Sunday, May 2, 2010

Man in two minds because of mad science

The Man With the Screaming Brain (2005)
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Vladimir Kolev, Tamara Gorsky, Stacey Keach, Ted Raimi, and Antoinette Byron
Director: Bruce Cambell
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

After Ugly American industrialist William Cole (Campbell) and his Bulgarian gangster driver (Kolev) are murdered by a sexy-but-psychopathic Gypsy woman (Gorsky), Cole is resurrected by Russian mad scientist Ivan Ivanovich (Keach) as a proof-of-concept for his revolutionary brain surgery technique. Unfortunately, Ivanovich's methods involve transplanting parts of brains into other brains, so Cole now has to contend with sharing his mind and body with a gangster. One thing they can both agree upon: They want revenge on the Gypsy who murdered them.

"The Man With the Screaming Brain" is part homage, part hilarious spoof of the "mad science" B-movies of the '50s and '60s. We've got greed, lust, mad science, brain transplants, a killer robot, more stereotypes and oddball plot-twists than you can count, and a truly bizarre tale of a failing marriage revitalized by tragedy and twists of fate. Oh, and we have Bruce Campbell speeding through a Bulgarian city on a pink Vespa!

While I think the storyline is a bit shakey--it's actually overburdened by a few too many gags and B-movie plot mainstays tossed in for the movie's own good--it holds together well enough and it should be great fun for fans of Bruce Campbell and the cheesy sort of sci-fi/horror movies it's spoofing. (Fans of contempary cultural reference comedy will be greatly amused by Ted Raimi's "Pavel" character... an up-and-coming mad scientist with a love of hip-hop who utters the line, 'Sounds like there is some shizzle going on down there my nizzle.')

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