Director Kevin S. Tenney is most well-known for his eighties horror features, Witchboard and Night of the Demons. While he has only directed 13 films in the past quarter of a century, he is well-known for creating fun and entertaining B-movie fare. And Brain Dead is just that–a fun and entertaining B-movie.
The plot is very simple: six very different people (two criminals on the lam who are still handcuffed to each other, a horny televangelist and his sexy secretary, and two beautiful med students, one of whom is a lesbian) end up taking shelter in an old fishing cabin as they are attacked by parasitic mutant alien zombies. They must try to survive the night as they fend off the horrible creatures as well as attacks from each other.
Now Tenney knows the storyline is absurd and that this is a B-movie and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. It is clear from the very beginning he is just out to have fun and hopefully entertain the masses, and he succeeds in large part. The stage is set during the opening sequence when a meteor falls to Earth, hitting a fisherman square in the forehead, creating a large, bloody hole in the fisherman’s cranium. As his buddy bends down to check out the extent of his injuries, the first fisherman–who is now controlled by the alien parasite–pokes his buddy’s eyes out, spurting blood everywhere before splitting his head in two and removing the brain to begin munching. If you weren’t sure what you were in for when you put the DVD in, you know now!
Tenney certainly is an entertainer. He knows that in order for his low-budget flick to succeed he needs to keep the blood flowing, the boobs bouncing, and the jokes cracking. To this end, he has cast a bevy of beautiful babes with questionable acting talent but that have no problem with showing off their very talented bosoms. Actually, the two female leads are decent actresses, but the rest of the ladies struggle with their very fake Southern accents. The same goes for the males. The lead is played by the very funny Joshua Benton, but the entire supporting cast leave something to be desired.
Still, the film remains entertaining as every possible situation is milked for a little female nudity and every tense situation is met with a wisecrack. I enjoyed the humor and the one-liners and it kept me grinning and laughing in-between alien attacks. For example, there is an exchange between the two criminals who arrive first at the fishing shack. Exploring the rundown house, one con counts, "Two, four, six, seven. Seven beds." The second con asks, "Dwarves?" And in an exchange between our two pretty med students who have become lost in the woods before finding the shack:
Claudia: We don’t even know who owns this place or anything. This could be where all the redneck hillbillies bring their sisters and farm animals for sex."
Sherry: "It’s a fishing lodge."
Claudia: "Then why are all the windows boarded up?"
Sherry: "To keep the fish from getting away. Now have some freeze dried snow peas and relax."
But if you aren’t into buxom babes and quick quips and you just want to see some cool effects, this is still the movie for you. While the low budget shows with the outer space scenes and the few opticals that are used (cheap-looking gun blasts where blasts are present at all), thankfully, Tenney stays with physical effects for the gore. The alien zombies look pretty cheap as well, basically just ugly painted faces for the most part. But when it’s time to break out the gore, Tenney spares no expense. There are plenty of very bloody effects with decapitations, dismemberments, cranial explosions, and brain munching. They are well-done and worthy of an NC-17 if submitted to the MPAA (the film is being released without a rating). There is even an outrageous "birth scene" which I won’t even try to describe here.
Ultimately, Brain Dead won’t win any Oscars, but it will entertain you, make you laugh, and give you some thrills and chills. This is a very good B-movie. If you like monsters, blood, and boobs with an eighties atmosphere, you can’t miss with Brain Dead. The film streets October 5 and can be ordered from Breaking Glass Pictures at http://breakingglasspictures.com.