Time to say goodbye to the horror genre and get back to the good old fun campy B-movies that I love. Today’s movie is the second of two original movies made for Sci-Fi Channel (yes, back before they changed their name to Syfy for marketing purposes) that starred Bruce Campbell. I remember seeing the commercials for this movie before it’s debut and thinking it looked incredibly silly, but a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch it when it debuted because of other things happening at the time but I would catch it when it was replayed and enjoyed it immensely. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Man With The Screaming Brain.
The plot: In Bulgaria, a gypsy named Tatoya is trying to find a husband but when the men she selects rejects her, she proceeds to kill them. Meanwhile, William Cole, a wealthy CEO, has arrived in Bulgaria with his wife Jackie for business but is unhappy at how “unAmerican” the country is. Tired of waiting for his ride to pick them up, he hires a Russian cab driver named Yegor to take them to their hotel. Elsewhere, Pavel is having fun with a robot creation when his boss, Dr. Ivanov, calls him over to show him he has succeeded in creating a drug that will allow two brain cells to be successfully and safely merged. With his trials looking successful, he tells Pavel that William Cole is going to be coming to their company and hopefully invest in it but as he celebrates with Pavel, he doesn’t notice the calls on his slide disintegrating. Back in the cab, William continues to complain about how things are in Bulgaria, insulting Yegor for not being more American. When they get stuck in traffic, William asks Yegor to find another way to the hotel and they end up driving through Gypsy Town. As they drive through the neighborhood, they almost hit Tatoya, who stares them all down before moving aside so they can keep driving. After an encounter with some would-be car thieves, Yegor arrives at the hotel and William offers him some more money to be his driver for the duration of his trip and asks that he take Jackie shopping after dropping him off at his meeting. After getting settled into the hotel, William leaves for his meeting and bumps into the maid, who happens to be Tatoya, and recognizes her but can’t remember from where. Learning that William is in town, Dr. Ivanov her Pavel type up a letter to send to him but after Ivanov leaves the room, Pavel decides to write a different letter instead. As William attends a meeting to complete an unfinished mass transportation system through the country, Yegor takes Jackie shopping but the two end up flirting and eventually having sex in Yegor’s cab. After his meeting, William tries to get a hold of Yegor but fails so he is given a ride back to his hotel. When he gets there, Pavel meets him outside and delivers his letter to him but William refuses to go with him. When William enters his room, he finds Tatoya in there and after talking for a few minutes, they end up kissing, but Tatoya uses the opportunity to pick William’s pockets. William pushes her away when she says they belong together just as Jackie shows up. Tatoya quickly leaves and as William and Jackie argue, William discovers he was robbed while Jackie decides to leave him. William heads down to the employee’s area of the hotel and confronts Tatoya, who runs away from him. When he follows her outside, Tatoya hits him in the head with a pipe, splitting open his head. Yegor, who had seen Jackie running from the hotel, goes to see what happened and finds Tatoya standing over William’s body. Yegor asks her what she has done and it is revealed that they were engaged and that the ring Yegor gave William was actually their wedding ring and Tatoya ends up killing Yegor as well. When the bodies are discovered, Jackie is told that they can keep his body alive with machines but the brain damage he suffered makes William essentially brain dead and so she tells them to pull the plug. Jackie then heads to Gypsy Town to confront Tatoya but as the two fight, Tatoya grabs Jackie and throws her down the stairs, killing her. Dr. Ivanov and Pavel grab the bodies of William and Yegor and use parts of Yegor’s brain to repair the damaged portions of William’s brain. After the surgery, Ivanov revives William and tries to explain what happened but William begins having flashbacks to his death, but seen through someone else’s eyes. A panicked William races out of the lab and as he wanders through the city, he starts hearing Yegor’s voice, and it is shown that Yegor is able to control the left half of his body. Deciding to try and work together to survive, Yegor instructs William into stealing a car, getting some clothes, and getting some food. As they are in a restaurant, they read a newspaper and see an article about William and Jackie’s deaths, causing William to remember who he is and who he is sharing the brain with. Suddenly, William screams out that his brain is on fire and works on trying to cool down, then comes to an agreement with Yegor to go get revenge on Tatoya for killing them both. Meanwhile, Ivanov and Pavel grab Jackie’s body and place her brain into a robot doll that Pavel had built. When they turn it on, Jackie gains control of the robot and heads off to get revenge on Tatoya and Ivanov sends Pavel off to recapture her. After mistakenly grabbing a woman who looks like the robot, Pavel sees Jackie get on a bus and tells Ivanov the bad news. Jackie eventually finds Tatoya trying on wedding dresses and attacks her but Tatoya manages to shoot Jackie and escape. As she is leaving, William sees her and chases after her, eventually jumping onto the hood of her car to try and stop her. Tatoya ends up wrecking her car to avoid running into Pavel’s van, who is knocked unconscious when he wrecks. William finds his leg pinned under the car, which is leaking fuel, and Tatoya lights it on fire in order to kill him. As the flames head towards the car, Jackie lifts the car off of William and tells him to run and he does before it explodes, seemingly killing Jackie. William follows Tatoya into a bar, where she tells the patrons that he raped her on her wedding day. The bar patrons proceed to beat up William but he manages to fight back and beat them but when he gets outside, he collapses as the serum starts to break down. Tatoya tries running but the damaged Jackie grabs her and attempts to throw her off the bridge but Tatoya stabs her in the head and then throws her off the bridge. Seeing this happen, William chases after Tatoya, who makes her way down into the sewers, and the two end up fighting. When Tatoya tries to stab William, she ends up falling over the railing and grabs on to keep from falling into the water below. William grabs her and lifts her back onto the edge but does so only to take the ring off of her finger before letting her fall to her death. As William exits the sewer, he sees Jackie’s body and goes to see her, finding her almost out of power. Pavel shows up and William begs him to help her so he tries to jump start her battery to preserve her life. Pavel is successful and Jackie has enough power to say goodbye to William before her power shuts down, with William collapsing shortly afterwards. Ivanov calls Pavel, saying he solved the problem with the serum breaking down and Pavel explains what happened. Ivanov tells Pavel to bring the bodies back to his lab and after Pavel hangs up, he sees Tatoya’s body floating down the water and quickly grabs her out to use as well. Some time later, it is shown that Ivanov’s procedure has worked, as William is returned to life, with Yegor’s voice still in his head, and that Jackie’s brain was placed in Tatoya’s body, with the two having renewed their love for each other.
This is a really funny movie to watch and a great parody to some of the classic sci-fi movies from the 50’s, Bruce Campbell (William) was great, with equal parts physical comedy and tongue in cheek dialogue making for a lot of funny moments, especially when he would be arguing with Yegor about what they should do. Stacy Keach (Ivanov) and Ted Raimi (Pavel) were both great in their roles as well, doing good jobs as the mad scientist and bumbling assistant respectively. The story was pretty good and really seemed to have fun parodying some classic movies, such as The Thing With Two Heads and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. There wasn’t a lot of special effects involved but the few times they were involved looked really good. On the flip side, I thought the pure fakeness of the robot Jackie made for a lot of laughs and really added to the charm of the movie. A great movie worth watching if you need some laughs and are just in the mood for some mindless entertainment.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5