(brain)scanning the 90s for a unique take on the slasher…

brainscan cover

The 1994 flick Brainscan is one of those forgotten 90s horror films that’s actually better than most of the crap that came out in the early part of that decade.

Young Edward Furlong, who’d already begun his horror career with Pet Sematary II (example of early 90s crap), plays a mopey, horror-loving 90s teen (the movie is so 90s) who has a pretty advanced computer system for the 90s. He gets this virtual reality video game called Brainscan—in which the player is the killer in a virtual slasher! Problem is, when Edward stops playing the game, he soon realizes the murder really happened! Cool!

brainscan edward

You would think that the solution to the problem would simply be to not play the game anymore. Unfortunately, along with the game comes this freaky dude Trickster, who emerges from the TV and visits Edward in his room—informing him that he has to continue playing the game to hide evidence that points right to him as the killer!

brainscan trickster

Trickster brings to mind a much nastier, more goth version of Drop Dead Fred. He’s devilishly funny at times, but he’s also an evil S.O.B. He really could have been a major horror icon if there had been more Brainscan films. But the truth is, Trickster doesn’t even do any of the killing! Every time Edward goes back in the game to cover his tracks from the last murder, it’s game over for someone else!

There’s impressive and unexpected gore effects and brutal kills, yet the movie retains a teen movie innocence that no longer seems to exist in horror films; kids in today’s movies always seem like a bunch of pricks you want to die.

brainscan tv

The movie has a sort of Elm Street 2 premise, with virtual reality replacing dreams as a means to everyone else’s end and Edward eventually going after the girl next door. The film also kind of reminds me of the 1986 heavy metal horror flick Trick Or Treat.

While the twist is fun, it’s followed by a final tag you can totally guess. It’s not the most memorable zinger and is a bit of a letdown. It would have been less of a letdown if they’d made a sequel.

And finally, the hardcore soundtrack includes Primus, Butthole Surfers, and White Zombie. But the ultimate song on the soundtrack is the creepy theme music that plays throughout the movie!

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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One Response to (brain)scanning the 90s for a unique take on the slasher…

  1. joshuaskye says:

    “kids in today’s movies always seem like a bunch of pricks you want to die…”

    Right! This was, in my humble opinion, the biggest downfall of the Fright Night remake. They turned lovable, bumbling, boy-next-door hero Charlie Brewster into a disloyal social climbing asshole, completely unlikable in any way. I wanted the little douche bag to die, and watched the entire movie to see if they might just have the balls to off him. Nope. How were we supposed to get behind such an unlikable character? I didn’t like the new Peter Vincent either.

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