Brain Dead

Brain Dead

brain dead still

Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman team up as colleagues (or rivals?) in a Corman-produced oddity of 1990. We do our best to decode and parse out this low-budget Lynch-ian flick, directed by Adam Simon, the soon-to-be director of rental store shelf staple, Carnosaur. Check it out!

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Brain Dead (1990)

Episode 347, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd: Hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.

Craig: And I’m Craig.

Todd: Well, this week’s episode comes to you almost by accident. Really? Yep. Last week’s episode. Uh, I texted Craig and, uh, it was my turn to choose and I said, I wanna do brain damage. I gave him a link to the movie, everything I could possibly do except sit in the same room and push play in front of him.

And, uh, It turns out when we got on to record, you know, it’s, it’s okay. It happens to all of us. He misheard what I had said on email or whatever, and he ended up watching Brain Dead. Now, this is not Peter Jackson’s Brain Dead, which we’ve already done, which by which in the US goes by the title Dead Alive.

Mm-hmm. Which is an awesome movie, and you should totally go and listen to our episode on it. Mm-hmm. I freaking love that movie. But no, this was, um, a 1990 film called Brain Dead. Starring Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman. So random. Yeah, it’s so random. But you know, the funny thing about it is, is I was super excited.

So Craig went and watched last week, and then we came back to Brain Dead. We said, well, since you’ve already seen, you’ve taken notes on, I’ll watch it too. But I was excited because it was on my list. It had been on my list, and so I was like, good. At least now we have an excuse to, to knock another one off.

So I, I was really happy to watch it anyway because I had never seen it before, but it keeps popping up in my purview for some reason. And I’ve just been utterly fascinated by the fact that it stars Bill, bill Paxton and Bill Pullman. And I pretty sure that when Bill Paxton died, this was one of the movies we almost did, probably ended up doing, uh, was it near dark or no?

No, it was, um, Well, I don’t know. I, we did, 

Craig: we did Frailty. 

Todd: Yeah. We’ve done a couple frailty. Mm-hmm. We did Near Dark. Uh, I don’t remember what we did when he died, but anyway, at least I was definitely considering this movie when we died because it’s a Corman produced production. And by Corman, I think most of our longtime listeners, uh, and people who are well versed in the horror community and are just into the same things we are.

They know Roger Corman. Inside and out. The infamous director of, I don’t know, we call them be pictures. He says he never made a bee picture. You know, technically that’s true, but, you know, low budget features gave tons and tons of, now big name people. Uh, their first break in Hollywood never made a movie that didn’t make money and is still going strong producing films.

Mm-hmm. His wife, Julie Corman, who I believe he married in 1970, ended up going also producing movies for his company, and in fact, I think started her own company, but, In, uh, 1980, uh, 1990 ish, she had sent a bunch of interns into their vaults to go through a whole bunch of old scripts and figure out, is there anything here we can use or we can update or whatever, and we can produce.

And someone found this script from a guy named Charles Beaumont. I feel like I’m gonna go on a, a long rant here, uh, because there’s so many No, I wanna know. Well, there’s so many interesting people behind the scenes of this movie that I just feel like we have to call it out. Charles Beaumont. Uh, Very, very prolific writer of the fifties and sixties who has a very interesting story.

This guy ended up writing quite a few classic Twilight Zone episodes, wrote a lot of speculative fiction, sci-fi. You know, he’s a peer of like Ray Bradbury and, and Robert Bloch, and Harlan Ellison, and was widely respected and admired by those people. Wrote a ton of scripts for television and Hollywood.

Many of which weren’t produced, but he was. He was constantly writing. He had wild, crazy ideas. In 1954, Playboy magazine selected his story, Black Country, to be the first work of short fiction to appear. In Playboy magazine. Huh. Which is kind of incredible. I, I don’t know, for people today, like who even knows like what, what play?

Playboy magazine even isn’t even out. And most people when they think about Playboy, they’re like, oh yeah, there’s Girly Men’s Magazine that had lots of boobies and nude pictures. Which is true. Yeah. But it was also a very respectable magazine to get your fiction published in. Yeah. I mean, it. There’s, you’re no slouch.

Stephen King got a start in Playboy magazine. Yeah. So his short story was the first to be published in Playboy magazine. Yeah. That’s impressive. It’s really impressive. So, I mean, the, the pedigree is great and sadly, Sadly, in his mid thirties, he developed this sort of mysterious brain condition. He, he was known as a heavy drinker, but all of his peers said, no.

Look, it, it’s, it’s not the drinking that’s caused this. This is, this is beyond that. Uh, and the doctors couldn’t figure out what it was, but it was almost done. Sort of an Alzheimer’s type thing, but just where he became almost nonfunctional. And so he would, he had tons of writing assignments and he’d go into meetings with producers and things, and, and he just couldn’t hold his own, you know, he’d be practically incoherent by the end of it.

And so it, it was just a very, very sad decline. And he ended up dying when he was 38. Oh geez. I know. Just a beautiful mind cut short by disease and, uh, really, really sad, but, Even still by the age of 38, left an incredible body of work. Really interesting stuff. Um, you should go back and read some of it, honestly.

