didn't seem to require much), but he seems to elevate most films he is in. It's also interesting how the hero is also the villain and the scope of the movie mostly occurs with that one character. Interesting that the film tells you it's a game but as viewers we refuse to believe the game is what is says it is to the point the revealing it to be the game it says it was is a resolution - it's like if the 'it was all a dream' movies broadcast the dream twist early on but somehow it still worked.
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Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-29-18 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 10-29-18, 10:12 PM   #3
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Re: "Brainscan" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

My first time watching this. I was always turned off by the look of the cover and the look of the Trickster guy. I find him really ugly.

I'm glad I finally watched it. I enjoyed it. And, you're right, Undeadcow, it was a great choice for Mind Games. There's definitely mind fuckery going on here. The script is strong, with a nice character arc for Michael and good twists and turns. It was an interesting angle on horror too, with his past trauma presumably explaining his attraction to horror. (Maybe consuming horror is a way of 'controlling' bad things whereas IRL we can't control it. You can always turn horror off.) I felt like he should have been more upset at Kyle's death, but hey, it's a movie.

A solid 7/10 for me.
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Old 10-29-18, 11:42 PM   #4
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Re: "Brainscan" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Frank Langella was good, as always. I liked the concept, but don’t think they quite made an enjoyable movie. Edward Furlong has as much range as a rock.
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Old 10-30-18, 12:39 AM   #5
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Re: "Brainscan" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

This started out well enough for me, but with the introduction of the Trickster character, the film took a hard right into Stupidville. It appears that the producers were hoping for Trickster to become another Freddy Krueger; we can be thankful that the film didn't perform as well as they'd hoped. It appears that the set dresser was a big Aerosmith fan. Man, but I hated this film--I sensed a huge amount of disdain on the part of the filmmakers toward horror fans. On the plus side, though, it's the first subset film of this year's Challenge that I've gotten angry about watching. There are usually two or three that set me off, but this one is the only one so far (Demon Wind is on deck, however).

Cow, I appreciate all the well-reasoned points that you made above, and if that makes it work for you, that's great. It just didn't work at ALL for me; I think that you've given the film a lot more thought than anybody involved with its production did.
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Old 10-30-18, 08:12 AM   #6
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Re: "Brainscan" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

I've always liked the loose premise of video games spilling into real life or forced to live in a video game, but the none of the movies I've seen with that premise seems to fully come together. I liked some of the aspects of it. In fact, with experiments like Google Glass and increased interest in virtual reality, some elements seem very timely, yet at the same time, it still feels dated.

I didn't count this as a first time view, but I don't think I've ever seen from opening to closing credits before, but it was on cable so many times back in the day that I saw most plenty of times.

I remember when this first came out that they were pushing the Trickster character hard. They clearly thought they had the beginnings of a franchise.
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Old 10-30-18, 08:31 AM   #7
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Re: "Brainscan" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbrown498 View Post
It appears that the set dresser was a big Aerosmith fan.
I think I saw two "Get a Grip" posters.

Apparently the director didn't care for Edward Furlong either.
Quote:
Director John Flynn did not get along with Edward Furlong during filming. He later recalled, "Eddie Furlong was a 15-year-old kid who couldn't act. You had to slap him awake every morning. I don't want to get into knocking people, but I was not a big Eddie Furlong fan."
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109327...ef_=tt_trv_trv
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Old 10-30-18, 08:51 AM   #8
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Re: "Brainscan" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

If you're dealing with a guy named Trickster, you should assume he isn't going to be entirely honest with you. I found Furlong to be really tedious, and this one was a bit of a slog.

I get Langella is a menacing cop, but why isn't he asking where the father is?
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Old 10-30-18, 08:59 AM   #9
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Re: "Brainscan" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillieMLF View Post
I get Langella is a menacing cop, but why isn't he asking where the father is?
True. The father's absence was really disturbing. I know we get to hear that one phone call from him. But the kid essentially drops out of school with some excuse about being sick and no one from the school ever checks up on him, asks for a dr's written excuse, or contacts the parent? Ditto with the cops. This kid's in trouble, and they never even try to contact the dad. But then, all of that was part of the "it didn't really happen" time frame, so I guess they didn't have to be realistic.
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Old 10-30-18, 08:23 PM   #10
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Re: "Brainscan" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

So we're all in agreement that the villain of this movie was The Noid? I mean it has to be the most 90s monster that the 90s ever produced. I was born in '85 but I spent most of the 90s watching the classic franchises like Halloween and Friday the 13th so I skipped a lot of the 90s horror films.

I don't know why I guess I was an edgy kid and wrote off most of the them. Watching films like Brainscan as an adult who grew up in that era is always surreal. Being several beers deep when Detective Mike Pence showed up just launched me into crazy town.

Overall this was cool and it was fun watching a movie set during the peak of 'lets blame violence on movies/video games/rap/metal' era. I might pick up the Scream Factory Blu-ray for this one.
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Old 10-31-18, 07:29 AM   #11
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Re: "Brainscan" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

I just want to take a moment to point out that this is from the writer of Se7en.
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