In the mid-80s, director Kevin Tenney had a hit on his hands with Witchboard, but for me personally, it was never a favorite—I expected Tawny Kitaen’s possessed ass to start humping a Ouija board to “Here I Go Again” every time she was on screen (I’m still convinced the Whitesnake video is just deleted footage from the movie…).
Two years later, Tenney made one of my all-time favorite horror movies, Night of the Demons. If you expect to be my BFF, you are required to watch this movie, which isn’t much of a chore since I force you to watch it the first time you ever come to my house. I even wrote a blog about the entire series.
Tenney made some forgettable flicks here and there through the 90s, such as Pinocchio’s Revenge. I’d never even bothered following his career because nothing could ever compare to Night of the Demons. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon his latest, 2007’s Brain Dead. Reviews were good online and it sounded just like my kind of zombie/demon/horror comedy.
Okay, let me get it out of the way. Brain Dead hasn’t topped Night of the Demons on my list of favorite horror movies of all time. It’s actually quite different in tone. Night of the Demons, while loads of fun, was still a serious horror movie, while Brain Dead is a total horror comedy—with tons of gore! Tenney has definitely been keeping up with horror trends, because his latest film is up there with some of my favorite gross out horror comedies of the past decade: Dead & Breakfast, Monster Man, Suck, Hatchet, Sean of the Dead, Infestation, Feast, Dead Snow, Slither. Wow, has my taste become predictable.
Even with its modern horror comedy humor and gore, Brain Dead also manages to deliver a campy 80s horror vibe in the style of Evil Dead, Night of the Creeps, and many of those awesome direct to DVD low-budget zombie flicks of the era with bad colorful monster makeup and bright red blood (think Redneck Zombies).
It all begins when a fisherman gets hit in the head by some sort of comet/falling star alien life form (you’ve heard this one before, I know) and turns into a horrific zombie with perfectly terrible makeup—or is that just a mask? They sure didn’t put a Night of the Demons budget into this makeup, but it looks nasty in the daylight anyway. I love horror movies that brazenly send their monsters out into the sunlight. This first alien zombie demon monster thing begins a chain reaction of brain eating, eye popping, slug and slime puking, living dead fun. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Adding to the party are two escaped convicts, a skinny dipping chick and her lesbian friend, and another bimbo who sluts around with a perverted, hypocritical reverend (will there ever be an upstanding and honest religious figure in a horror movie other than The Exorcist?). And of course, this sextet all ends up in the same cabin in the woods—complete with a shaky cam approach from the woods a la Evil Dead! The comic one-liners fly, jokes are made at the expense of hicks and rednecks, and the girls get into catty fights so bad you expect them to strip and start rolling around and making out in Jell-O at any moment. There’s plenty of slug puke, as well as a final confrontation that once again involves a trip back to Evil Dead territory as the survivors head down into the cabin’s damp and dingy basement! And speaking of going down…crotch shot time!
Sure, gone is all of Tenney’s creepy Night of the Demons atmosphere, but you can’t top perfection, so Brain Dead is a perfect diversion with modern/retro appeal. This is a definite party pleaser. Let the cherry cola flow and get that caffeine buzz going so you can get the full effect of this horror comedy.