Michael Scott

Moderator / Reviewer
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
4,688
Location
Arizona
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
Other Amp
Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
Front Speakers
Cheap Thrills Mains
Center Channel Speaker
Cheap Thrills Center
Surround Speakers
Volt 10 Surrounds
Surround Back Speakers
Volt 10 Rear Surrounds
Rear Height Speakers
Volt 6 Overheads
Subwoofers
2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
Video Display Device
Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
Brainscan


full?lightbox=1&last_edit_date=1534240627.jpg

Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :4stars:
Final Score: :3.5stars:



full?lightbox=1&update=1534240627.jpg
Movie

I have some rather fond memories of watching Brainscan back on late night HBO binges back in my teenage years, many years past when it sputtered onto the theatrical horror scene. The film really is an awful film from a technical standpoint, relying heavily on dated CGI and bad horror tropes, but has earned itself a cult status niche on home video over time. The 90s is widely considered the time when horror started to die out (at least for me personally) and the copious amount of horrible sequels for established franchises was the norm. Brainscan was actually a small blip on the radar back in 1994, but it was also at a time when most of the big boys were petering out. Mike Meyers was dead, Freddy and Jason were pretty much gone, and all that was left was weak sequels to the Chucky movies and a few “flash in the pan” serial killers like Candyman. The time was ripe to put in a NEW master of evil, and that is where the introduction of the Trickster came into play.

Michael (Edward Furlong) is your average, every day, high school loser. He’s a misfit who hangs around with his best friend Kyle (Jamie Marsh) watching horror movies and being a peeping tom to his next door neighbor Kimberly (Amy Hargreaves). That is until he stumbles upon a new virtual reality game called Brainscan that promises to be THE leader in horror gaming. When he gets the game he dives right into the virtual reality world, playing a murder who hacks and slashes up a victim. Thinking it’s just part of the super realistic game, Michael is all excited, only to come out of the virtual reality set and find out he has a hacked off foot in his freezer. Realizing that all that he experienced in there was REAL, Michael decides to ditch the game, only to be confronted by cyber demon, Trickster (T. Ryder Smith). A being who has Michael by the hairs of his head and forces the teenager to continue playing the game and murdering people as he goes.

A deadly game of cat and mouse, Michael continues to play the game, slaughtering more innocent people as he goes, but continually looks for a way out. Hot on his tail is the suspicious detective Hayden (Frank Langella), who has more than a few suspicions about the young boy’s motives and whereabouts during the murders, and if the Trickster doesn’t take his soul at the end of the day, he will take the boy to prison.
full?lightbox=1&update=1534240627.jpg
Brainscan was one of those films that really started to capitalize on the advent of new technologies that the movie world really didn’t understand. It’s right at home with films like Hackers, Johnny Mnemonic, and The Net for sheer ludicrous takes on the internet and virtual reality, but it does so in such a cheesy way that it’s almost a nostalgic joy to watch the film. This time it’s about virtual reality in video gaming, opening up a new avenue for fear of technology to override logic. A little tidbit of info about the film. The character of the Trickster was actually not written in to the script until much later in the production. My guess is that he was chosen as a new “master of horror” to replace Jason, Freddy, or the other evil monsters that had their franchises fizzle out in the early 90s. Ryder plays the demented demon quite well, and it’s actually his twisted humor that adds a lot of the enjoyment to the film.

The film wasn’t really well received back in 1994, and the movie didn’t do a whole lot of money at the box office either. However it gained some notoriety back in the DVD days as one of those “lost” films of the early 90s. The acting is simply abysmal though, as the studio heads were coming off of Edward Furlong is a “thing” mentality due to his popularity in Terminator 2. The years between 1992 and 1995 had Furlong in a few roles, and most of them were so painfully received (the kid couldn’t act) that it cemented his demise in the acting community. Ryder was the standout actor as well as Frank Langella (who’s nothing more than a slightly enhanced cameo), with the rest of the actors being first timers. This adds to the charm of the film with a sort of “rough and raw” feel to it that fits the culture of the time, and the slapdash nature of horror films.




