Monday, June 1, 2009

Brain Twisters (Jerry Sangiuliano, 1991)

The cinematic equivalent of spending ninety straight minutes submerged in a dark chasm with nothing but terrible actors and hokey special effects to keep you company, Brain Twisters is mind-blowing in its awfulness. So much so that I knew the film was going to be a fiasco the second the opening credits started to roll. The only positive things I can recall seeing transpire during its torturous running time involved inclement weather (I liked how the rain seemed realistic - most films go way overboard when it comes to rain) and a purposefully undersized peach jacket (which Donna Bostany looked terrific in it). What's even worse is that these two things happen in the same scene (don't worry though, Donna's character is carrying an umbrella, so the jacket was not ruined). Meaning, that I had to savour this peach blazer/real rain moment, because the rest of the film is insanely dreadful. Now, I don't want to brag, but I like to think that I've developed an unique talent for watching crap over the years. It's true, I am somehow able to see beyond a film's obvious flaws and appreciate its unseen riches. However, in this film's case I desperately struggled to the latch onto anything of value.

Repeatedly coming up empty in terms of finding something to nurture at my useless teat, the film is a clumsy disaster from start to finish. Sure, there were unclothed lady extremities, one scrumptious, yet amateurish stabbing sequence, and a couple of deranged facial expressions were implemented, but these things failed to alleviate the sheer boredom I was suffering during this mess. Hell, even the obligatory nightclub scene, which is usually my favourite scene to wallow in when it comes to viewing cinematic garbage, was a chore to sit through. I don't what those people were dancing to exactly, but whatever was, it was some of the worst techno music I have ever heard. And not to sound like a pompous prick, but if I'm slamming your movie's techno, there's got to be some seriously egregious shit going down.

The story (oh, man, do I have to do this?) is basically about a physics professor who does strange experiments on a select group of students during his free time. These experiments involve a lot flickering lights and weird sound effects, and seem pretty harmless. That is, until a couple of students/guinea pigs commit suicide and another one uses a pair of scissors to murder two righteous dudes at a Halloween party. The creepy professor (Terry Londeree) is apparently working for a software company and checks in with them every now and then with the results of tests (kinda like the way Cinnamon J. Scudworth does on Clone High).

The mysterious deaths, however, attract unwanted attention from the local police, specifically a detective named Frank (Joe Lambardo). The professor and detective do the cat and mouse thing, all the while trying to curry the favour of Laurie (Farrah Forke), an attractive student who may or may not have been experimented on. Anyway, the detective tries to woo her by cooking her spaghetti, while the professor uses ice cream and his overall dullness to get her wet places wetter.

There's a big difference between bad acting and wooden acting: Bad acting can be fun to watch; even hilarious if looked at from a pedantic or smart ass perspective. Wooden acting, on the other hand, is no fun at all. In fact, I can't think of anything worse, from a sitting and staring point-of-view, than watching a film that is wall-to-wall woodenness. And boy, are these folks packing some major wood, as Terry Londeree and Joe Lambardo have to be two of the most charisma-challenged actors on the planet. Barely registering in the personality department, these two chuckle-heads literally ooze dreadfulness. The people that surround aren't much better, either. Which, again, is surprising, because I can usually pick out at least one performance that isn't a total failure in any given movie.

That being said, Brain Twisters isn't your average movie. Taking sucking to whole new level of...suck, the film by (I'm sorry but I'm gonna have to mention your name) Jerry Sangiuliano has somehow managed to extract all the joy from not one, but two beloved film genres (horror and science fiction), and has ended up making one of the lamest movies of all-time.

video uploaded by jerrysangi



  1. Did you hear there might be a Heathers sequel in the works? The hell?

    'Cause I know you watch Jeopardy--I got all giddy at last night's "gerund" clue.

    So this is what Farrah Forke did in her days before "Wings."

    Wow, this even hated the techno scene? That's some waste of celluloid there, eh?

    I know I've said it before but it bears repeating. You write such entertaining reviews of shit films. Where's the fun in reviewing masterpieces?

  2. Yes I did. And all I have to say is: Heathers 2 sounds like a terrible idea.

    I actually remember hearing the word "gerund." I also recall it being uttered on The Daily Show awhile back (I have a great gerund memory).

    On my side of the quiz show table, the look of mock surprise/shame that woman sported after she got the Rick Springfield clue correct annoyed me.

    I had a feeling you'd know who Forke was.

    I don't how one goes about botching a techno scene.

    Thanks. I guess shit films are my buttered bread.

    Have you seen any masterpieces recently? I have forgotten what they look like. ;)

    Oh, and Gord Downie is the narrator for a new doc called Waterlife (just saw it advertised in a local weekly).

  3. Right after I sent off that message, I read about another re-do of a favorite of yours, Valley Girl. Valley Girl, the musical. Okay...

    Gord D. would seem to me to be a great narrator. He has a good voice for it.

    Have I seen any masterpieces? My current film obsession is this 2001 gem of a film, Jump Tomorrow, starring the lead singer of TV on the Radio It's set in Western New York (woohoo!) and is about an about-to-be-married Nigerian-American who befriends a suicidal Frenchman and becomes smitten with a cute Latina.
    I've watched it a few times.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hey, Yum, sorry for the deleted comment, I didn't want to do multiple posts at once. Anyways, check this out. There's also a poster saying "terrible" instead of "tropical" in today's newspaper, but I couldn't find it online in a decent resolution. Here's some well-written background info and an interview in a daily newspaper. He's supposed to have arrived already. Just some funny Canada-related stuff I thought you'd like to know. :)

  6. Karim Amir: I guess they're re-doing all the 80s movies now since they've run out of movies from the 1970s to ruin... I mean, remake.

    Have you mentioned Jump Tomorrow before? Because I vaguely remember asking you about Amy Sedaris and the size her role as "Other Student in Class."

    Johnny Rico: You mean to tell me that the Serbian people can't get enough of Nick Slaughter and his tropical antics? Weird, wild stuff. I mean, I've never even seen the show; and I'm supposed to be a "Canadian person" (you know, its intended audience). I do, however, recall seeing ads for it (it's called Sweating Bullets over here), but I never... Anyway, I'm glad to see that Serbs are embracing Canadian culture.

  7. Dang, my memory sucks!
    We did talk about Jump Tomorrow. Well, I rewatched it this weekend, and it's still great!

  8. Scranton was a great town and I am sad the movie was terrible and didn't do well. The Jerymn Hotel was wonderful. Girls of Scranton knew how to look good. I bought Estes rockets and we did Lunch Launch, which later was the Transcendian Message Rocket Program. Transcendian you tube is my transcendian channel and there is, and You are right about the film. Doesn't do your career any good to be associated. I worked on We'll Take Manhattan, Tin Star Void, Bail Jumper, and Brain Twisters, none of which are possible to find and watch.

  9. I worked on "Brain Twisters" as well $100 a week for a month as Location Manager. I worked incredibly hard, but the crew was fantastic. (Hey Russell - I forgot about the daily lunchtime Transcendian Rocket Program!)

    Whatever you think about this movie, it does have at least one redeeming value - Donna Bostany.