1988’s “The Brain” was a bit of a fringe film for me…What I mean by that is that it had almost always been on my radar, but it was always just one of those films that I thought i’d get round to eventually, but never actually GOT to.
I had no idea of what the actual plot was, I just knew that it involved a giant Psychic/Telekinetik testicle that floated about causing trouble. Outside of that, it could have been about anything. I realise having just written that last sentence that that pitch sounds like something i’d almost certainly be into. but at the time I had bigger fish to fry and it was always just one of those “reserve” titles I could pull out if I was having a string of solid or awful movies to try and upset the balance a bit.
That is until I began chatting to Trivial Theater. A rather lovely lady who’s been supporting the channel now for a while and seems to know her onions! Last christmas we sent each other a gift box filled with odds and ends from the US and UK respectively. apart from me discovering the absolute joys of “Gremlin bars” Triv sent a handful of movies over as well, and “The Brain” was one of those films. I saw it as a sign.
So! by way of thanks! I said i’d cover “The Brain” as it just felt like a “right movie at the right time” kind of thing. and…welp! it’s…an experience! love it or hate it, you wont be forgetting “The Brain” anytime soon
This ones going to be short and sweet. and it’s going to be another soapbox post unfortunatley; in part because I feel like I said everything I needed to say about this movie within the review itself and in part because the circumstances around this reviews publication once again fell fowl of youtubes copyright notice systems and Im going to treat this post as a kind of mini vent. So if you just want to know about the movie itself you’re probably best skipping the text on this one and just jumping straight into the video below.
This is now the 3rd film review that i’ve had unfairly worldwide blocked by Studio Canal/Lionsgate. I appreciate that the rules on fair use are kind of sketchy and could go either way. but if push came to shove, in a court of law I fully believe that my review of this film would constitute fair usage under critique and criticism. Given that I use less than a 5th of the films total footage throughout the entirity of this films review, AND that i’ve transformed the footage in such a way as to effectively create a new work from it. I feel it totally unecissary that SC/L had the video worldwide blocked. In fact after my last review featuring a title of their range got worldwide blocked under similar spurious takedowns I decided to blacklist them as they clearly dont need me and I dont want the hassle of dealing with them.
Unfortunately “Steel Dawn” is distributed by Lionsgate in ONE single terratory. and thats enough leverage for them to fully worldwide block my review. A cursory glance on google shows that the film is distributed by multiple licensee’s so to see Lionsgate so blatently abuse the copyright system in this instance. While unsurprising, is yet another reminder to me that copyright is an absolute minefield in terms of navigating the rights and wrongs, and corporations and companies seem more than happy to abuse it in any and every way they like.
I will say, on the whole I find the youtube contentID system to be imperfect but mainly fair. most major companies take fair use on board and will largely only take monetization or block in countries they specifically distribute to. and even then counter claims on the grounds of fair use will 8 times out of 10 result in a released claim.
However; it’s companies and individuals abusing those copyright tools and remaining unpunished for doing so thats the hang up I have with youtube and is something that desperately needs reviewing. A few weeks ago one of my commentary videos was issued with a DMCA takedown notice by a total randomer. not only did the commentary video contain ZERO copyrighted works in it. but it was one of the few videos where we’d actually been able to completely isolate the audio. it literally couldnt have been our totally 100% homegrown content anymore if it physically tried. nevertheless I still had to spend around a month and a massive loss in my watchtime and views fighting that takedown, which was then released with no issues after the timer ran out on the claim.
I find it totally ludicrous that its this easy for people to issue these takedown notices and equally upsetting that big companies and corporations feel they can bully creators by creating artificial narratives on what reviews can stay up, which have to be pulled down and that the big companies get to set the severity level that a channel gets dealt depending on whether they choose to cover their content or not.
Every upload I do feels like im playing a game of buckaroo where the losing item loaded on triggers a hand granade. and it really totally sucks when you spend over a week producing a detailed review only for it to end up worldwide blocked because corporations are abusing tools while all the creators can do is hope that things dont end up litigeous and pray that the clock runs out on claims in order to meet scheduling demand. things need to change.
So…anyway; Lionsgate blocked this review worldwide. So I ended up having to strip all of my edited visuals out (more or less…the packaging shot and the “Who Wrote this/Who directed this” sequences have been left in.) and replace it with a title slide because youtube is spineless and I didnt have a choice in the matter. I’ll shortly be uploading the full visual version to my backup account on Breach.tv (A fantastic site thats sadly super underrated and needs way more love) and when I do I’ll link the full visual version here too so you can see what you were missing.
Not that you were missing much, this films totally unmemorable and a bit rubbish.
One of the biggest headscratchers that plagues my review “process” is figuring out the right mix of genres so that things dont get stale. as a general rule; themed months excluded, I try to make certain that theres never a time where 2 films of the same genre are sat next to each other. So I’ll always try and seperate say; 2 horror movies that are sat together or 2 sci fi movies. I like to keep a mixed bag just to purely stop things from stagnating a bit.
Part of that dilemma is deciding how many 40s and 50’s B-movies I do a year. if my youtube analytics are anything to go by, you guys dont really care much for the older B-movie films. and hey; thats cool. I can dig it. y’know, time marches on and all that. But to me? I find these early movies a fascinating glimpse into the old days of the wild west of Poverty row film making. when corners would be cut, anything that could save money would be utilised whether it was to the detriment of the film or the cast and for the vast majority of these movies its amazing they got made at all.
