Brain Damage (1988)

USA, 1987
84m (USA – cut R-rated version), 86m (USA – full version)
35mm film, colour
mono, English

An American comedy horror film directed by Frank Henenlotter. Production began on 1 February 1987.

Plot Summary

Brian finds his brain invaded by a fast-talking parasite, Elmer, that floods his nervous system with a hallucinogenic substance that keeps him under control while Elmer goes on a killing spree.


Directed by: Frank Henenlotter
© 1987 The Brain Damage Company
Palisades Partners presents an Ievins/Henenlotter production
Executive Producers: Andre Blay, Al Eicher
Produced by: Edgar Ievins
Associate Producers: Charles Bennett, Ray Sundlin
Written by: Frank Henenlotter
Director of Photography: Bruce Torbet
Edited by: James Y. Kwei, Frank Henenlotter
Music: Gus Russo, Clutch Reiser
Sound: Joe Warda
Sound Recordist: Russell Jessum
Wardrobe: Ivy Rosovsky
Make-Up: Daniel Frye
Special Make-Up Effects: Gabe Bartalos
Elmer Created by: Gabe Bartalos, David Kindlon
Supervisor of Visual Effects: Al Magliochetti
Set Design: Charles Bennett

Rick Herbst (Brian)
Gordon Macdonald (Mike)
Jennifer Lowry (Barbara)
Theo Barnes (Morris)
Lucille Saint-Peter (Martha)
Vicki Darnell (blonde in Hell)
Joe Gonzales (guy in shower)
Bradlee Rhodes (night watchman)
Michael Bishop (toilet victim)
Beverly Donner (neighbour)
Ari Rousimoff (biker)
Michael Rubenstein (bum in alley)
Angel Figueroa (junkie)
John Reichert, Don Henenlotter (police)
Kenneth Pachard, Artemis Pizarro (subway riders)
Slam Wedgehouse (mohawked punk)
Kevin Vanhentenryck (man with basket)
John Zacherle [voice of Elmer – uncredited]

Alternative Titles

The Tingler Takes a Trip – early title

See also
Basket Case (1981)
Frankenhooker (1990)


Cinefantastique March 1988 pp.8-11 – illustrated article
Cinefantastique vol.18 no.5 (July 1988) pp.48, 55 – illustrated review (A repellent splatter film for gorehounds only by Todd French)
City Limits no.335 (3 March 1988) p.27 – review (by Kim Newman)
Empire November 1998 pp.95-96 – review
Fangoria no.71 pp.51-53, 68 – review
Fangoria no.188 (November 1999) p.68 – illustrated DVD review (by Michael Gingold)
Mad Movies no.51 pp.38-39 – illustrated review
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.55 no.651 (April 1988) pp.106-107 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review (by Kim Newman)
Samhain no.33 (July/August 1992) pp.10-11 – illustrated interview with Frank Henenlotter (A pretty sick guy by Edward Murphy)
Scapegoat no.1 p.12 – note
Screen International no.642 (5 March 1988) p.24 – credits, review (by Marjorie Bilbow)
Shock Xpress vol.2 no.3 (Spring 1988) p.26 – illustrated review
Starburst no.116 pp.23-24 – article
Stills no.29 (February 1987) p.56 – credits (Reel to real: A-Z of production)
Stills no.30 (March 1987) p.78 – credits (Reel to real: A-Z of production)
Time Out no.915 (2 March 1988) p.34 – illustrated review (by Nigel Floyd)
Variety 8 April 1987 p.8 – credits
Variety 20 April 1988 p.18 – credits, review (by Lor)

The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.414 – credits, review
Comedy-Horror Films: A Chronological History, 1914-2008 by Bruce G. Hallenbeck pp.162-163 – review
The Films of the Eighties by Robert A.Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.66 – credits, synopsis
Hoffman’s Guide to SF, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.54 – credits, review
Horror and Science Fiction Films IV by Donald C. Willis p.60 – credits
Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.638-640 – credits, synopsis, review
Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990 by Brian Albright p.247
The Stop-motion Filmography by Neil Pettigrew pp.101-102 – review