I love when hurricanes wreck havoc on any sort of plans you may want to make. Yes, I am being sarcastic with that comment. Now don’t get me wrong. I am by no means trying to make light of the seriousness of a hurricane, as I have been through a couple of them in my lifetime. I just hate when you try to make plans and then have to change or cancel them because you have no idea how bad the weather may be. Now that I got that off my chest, time to get on with Brain Twisters. Now this is one of the movies from the Sci-Fi Invasion box set and I have a vague recollection of this movie from the first time I watched it but don’t really remember much about it. Now let’s see exactly what type of movie it is.
The plot: A woman is jogging along a road in the woods when she is run down by a car that had swerved to hit her. Meanwhile, Dr. Phillip Rothman is conducting experiments on consenting students to test their brain wave patterns when exposed to random patterns of colors and lights. As he is conducting the experiment on a girl named Yvonne, he receives a call from Wrightnour, his financial backer for the experiments he is performing, saying that they might need to terminate the experiment. Rothman puts him on hold while he pays Yvonne for her participation, then argues against terminating the funding and says he will get the funding elsewhere but Wrightnour tells him that he signed an agreement so all of the equipment is theirs. Later, Rothman is teaching his class and as the class ends, Rothman talks with Laurie Stevens about her signing up for the work study program and he tells her to giver her a list of her free time so that he can schedule her appropriately. Meanwhile, Denise is walking with her boyfriend Ted out of class and accidentally bumps into a landscaper as they leave the building. She apologizes but the man just stares at her and Ted calls the man a creep but as he looks up at the sun, he starts to space out. Later that night, Ted takes Denise back to her apartment but she tells him she will see him tomorrow, as she plans on working out with Laurie that night, which upsets him. As Denise is getting ready, someone breaks into the apartment and attacks her and when Laurie gets there, she finds Denise has been hanged. Laurie calls the police and she is questioned for a while by one of the officers before Detective Frank Turi takes over, asking her about Ted and where he might be. Meanwhile, another student, Michelle, goes to see Rothman and attempts to seduce him into giving her a better grade but Rothman doesn’t fall for it and offers to let her take part in the experiments to help her get a better grade and she reluctantly agrees. The next day, Frank has Laurie go with him to the restaurant that Ted works at and when she points him out, Frank approaches Ted and asks to speak with him alone. Frank starts asking Ted some questions about his being with Denise last night but the lights from the nearby pinball machine begin to affect Ted, causing him to attack a customer. When Frank pulls him off the guy, Ted pushes Frank away, then stumbles around before jumping out the window and falling to his death. Later, Frank asks if any tests were done to Ted’s body to see if he was the one to kill Denise and he learns that Rothman’s company had claimed it and taken it with them. Frank goes to see Rothman and tells him they need Ted’s body to prove or disprove he is Denise’s murder and when Rothman refuses to hand it over, saying Ted had signed an agreement to donate his body to the foundation but Frank hands him a court order remanding Ted’s remains to the county morgue for autopsy. Rothman tells him he has an urgent matter to attend to but he will be back in an hour to let him have the body. When Frank returns with a hearse and some officers, he discovers that Rothman had severed Ted’s head and placed it in a jar and angrily tells Rothman that he needs the head as well as the body. As Frank leaves, Laurie arrives at Rothman’s lab and confronts him about how he questioned Ted but Frank tries to defend himself. As the body bags are wheeled out, Frank tells her about Rothman having Ted’s head in a jar, causing Laurie to be a little disturbed about Rothman’s actions. Laurie heads into the lab and Rothman tells her she could go home if things are to disturbing but she wants to be there to keep her mind off Denise and Ted’s deaths. Later, Frank is back at the precinct and has his partner tell him the information he has found out about Rothman when their Captain interrupts them and calls Frank into his office. When Frank gets there, he finds Rothman seated inside and the Captain tells Frank that Rothman has a court order for Ted’s remains. Rothman taunts Frank by saying the same words Frank told him earlier, then tells them he just wants Ted’s head. After he leaves, Frank asks how he managed to get the court order so fast and the Captain says that he must have some connections. That night, Michelle shows up at the lab to take part in the experiment and Rothman places her in the chair before starting the program. The next day, Yvonne is swimming in the school pool with Laurie but she spaces out as she stares at the shifting reflection in the pool. Yvonne’s boyfriend shows up and offers to take them to get some food but says he needs to get his car washed first. As they go through the car wash, the lights, foam, and brushes trigger a reaction in Yvonne, causing her to jump out of the car and run off. Meanwhile, Frank and his partner go see Rothman and asks him about a former student at another school who killed himself and tell him that Ted had killed Denise as well as another girl, which shocks Rothman. Meanwhile, Yvonne is taking a bath while a costume party is going on downstairs but when the bubbles set her off, she wanders downstairs in her robe and proceeds to