Evil Brain from Outer space was never intended to be a movie, it was supposed to be a series of serialisations. and most of them are so drastically different to each other that the idea of cutting them together into one movie would be daft.
the 1960’s said “Fuck it” to daftness and did it anyway. they did it because they realised they wouldnt make their money back on the serialisations they purchased because serialisations in general were on the way out. so they did what they thought would make SOME money back (because making SOME money back is always preferable to making non of the money back) thats why they recut these into 4 features. it wasnt out of some grand artistic sense of tying together elements. it’s because they bought a lemon and had to make lemonade some goddamn way.
the supergiant serials arnt too bad on their own in all honesty. I mean; they’re a bit repetative in places. but they’re fine enough. but these recut ones? goddamn. just….goddamn.
I’ll continue to cover movies from this era, mainly because…they’re bizarre as hell. but if your looking for an example of the madness of 40’s and 50’s cinema. this films definitely a strong contender.
I’ve wanted to cover Cronenberg for some time on my channel, but I always really got hung up on exactly where to start. on the one hand; I could dive headfirst into a classic like “Videodrome” or “The Fly” something VERY defining of his style. alternatively; I could have gone for one of his more extreme movies like “Scanners” or “Crash” hell; if I was being REALLY pedantic I could have started with his college movies that Arrow Video released not too long ago. But honestly; after really thinking about it; I feel Shivers is probably the best place to start when it comes to unpacking Cronenbergs distinctive look and feel. While the body horror element is present here it hasnt yet morphed really into it’s shapeshifting disfiguring style that would be seen in movies like “Rabid” and “The Fly”
eqaully; this movie is pretty revolutionary for it’s time. Predating “Alien” and “Dawn of the dead” by between 3 and 4 years respectively. it looks and feels like a tribute to those movies. Which makes it all the more surprising that this film came first.
All in all; I cant say more than I did in my review for this one. it’s a good SOLID feature that I Feel acts as a good intro to Cronenbergs work. Yes; he has done better. but if you start with the best, everythings going to be a dissapointment that comes after it. While his vision may not yet be fully crystalised here. it’s well on it’s way. and if you DO like this; then you’ve got a hell of a trip to come!
WAIT! STOP! IT’S NOT PORN! well…not really porn…theres some VERY brief nudity and a lot of “Girating” but honestly. for a film thats so determined to ride the “Steamy erotica” train. it’s surprisingly tame. The first time I saw Liquid Dreams, It wasnt really for me. I found it a bit too into it’s “Homages” and lacking in clear substance. and while subsiquent rewatches have definitely softened my views on this (I now think it’s actually a pretty fun, maybe even good little popcorn thriller) I still kind of feel a bit like it’s a film thats missing something. I dunno; I think sex would cheapen this film. I think that making it more of a thriller would make it more boring. it just kind of…rides the line between the erotic and thriller genres to the such a restrictive extreme that it’s ultimatley neither. and as such, while it’s good at both genres. it never really achieves either.
What we have here is a bit of an anomoly. a film that’s memorable for it’s imagery. but very little else. I still think this is prime VS fodder because it’s most definitely working with that kind of cult vibe. and I feel with a little bit more love and attention it could almost be a well respected classic in the vein of “Cherry 2000” that’s why I chose to review this film. I really REALLY hope to raise it’s profile at least a little bit, and who knows!? maybe if the right people see this it’ll finally get dug out of it’s “Out of print” hell and get the re-release that it DEFINITELY deserves.
I’ve been meaning to cover a classic 50’s or 60’s B movie since the year started but honestly, between the restoration work and the lockdowns I just havent found the time to really truely knuckle down and get one sorted out. That was until the Horror channel in the UK decided to run a “Sci-Fi weekender” 2 days of non stop science fiction movies, all of them pretty much classics (Either famously or infamously so) and pretty much all of them being ones I’d never seen before.
This was the first time I got to see movies like “The Giant Claw” (which honestly blew my mind and I cant BELIEVE it isnt out in the UK on DVD or Bluray) and The Incredible shrinking man. But this time I thought rather than going low. i’d try my hand at covering a RESPECTED B-movie classic (Oh I’ll never work in this town again…) and Earth Vs the Flying saucers was just the right side of campy but well made to fit the bill! While I havent covered a tremendously large amount of (what the public would deem) “good” movies on my channel. I think this is the first “Good” 50’s Bmovie I’ve covered. I was really plesently surprised by it for the most part, it’s a bit slow here and there, but my long term memory of it (I wrote the script for this episode back in April/May time) is a positive one (barring the ending)
This is another film that unfortunately doesnt seem to have an easily available release to watch in the UK outside of streaming. but if it ever does get a release I’d almost certainly look into picking it up. With that in mind I kind of realised this time around that I should probably look more into Bmovies of the 40’s to the 60’s as from experience they only ever tend to be one of 3 extremes: Out of the blue phenominal, Tray on head awful or so boring I welcome deaths sweet release…and with odds like that; why WOULDNT I wanna spin the wheel again?