Director – John Flynn (Rolling Thunder, Lone Star)
Starring – Edward Furlong (Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Detroit Rock City), Frank Langella (Superman Returns, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), and T. Ryder Smith (The Venture Bros., The Blacklist)
Release Date – 1994
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Tagline – “Wanna play?”
This is easily the most enjoyable October I’ve had for awhile. Just ignoring the hunt for Halloween-centric movies and watching anything horror has taken the pressure and frustration out of the season and put enjoyment back. Sometime ago Scream Factory sent over their blu release of the 1994 sci-fi/horror film Brainscan. Sometime after that I received a double feature bluray from Mill Creek Entertainment that also had Brainscan on it. With October in full swing I thought I would give these two releases a little attention. After checking out the surprisingly fun and gory Mindwarp I decided to toss in the second film in the Mill Creek blu set Brainscan. After I tossed in the MC release of the film it was only logical to see how the Scream Factory release looked in comparison.
This is a movie I had watched for the first time a few years back when I found a 4 movie horror pack at Dollar General for $5. I picked it up and checked it out then. This was the only film in the set I had never seen so I dived in and was shocked by how much fun it was. It was the perfect time to revisit it.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows teenager Michael (Furlong) who lost his mom in a car accident when he was young. His father is always away for business so he is left with his vices which just happens to be horror. He finds an ad for a new game, Brainscan, in the most recent issue of Fangoria. The game promises to be unlike any other game and they ring true on the promise. When Michael tosses the game in he awakens sometime later covered in sweat after thinking he was killing someone in the game. That soon reveals itself to be half true when a man near him was murdered that night and he finds a severed foot in his freezer. The game mascot, The Trickster, reveals that he must continue the game of murder or he risks the police finding him out. **Spoiler Alert**
If someone would have told me the plot of this film before I watched it I doubt I would have tossed it in. It just sounds so fucking goofy when you say it out loud but the movie is fun and has several memorable moments.
The acting in this one is solid but the real star of the show is T. Ryder Smith who portrays The Trickster. The character is extremely fun and overly animated which is not what I was expecting. The rest of the cast does a great job but their characters are not as memorable as The Trickster. Hell, even Furlong’s character could be replaced and the film would still be just as enjoyable.
The story for this one is a little out there and goofy. I liked the character that comes out of the game but the game tricking you into killing is a little too far of a stretch. If the movie would have relied solely on that to get the film moving it would have failed in the cringiest of ways. Luckily, the movie is able to stay grounded with the police investigation aspect and the world crumbling around Michael. The movie is smooth and the scenes have enough interesting dialogue and story lines to keep the viewer’s attention.
Finally, the film is from 1994 and it shows. We get some great practical effects and make up along with some extremely dated computer effects. I loved the way the Trickster looked and some of the practical effects but the visual effects did not hold up the last 25 years. Some of them were laughable but there was one or two gags that actually looked decent for 1994. Overall, Brainscan is painfully 90s. The visual effects and story fit right at home there but the film still entertains even though it is very dated. The Scream Factory release is leagues better than the Mill Creek one. The only reason you should own the Mill Creek release is for Mindwarp. Check it out on blu!
NEW Audio Commentary with assistant to the director Tara Georges Flynn
NEW A Virtual Debut – an interview with screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker
NEW Talking With Trickster – an interview with actor T. Ryder Smith
NEW Merging Realities featuring interviews with special make-up effects supervisor Steve Johnson and special make-up effects artists Andy Schoneberg and Mike Smithson
NEW Musical Virtuosity – an interview with composer George S. Clinton
Trickin’ With Trickster: Vintage Behind-the-Scenes Fun on BRAINSCAN
Teaser & Theatrical Trailer