kill her boyfriend and his friend, then breaks down in tears as she snaps out of whatever trance she was in. As the authorities arrive and Yvonne is taken away in an ambulance, Frank notices Rothman had arrived at the scene and comments about it being a coincidence that so many of his students seem to be killing people recently. Rothman heads to a bar and after a few drinks, he calls Wrightnour and chastises him for not telling him about his former student’s death and that they should cancel the experiments as they are damaging the kids’ brians. Wrightnour tries to pacify Rothman but when Rothman hangs up on him, due to the flashing lights at the club triggering a response in him, Wrightnour tells the board that they should get rid of him. At the club, Rothman is staring around watching people and when a bouncer tries to escort him out of their, Rothman hits him in the head with a bottle, smiling as he does so, then leaves. The next day, Frank is told that they are dropping the murder cases, as the feds are taking over the investigation. He calls Laurie to talk to her and invites her to dinner, telling her he will cook, and she accepts but is unaware that Rothman was listening in to their conversation. Later, Laurie leaves her apartment to get some groceries and while she is out, two men enter her apartment. That night, Frank cooks dinner at Laurie’s apartment and he asks her a couple of questions about what she does for Rothman but Laurie doesn’t feel comfortable talking about her work. Later, as Frank handles the dishes, Laurie turns on the TV when someone overrides the signal and displays a flashing pattern of colors. Laurie heads into the kitchen, picking up a knife on the way, but when she approaches Frank, she suddenly kisses him and one of the men that had rigged her apartment calls someone and tells them that the plan failed. Back at the apartment, Laurie pushes Frank away, saying she isn’t normally like this, and when Frank goes to ask her a favor when she is at work, she yells at him to get out. The next day, Frank is sitting outside Rothman’s building as Rothman arrives for class. Inside, Rothman is giving a lecture but the color from the projector light causes him to stumble over his words and when he sees Frank in the room, he cancels class, then yells at Frank to leave him alone. Later that day, Laurie calls to apologize to frank for the night before but as Frank talks with her, his Captain tells him Rothman filed a complaint so he is suspended for 2 weeks. The next day, Laurie shows up to work and Rothman talks to her about Frank being her lover, then talks about how much he likes her and offers to get her some ice cream. As soon as he leaves, Laurie starts looking around and reads some of his files and when he returns, she makes up an excuse and leaves. That night, Michelle and her boyfriend Roger break into the lab and Michelle activates the machine and gets inside. When it finishes, She exits the machine and Roger wants to leave but she kisses him before ripping out his throat with her fingernails. At her apartment, Laurie is watching the video of Rothman undergoing the experiment when Rothman knocks on her door, attempting to explain what is going on. When he angrily starts banging on the door, Laurie calls Frank but gets his answering machine. Rothman breaks into her apartment and attempts to kill her but a spinning crystal chandelier stops him and he quickly leaves. Rothman heads back up to his lab and finds Wrightnour inside and when Rothman says he is out, Wrightnour tells him he isn’t finished yet, then he walks out of the room as Frank’s partner enters and shoots Rothman. Wrightnour tells Frank’s partner to kill Laurie and he heads over there while Wrightnour oversees the removal of all the equipment for the experiment. Frank drives by Lauries place and sees his partner pull a gun on him so he continues driving, then circles around and rams his truck into his partner, killing him. Wrightnour tells the truck driver where to take the equipment, then gets into his limo and tells his driver to drive but the driver’s head leans back, revealing his throat has been ripped out and Michelle appears in the passenger seat, then crawls back and kills Wrightnour. Frank and Laurie arrive at the lab and see it has been empty and Michelle is sitting in Rothman’s chair with a blank look on her face. Laurie tells Frank she thinks they did something to her the other night and asks if she is still affected. Frank assures her she will be fine and as he comforts her, Michelle bursts through the glass window on the door, screaming out like mad. Some time later, a kid is playing video games and when his mom tells at him to come down for dinner, the kid gets an angry look on his face and yells down, “I’ll be right there, Mother!”, indicating the game was using the graphics pattern that Rothman’s machine was using.
This movie had a lot of potential as far as the plot went but it ended up falling a little flat in reality. The acting was ok, with Farrah Forke doing a decent job as Laurie. I also thought Joe Lombardo was good as Frank but Terry Londeree felt too monotone in his character of Rothman. The story was actually pretty interesting but I felt like they could have done a better job of really explaining what was going on. I mean, you don’t really figure out that Rothman’s experiment is turning people into killers until almost halfway through the movie. The special effects in the movie mainly consisted of a lot of flashing lights, which is honestly enough to give anyone a headache. Meanwhile, the action scenes were a lot of slow motion effects for the most part, which really killed any sort of tension they had going for them. I wish they were able to live up to the potential but it is simply a passable bit of time killing fluff.
Rating: 2 out of 5