Rating:

Rated R for strong violence, and for language and some sexuality




Video: :4stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1534240627.jpg
Scream Factory hasn’t announced a 4K or 2K master for this set, so I’m assuming that the master used for this edition was a pre-supplied master for them and not a new effort. Still, the results are quite pleasing, as the cheap 90s film looks great on Blu-ray. The outdoor shots really benefit from high definition, showing off great clarity and a really nice grain layer that makes the disc looking stunning at times. You can see the individual sweat droplets on Edward Furlong’s face (he seems to sweat like a water fountain in the movie), as well as intimate clothing and background details. The darker scenes are a bit less brilliant, and have a tendency of smearing ever so slightly on fast motion in the dark. Grain levels also spike in the dark, but still provide plenty of shadow detail to the naked eye. Skin tones are natural, and the darkness of the film doesn’t rob it of any major details. All in all, while this may not be a brand new scan, the Scream Factory disc is really good looking.






Audio: :4stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1534240627.jpg
As with the video, the 2.0 DTS-HD MA stereo track for Brainscan is very nice. Surprisingly nice in fact. I was expecting a rather mediocre 2.0 track (as is the case with a lot of cheapo 90s horror films), but the mix is actually rather rich and aggressive. There’s some mild LFE built into the 2.0 track that adds some thump when the video game VR “access point” is activated, the front sound stage is decently spacious and wide. Vocals can be heard cleanly at all time, and the Nightmare on Elm Street inspired score is rich and potent enough to be more than acceptable.






Extras: :4stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1534240627.png
NEW Audio Commentary with assistant to the director Tara Georges Flynn
• NEW A Virtual Debut – an interview with screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker
• NEW Talking With Trickster – an interview with actor T. Ryder Smith
• NEW Merging Realities featuring interviews with special make-up effects supervisor Steve Johnson and special make-up effects artists Andy Schoneberg and Mike Smithson
• NEW Musical Virtuosity – an interview with composer George S. Clinton
• Trickin' With Trickster: Vintage Behind-the-Scenes Fun on BRAINSCAN
• Deleted Scene
• Behind-The-Scenes Footage
• Teaser Trailer
• Theatrical Trailer
• TV Spot
• Still Galleries






Final Score: :3.5stars:


Brainscan is one of those “so awful that it’s good” type of 90s schlock films. No one should expect any true “scares” from the movie due to the cheese dripping from every corner, but it’s an insanely fun watch if you go into it with a MST3K mentality. The special effects are cheap 90s fare, the acting proves that Edward Furlong doesn’t deserve to be NEAR a camera outside of Terminator 2, and the plot so cheesy that you can almost taste the cheddar coming from it. Scream Factory has done a bang up job with this release, making it a collector’s edition in all but name only. The scan is good, the audio great, and the thing is jam packed with more special features than many of their Collector’s Editions. Recommended as a fun nostalgic watch.



Technical Specifications:

Starring: Edward Furlong, Frank Langella, T. Ryder Smith
Directed by: John Flynn
Written by: Brian Owens (Story), Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH
Studio: Scream Factory
Rated: R
Runtime: 96 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 28th, 2018






Recommendation: Fun, Nostalgic Watch
 

tripplej

AV Addict
Joined
Jul 13, 2017
Messages
6,110
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
NAD T-777
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Oppo 103 Blu Ray Player
Front Speakers
7 Paradigm Reference series 8" in ceiling speakers
Subwoofers
2 Paradigm SE Subs
Other Speakers or Equipment
Nintendo Wii U Gaming Console
Video Display Device
Samsung UN75F8000 LED TV
Remote Control
Universal Remote MX-450
Streaming Subscriptions
Sony PS4 Gaming Console, Panamax MR-5100 Surge
Thanks for the review. I do like those so awful that it’s good” type of 90s schlock films so will check it out. :)
 

Todd Anderson

Editor / Senior Admin
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
8,016
Location
Balt/Wash Metro
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
StormAudio ISP.24 MK2
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
Other Amp
Denon X8500H
Computer Audio
AudioEngine A2+
DAC
THX ONYX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Kaleidescape TERRA, OPPO UDP-203, Panasonic UB9000
Front Speakers
GoldenEar Technology Triton One.R
Center Channel Speaker
GoldenEar Technology SuperCenter Reference
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC NX7
Screen
Seymour Screen Excellence, Enlightor NEO AT Screen
Streaming Equipment
iFi Audio Zen Blue
Streaming Subscriptions
Qobuz, TIDAL, Spotify, ROON
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F, ZeroSurge 8R15W x 2, ZeroSurge 2R15W x 2
That cover art is going to give me nightmares!!!!

You know October is coming when all of these titles start arriving...
 
Top Bottom