Saturday, 16 June 2012

31/06/2012: Man With the Screaming Brain [2005]

I am a big Bruce Campbell fan, but I had never gotten around to seeing him in The Man With the Screaming Brain. That day I discussed Bruce Campbell with a friend who is also a large fan of the man, and while we were equally disgusted by our other friends, who did not recognize the name, I asked her if she had seen TMWTSB. She had and recommended it for being a fun B-movie, although nothing spectacular, nor Bruce Campbell’s best work. That recommendation summarizes it perfectly I think.

I’m not sure where the script for this movie could have possibly come from. It is a very interesting set of ideas, that you can only truly find in B-movie. That is why I love B-movies. No large budget studio is going to take a script like this seriously, it would only be disastrous if they did, but then again, B-movies never take themselves seriously, and that is why they are great. 

The Man With the Screaming Brain actually has a pretty standard plot framework underneath its outrageousness. It is a standard revenge story, in which a rich man, and his wife are nearly killed, or killed, or in this case partly killed, in some European country, and then the survivor having lost everything seeks revenge or vengeance against those who wronged them. That is a standard framework for many a Hollywood movie, and one no moviegoer hasn’t seen.

I think this is the first time I've seen Bruce Campbell with a mustache.
Where Man With the Screaming Brain differs is where it becomes the ludicrous ideas that only a B-movie can contain. Bruce Campbell is wealthy business man William Cole, visiting Bulgaria with his wife Jackie. When a spurned hotel cleaning woman decides to get even, Cole and a Russia taxi driver end up shot in the street. Jackie was also killed in some way I can’t  remember.

However, this being the movie that it is, their death are in no-way their ends, as a local scientist sees the opportunity to prove his theory. In William Coles body, he puts both Cole’s brain as well as Yegor the taxi driver’s, brain. Combined in one body, the two seek vengeance on the gypsy women who attempted to kill them. Jackie, meanwhile is transplanted into the body of a robot, and sets out as well on a path of revenge.
I won’t discuss the rest of the plot details, although things get as crazy as one would expect. Many comic absurdities follow, and thinks workout, kinda. There is a heavy amount of comic stereotyping, although nothing to insulting. The cast is generally unknown and unmemorable, with the exception of B-movie legend Bruce Campbell himself.

Could the powder blue tracksuit scream eurothug any louder?
While Man with the Screaming Brain isn’t for the general audience, it is a must for any Bruce Campbell fan. This is Bruce Campbell movie in every aspect, although it took him 19 years to make. Bruce Campbell wrote and directed this movie, as well as starring in it. The man set out to make a B-movie and that is what he did. There is no attempt to disguise the movie or pass it off as anything else. Man With the Screaming Brain is a B-movie, and when you embrace what you are good things happen. Few movies today truly embrace their B-movie quality, but there was a time when such movies were enjoyed for what they are.

Overall, I would recommend Man With the Screaming Brian to any B-movie or Bruce Campbell fan. I would recommend it to others as well, but it may only be best appreciated by those who enjoy it for what it was. I for one enjoy B-movies, and cult movies more than most Hollywood blockbusters. But then again, I clearly enjoy everything. Pretty soon I will kick of my journey down both the James Bond franchise as well as the 12 films of Andy Sidrais, the latter will be full B-movie cheese, whilst both will be filled with nostalgia of a different era of filmmaking, that Man With the Screaming Brain captures.


1 comment:

  1. I love that the pull quote they used on the poster has its first words be "cranial scars". Like there's a huge group of movie fans who've been crying out for cranial scars, and the poster people want everyone to know that they've got em!