Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Jerry Sangiuliano
Stars: Farrah Forke, Terry Londeree, Joe Lombardo
This is another movie from one of the Mill Creek collections I recently received. Brain Twisters is the first movie on the SCI-FI INVASION 50 Movie Set. There are a lot of promising titles on this collection, a lot of with I am familiar with – Brain Twisters is not one of those titles. You see this poster – you see how it says “A science fiction thriller” on it? That’s a lie. This think offers about as many chills as a lukewarm bath. Brain Twisters is the kind of film you would see in the late 80s/early 90s on a network television during some uneventful Saturday or Sunday afternoon. This isn’t a movie – this is just something to fill a programming block – to kill some air time when there were no football or baseball games going on. Though it does offer some strange, eerily relevant message at the end that almost makes this film somewhat significant – though not worth the 91 minutes of valuable time this movie takes up.
The film opens with a University professor, Dr. Rothman (Terry Londeree), performing scientific experiments on one of his students. These experiments, which are the film’s primary focus, consist of the participant sitting down and watching a whole slew of flashing lights and sounds while Dr. Rothman monitors their reaction. Honestly it looks like someone playing a really really bad port of “Tron” on a Commodre 64. Even for 1991 this just looks sad. Promotional material for this movie brags of its use of CGI – and this is what it is using to claim that. That is an offensively loose interpretation of the term “Computer Generated Imagery.” While showing pictures of things on computers is a base definition of the term: “Computer Generated Imagery,” one can’t call it CGI. Even in 1991 – when the use of CGI was still rather new, nobody had the stupid nerve to show a picture of an image on a computer and say “LOOK! We used CGI!”
Let me talk for a moment about this actor that plays Dr. Rothman: Terry Londeree. This fellow is one of the WORST actors I’ve ever seen in my life. FURNITURE is out-acting this guy and he’s one of the main characters here. I spent a lot of the movie swearing this guy was familiar before deciding he was a HELL of a lot like Gary Cole who played Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie. “Damn,” I thought, “that man started off rough in a movie like this before doing Brady Bunch.” Turns out I was wrong, however, and that Terry Londeree has done virtually nothing else outside of this film – and deservedly so! Most roles this guy would fit in any movie could easily have been filled with a tree. Here is an example of just how wooden Terry’s acting is. There is a character that is constantly joking about Dr. Rothman’s German accent – however Dr. Rothman does not have a German accent? Either he just didn’t know that his character was supposed to speak this way, or he assumed that all Germans must sound like Keanu Reeves and his patented style of dead non-acting.
Dr. Rothman is doing these experiments for a group called Biometrics. This company produces “computer software and High Defintion television.” I did not know that the modern HD technology was developed by having a bio-physicist force his under-performing students stare at Commodore 64 graphics while having brain waves analyzed. It kinda makes me doubt whether buying that 50″ Samsung at Best Buy is worth it now. Unknown to Dr. Rothman, these experiments are damaging the brains of his students. One student, Ted, runs down a girl with his car, kills his girlfriend and then kills himself. Actually his suicide is something I want to take a paragraph to talk about in detail.
After Ted’s girlfriend is found murdered, the police start talking to a fellow student, Laurie Stevens (Farrah Forke). Laurie tells them all about Ted, how he works at the school’s on-campus restaurant and that she’ll point him out so the detectives can interview him. She also says, and this is important, that her friend NEVER locked her door and that anybody could have come in and killed her. The next scene is at this restaurant and it doesn’t at all look like a school cafeteria – it looks like a regular Italian restaurant – down to the stained glass windows, archaic design, renaissance artwork on the walls and red & white paper table clothes. On-campus restaurant MY ASS! Why didn’t they just say “Ted works at a restaurant?” Why bother trying to pass this place off as a school cafeteria instead of.. I don’t know… A RESTAURANT?!
While bussing a clean table that nobody sat at, the detective confronts Ted about his girlfriend’s murder. There is this bit of dialogue:
Ted the Helpful Busboy: I left her house at nine o’clock. Why?
