A Movie A Day #284: Brainscan (1994, directed by John Flynn)


Michael Bower (Edward Furlong) is a 15 year-old loser who walks with a limp and still has nightmares about the night his mother was killed in a car wreck.  Brainscan is the new PC game that Michael makes the mistake of playing.  In the game, Michael is encouraged by The Trickster (T. Ryder Smith) to kill both his friends and complete strangers.  When Michael starts finding body parts around his house, he realizes that whenever he kills someone in the game, he kills them in real life too.

Though it may be forgotten now, Brainscan was heavily promoted when it was first released.  I think the producers were hoping to turn The Trickster into the new Freddy and get a new horror franchise out of it.  Like most films from the 90s that dealt with computers and gamers, Brainscan is now as dated as dial-up internet.  T. Ryder Smith does ok as the Trickster but it is difficult to take him seriously because he has a big red mohawk skullet and he dresses like the keyboard player in every new wave band that has ever synthesized.  As for Furlong, he had apparently already entered the I-no-longer-give-a-shit phase of his career when he made Brainscan.  Add to that one of the worst endings that I have ever seen in a horror movie and Brainscan is one film that is easy to forget.

It is easy to say what Brainscan is lacking: suspense, gore, and horror.  It is less easy to say what would have made it better.  Considering its suburban setting, I think Brainscan would have been improved by cameos from the stars of Shattered If Your Kid’s On Drugs.

With Burt Reynolds and Judd Nelson around to serve as mentors, Eddie Furlong never would have gotten addicted to playing video games in the first place.

Right, Burt?

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Halloween Havoc!: DIABOLIQUE (Filmsonor 1955)


cracked rear viewer

I last discussed France’s le cinema fantastique two years ago today with a look at EYES WITHOUT A FACE . Now let’s return to the land of “Liberte’, equalite’, fraternite'” and take a trip back to 1955’s DIABOLIQUE, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s masterpiece of psychological horror starring Simone Signoret that can compete with any Alfred Hitchcock film in the spine-tingling suspense department. In fact, Hitchcock himself wanted to secure the rights to the book by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac that DIABOLIQUE is based on, but Clouzot beat him to it!

Michel Delassalle (Paul Meurisse) is the cruel principal of a boarding school owned by wife Christina (Vera Clouzot), a weak woman with a heart condition whom he constantly berates. He also has a mistress, teacher Nicole Horner (Signoret), sporting a black eye from the bastard. The two women know about each other, with Michel lording his power over them. Christina and…

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Horror Scenes That I Love: Life and Death in Dawn of the Dead


Today’s horror scene that I love is from George Romero’s 1978 zombie masterpiece, Dawn of the Dead.

The first time I saw this film, I was so upset when Roger died.  Not only was Roger my favorite character but I also knew that if Roger — who was so funny and so charismatic and so competent — couldn’t survive then that meant that no one was going to survive.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Alfred Hitchcock Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director: the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Lodger (1926, dir by Alfred Hitchcock)

Psycho (1960, dir by Alfred Hitchcock)

The Birds (1963, dir by Alfred Hitchcock)

Frenzy (1972, dir by Alfred Hitchcock)

Horror on the Lens: The Night Strangler (dir by Dan Curtis)


For today’s horror on the lens, we have 1973’s The Night Strangler.

This is the sequel to The Night Stalker and it features journalist Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) in Seattle.  (After all the stuff that happened during the previous movie, Kolchak was kicked out of Las Vegas.)  When Kolchak investigates yet another series of murders, he discovers that paranormal murders don’t just occur in Las Vegas and aren’t just committed by vampires.

I actually prefer this movie to The Night Stalker.  The Night Strangler features a truly creepy villain, as well as a trip down to an “underground city.”  It’s full of ominous atmosphere and, as always, Darren McGavin is a lot of fun to watch in the role in Kolchak.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Dig Up Her Bones by Misfits (1997, dir. John Cafiero)


Wow! Johnny Zontal over at Drunk In A Graveyard isn’t a fan of this video. I’m not even sure I need to say anything. He sums this up quite well.

It’s pretty bad. This was the first official music video ever released for a song by Misfits. I have two main problems with it.

  1. It looks ingenious and lacks energy. It really does remind me of something like Blair Witch 2: Book Of Shadows (2000) with its Wiccan and Goth characters. They just seemed to be there because that was trendy. I was in school around that time. It was trendy. This feels like it was meant to tap into those trends rather than being their thing anymore. This doesn’t seem to have a reason to exist other than that it was popular. It doesn’t help that they show fans that don’t only in retrospect tell you this was popular at the time. These were the same kind of people you would see trolling MTV, which caused me to turn away from new music till this stuff started to fade away. It could have made up for this by being cheesy and fun like some metal videos of the 80s. It didn’t.
  2. The integration of the Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) footage. As in it isn’t. They just cut to it here and there because she was on the cover of the single–I guess. I hate to reference it again, but take a look at The Number Of The Beast by Iron Maiden. Mallet did a good job. Run To The Hills did it even better. You could edit out the movie footage from this video, and I doubt you would miss it. You can’t say the same of those two Iron Maiden videos.

A few years later, Misfits got Romero to direct a video for their song Scream! I can’t say that song sticks with me anymore than this one will, but the video is done well-enough. I’m not sure what director John Cafiero was thinking. He seems to have only done music videos for two songs–both by Misfits. The other one being American Psycho.

Follow the link at the start for someone making fun of the video. Then watch the video and look for when lead-singer Graves walks his fingers across the top of a gravestone.

Enjoy!