The director of Night of the Demons, Kevin S. Tenney, takes us back to classic horror with his new film Brain Dead. Set, as so many such films are, in a small cabin in the woods, the movie starts off quickly with the arrival of an alien organism by way of a meteor. The organism gets into peoples brains and turns them into murderous brain hungry zombies who either kill outright or infect everyone they come into contact with.
This is unfortunate for the six people who through various twists of fate, end up at the before mentioned cabin. Two are escaped convicts, mad dog killer Bob Jules (David Crane) and the vehicular offender smart ass who is handcuffed to him Clarence Singer (Joshua Benton). They take lost hikers Sherry (Sarah Grant Brendecke) and Claudia Bush (Michelle Tomlinson) hostage along with a stranded minister, Reverend Farnsworth (Andy Forrest) and his assistant Amy (Cristina Tiberia). Just about the time the gang is all here, the space organism zombies attack. Now the group must work together if they are going to survive.
Tenney and writer Dale Gelineau take a stock situation and bring in a fresh and entertaining feel. The anti-buddy nature of Clarence and Bob brings a good dose of humor into the film as the slow witted but lethal Bob plays straight man to Clarence’s quick wit. The other characters, though generally speaking stock characters, all have unique points to them and even surprisingly go against many of the clichés expected of them.
Tenney also had an eye for the special effects in the film. Not relying on CGI for the bulk of his effects, but rather going with some really well done conventional effects that add to the film’s appeal. This is not to say that the film does not have CGI, but it is used in other places. One of those places is the opening credits where they are combined with a rock soundtrack to create an impressive credit sequence that looks and sounds like something from a much more expensively made film.
Tenney also wanted to do something new and shocking with his conventional effects. Often commenting on how fans of Night of the Demons remember the scene with Linnea Quigly and the lipstick. Tenney set out to do that scene one better. I will not say what he does, but I can safely say he out did himself this time.
Entertaining and fun to watch, Brain Dead is a treat for horror fans to watch! The film mixes a number of standard elements to bring about an original story, which in a world of remakes and sequels is a rare thing. While you watch the film also look for Jim Wynorski (a master B-Movie writer/director) who makes a rare acting appearance as the sheriff with a grudge against Clarence. So check out Kevin Tenney’s Brain Dead, as the tagline says “a mind is a terrible thing to taste”!