Written by: Pieter Boven on October 9th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1990
Director: Adam Simon
Writers: Charles Beaumont, Adam Simon
Cast: Bill Pullman, Bill Paxton, Bud Cort, Nicholas Pryor, Patricia Charbonneau, George Kennedy
DVD released: January 25, 2005
Running time: 80m45s
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Fullframe
Sound: English, French Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
DVD Label: Opening
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (France)
Retail Price: 5-10 EUR
The Film :
Dr. Martin is active in experimental brain research. One day his friend Jim, working for a large corporation, asks for his help. Halsey, one of their top mathematicians, has gone mad and has destroyed the results of his top secret research. Jim wants Dr. Martin to put his experiments into practice and get those results from Halsey’s brain. Or if it fails, make sure no one else can get them. Dr. Martin reluctantly agrees but becomes the victim of a car accident. From then things start getting weird as Dr. Martin is plagued by dreams and hallucinations. He may not even be who he thinks he is…
The movie is presented in 1.33:1 fullscreen but according to IMDb the original aspect ratio is 1.85:1 widescreen. Fortunately though, seeing there’s a lot of headroom, it appears to be a fullframe transfer and not a horrible pan & scan one. Although somewhat grainy the image looks nice. Colours and sharpness are good and there are basically no blemishes.
We get the original English audio and a French dub in dolby digital 2.0 stereo. They both sound fine, a bit hollow maybe, but the French dubbing is pretty awful so stick to the English track. There are optional French subtitles.
We get a simple but effective animated menu. Although there is no scene selection, the movie is divided in 9 chapters. The only real extra is an unsubtitled English language theatrical trailer (1m43s) that looks noticeably worse than the movie.
Even though this movie stars Bill Pullman, who for some reason reminds me of a 3rd rate Jeffrey Combs, I was pleasantly surprised. It seems impossible to really understand what is going on but it kept me entertained with its plot twists and the short runtime is also an advantage.
Since this DVD is another one of those elusive French kiosk releases, it’s probably too hard find for most people. Luckily Brain Dead is also available on DVD in the UK and USA. I couldn’t find much info but the contents appear to be similar, a fullframe transfer and a trailer.