Brain Dead (1990)

# 14858 IMDb R 

Brain Dead (1990

taglineFrom the writer of the original "Twilight Zone" comes the most terrifying film of the decade.

Director: Adam Simon

Stars: Bill Paxton, Bill Pullman, Lee Arenberg, George Kennedy, Bud Cort

Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller (1h 25min)


Rated 6.0 after 3,074 votes on 17-Oct-18.


Dr. Rex Martin is a leading neurosurgeon specializing in the cerebral misfunctions that cause mental illnesses, whose expertise is called up by an old school chum, Jim Reston, who is now part of the mega-corporation Eunice. Reston needs Dr. Martin's help in extracting crucial data from the mind of John Halsey, once a top mathematician at Eunice, now a paranoid at the local asylum. Can Dr. Martin help both Halsey and his friend, or is he getting caught up in a corporate nightmare from which he may never escape?


Bill Pullman Bill Paxton Bud Cort Nicholas Pryor Patricia Charbonneau George Kennedy Lee Arenberg

Bill Pullman (Rex Martin), Bill Paxton (Jim Reston), Bud Cort (Jack Halsey), Nicholas Pryor (Man in Bloody White Suit / Ramsen / Ed Conklin), Patricia Charbonneau (Dana Martin), George Kennedy (Vance), Brian Brophy (Ellis), David Sinaiko (Berkovitch), Lee Arenberg (Sacks), Andy Wood (Brain Surgeon), Maud Winchester (Crazy Anna), Lisa Moncure (Board Member), Jon Kellam (Board Member), Willie Garson (Board Member), John Paxton (Board Member), David Sklare (Board Member), Cynthia Ettinger (Nurse Anderson), Shannon Holt (Toni), V.J. Foster (Fred (as Jeff Foster)), Brent Hinkley (Dewey), Deirdre O'Connell (Mrs. Halsey), Ann Vincent (Halsey's Aunt), Dorothy Vincent (Halsey's Aunt), Kyle Gass (Anaesthetist), Dean Robinson (Valet), Mark Boothby (Neighbor / Eunice Security Guard), Steve Ruggles (Restaurant Manager), Adam Lima (Bus Boy), Jesse Douglas (Canteen Attendant), Patti Tippo (Resident (as Patti Tipo)), Barney Burman (Experimental Face), Laura McCorkindale (Dancing Madwoman), Roscoe Pound (Wrong Man), William Simon (Doctor in Lobotomy Film), Alexander von Roon (Himself)


Charles Beaumont (screenplay), Adam Simon (screenplay), Charles Beaumont (story)

Produced by

Julie Corman (producer), Lynn Whitney (associate producer)



The great Taoist master Chuang Tzu once dreamt that he was a butterfly fluttering here and there. In the dream he had no awareness of his individuality as a person. He was only a butterfly. Suddenly, he awoke and found himself laying there, a person once again. But then he thought to himself, "Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?"

This quote is being used in the film and clearly illustrates the basis of the brilliant screenplay. The claustrophobia of not knowing reality from imagined reality is very real in this film. Earlier acts by Bill Pullman, and Bill Paxton make for a real viewing pleasure. But the real star of the film is Bud Cort (Harold, from the film Harold and Maude). Set designs and lighting make for a fine surreal experience. This movie is a great one with a fine story, fine actors, fine cinematography, special-fx and direction. The music sounds like synths left over from the 80's. But that adds to the B-effect of the film. Highly recommended.

Memorable quotes

Jim Reston: [Reston proposes a chain of brain surgery boutiques with an unique advertising campaign] Had a bad childhood? We can fix it!

4 total 


Dr. Rex Martin (Bill Pullman) mentioned that he went to "Miskatonic University", the college where Re-Animator (1985) took place. Miskatonic University is supposedly located in Arkham, Massachusetts, a fictional town created by H.P. Lovecraft.

5 total 



Other titles

Lobotomie (Canada (French title) (dubbed version)) • Sanglante paranoïa (France (video title)) • Мертвый мозг (Soviet Union (Russian title)) • Paranoia (USA (alternative title))



Australia:M / France:16 / Germany:16 / United Kingdom:15 / United States:R



Added on


15,703 movies | 9,790 in HiDef | 250 of TOP#250 | 15,703 posters | 83,627 photos | 200,891 biographies