Frank the Detective: Your girlfriend was murdered last night. Did she lock her door?
Ted the Distraught Busboy: Oh no! She’s dead! [CRIES LIKE A BITCH] Frank the Detective: Did she lock her door though?
Ted the Sobbing Bitchboy: I can’t remember. She’s dead. Oh no!
Frank the Detective: But if she locked her door or not is an important thing to remember. That is, unless you killed her.
Ted the Crazy Busboy: NO!
At this point Ted gets up, chokes a guy out a pinball machine and then leaps out of a window to his death. PROBLEM! I’m having trouble buying the fact that this restaurant/school cafeteria was at the top of a multi-storied building – especially since all the exterior shots of this college show buildings with 2 floors which is a fall even a pansy like Ted could survive. Also, when Ted jumps out of the window and people are looking outside, most of a tree can easily be seen – which means this is really a first floor restaurant or that is one big-ass tree.
Another one of Dr. Rothman’s students comes to his house looking for some “extra help” on an upcoming term paper. With her low-cut blouse and sultry voice she makes it quite clear that “extra credit” translates to “I will blow you for an A.” Dr. Rothman plays into this – turning the lights down low, putting on some romantic music and even offering the girl a glass of wine. Then… well…
Horny Gal: Is there anything I can do to pass this class?|
Dr. Rothman: Yes. You can quit school and work the streets like the whore you are!
Dr. Rothman may be the most wooden and unresponsive man in the world – but he totally just trolled that girl! Well played, Dr. Rothman, well played. Instead of giving her the deep pounding of “extra credit” she was looking for he lets her participate in the experimental mindfuck from a Vextrex. Like all the others – it messes up her brain and she ends up killing two boys at a Halloween party and then being taken away to the loony bin.
While all this is going on, Detective Frank is carrying out his investigation by romancing young student Laurie Stevens. He even goes over to her place and cooks up a nice dinner of Linguini in a clam sauce. This leads to one of the WORST PICKUP LINES EVER:
Detective Frank: This sauce is made with fresh clams and extra virgin olive oil.
Laurie Stevens: Oh really?
Detective Frank: Yes. Which one are you, honey? Are you a clam.. or are you an olive?
This makes even less sense when she starts referring to the Linguini as Macaroni and nobody bothers to correct her – as if the scriptwriter and the director really thought this was Macaroni. Whatever.
Laurie and Frank team up in their investigation of this Biometrics Company just as Dr. Rothman begins to realize that Biometrics is, perhaps, not the most ethical of employers. Biometrics knows full well that this technology fucks people in the head and has, in fact, been covering up a lot of these deaths and hiding the truth from Dr. Rothman – telling him excuses like: “oh that student just transfered to a school in Iowa” instead of “oh that student offed his family with a shotgun and then swallowed the barrel.” Of course since he’s been using the machine on himself, Dr. Rothman’s suffered a bit of brain damage as well. Instead of immediately jumping into homicide like the previous test subjects Rothman goes spacey. He putters around his office, drawing tits on legal tablets and babbling about different flavors of ice cream. He heads out to a local nightclub and dances along to some hit dance music from 1989. After this he decides its time to kill Laurie.
So I suppose the moral to take from this is that video games are bad? Video games technology is tested out on college students and often results in murder? The fact that kids get angry with their parents when asked to turn the video game off is all part of a corporate/government conspiracy to…. to…. This is BULLSHIT! Actually, this just feels like it could have serviced as the backstory or a prequel to Halloween III: Season of the Witch as it’s twist-ending – flashing images on the television screen warping the minds of children – is the whole premise of Halloween III. The concept of the end, though kind of interesting, does not forgive the 90 minutes of boring garbage before it. Brian Twisters can only serve as entertainment in the “it’s so bad it’s good” kind of way – but only if you’re up for that kind of challenge because it doesn’t lend itself to humor or campy situations very well. If you’re looking for an exciting science fiction film – avoid this lifeless corpse of a movie.