I’m going to. But anyway, he died in 1967, well before this movie was produced in, uh, in 1990. But he had written a script for Roger Corman way back in the sixties, and they dug it up and a guy named Adam Simon, who directed this, uh, decided to take it on and he updated it for the modern era. But, uh, boy, it’s an interesting, uh, concept and an interesting movie.

While we’re talking history of the film, I might as well talk a little bit about Adam Simon. Adam Simon. Uh, this was one of his first films. He, he directed some films for Roger Corman. Um, the later one that he did just a couple years after this, I think it was in 1993, was Carnosso. Oh 

Craig: yeah. I, I mean, I remember seeing it on the shelves, but I, I like this movie, saw it on the shelves, but never, never watched 

Todd: it.

I, I feel like you’re one of the few. I think Carnosaur, like everybody rented in 1993, it was definitely on the shelves. It was, it was obviously kind of on the heels of Jurassic Park. Right. So much like Roger Corman liked to do, you know, it was kind of a, I don’t wanna say knockoff cuz that’s not fair, but, you know, he released a killer dinosaur movie.

Yeah. And Jurassic Park was popular and, and it, it did, it did gangbusters for them. So, uh, Carnosaur is quite notorious. I saw it once. I remember it as being very entertaining. Um, and so, yeah, and, and, uh, if you’ve seen the Robert Altman movie, The Player mm-hmm. Which stars? Um, oh, what’s his name? Robbins, uh, Tim Timothy Robbins.

God, I love that movie. And there’s an opening sequence in that movie, which is, Pretty famous in its own right. That’s one of those like really, really long shots and it takes you through like a Hollywood studio while people are pitching things and there’s just kind of all kinds of chaos going on, as is often in Robert Altman movies.

He, he has a little bit of a star turn in that he is the producer who’s pitching a a story to, uh, The studio heads there and then gets kicked out of the studio. It’s kind of the director of this movie is in it. Yeah, the director of this movie. Yeah. Adam Simons. Gotcha. So it’s, it’s interesting. So, yeah, so Adam Simon, uh, took this on, and then here we get Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton.

This is a post-After Dark, post-Aliens Bill Paxton. I think shortly before he went on to do Twister and stuff, he was already, I think, a pretty well established star by this point. This is a pre-Independence Day Bill Pullman. Yeah. I think it was, what, 93 or so? 94 maybe that Independence Day came out. So these two guys in this movie alone will turn your head, right?

Yeah. In retrospect at least. And so yeah, it was shot on a quite a low budget of, of $1.5 million. And here we have Brain Dead, and I have talked too much. Have you seen this movie before, 

Craig: Craig? No. No, I’ve never seen it, but. I, I really did feel bad when we sat down to record for brain damage and I had to be like, uh, I watched the wrong movie, but it had never occurred to me that I might be watching the wrong movie because this so Seemed like something that you would pick.

Oh yeah. I was like, oh, this is, obviously Todd would pick this movie. I didn’t have any history with it. I did see it on the shelves. I remember the box art because it was just like a disembodied, stretched out face. Yeah, 

Todd: it’s intriguing, which 

Craig: is in like the first five minutes of the movie and really has nothing to do with the rest of it 

Todd: Is the best shot that could come up with that.

I know you 

Craig: th like, you think it’s gonna be a movie about this. You know, this face, like that’s the, that’s the monster. Uh, it remind, I’m not even a Dr. Who fan, but there’s like a Dr who villain that’s, you know, had so much cosmetic surgery. It’s just a big skin on a tarp. Uh, it reminds me of that, oh, it reminded 

Todd: me of Brazil.

You remember the kind of a famous scene in Brazil where the woman’s standing there and she’s getting her skin stretched, like, No. Maybe you never saw that? 

Craig: No, I don’t think I did. Okay. But this, yeah, no, I don’t have any history with it. I hadn’t seen it and, It’s so weird. Like everything about it is weird.

You, you mentioned the author, the story. So Yeah, like you said, the producer’s wife set out these interns to find scripts and this was the best one that they could find, and I could see how that could be because it seems like a really ambitious script. And I think that if you put. This script or you know, a version of it in the hands of like a Christopher Nolan who had a huge budget and Oh yeah.

And could do all kinds of like, twisty, interstellar, uh, effects or I think that it could still work cuz it re uh, I don’t know. It’s a unique story. Um, it reminded me of a lot of different movies. The fact that the bills. Are in It is just kind of bizarre, especially now that you’ve told me that they had both been working for a while.

I think maybe they hadn’t had their huge breaks yet, but they were fairly established. It almost just seems weird that they would take on such a low budget film and, and whoa. And even just watching it, you’re like, what are you doing here? That’s not to say. That I don’t like the movie. I actually think it’s really interesting.

It’s not to say that I don’t think that they are well cast or that they shouldn’t be there. It’s just odd to see these actors who would become such prominent forces in Hollywood in just a couple of years. To see them here. To 

Todd: be fair, bill Paxton also kind of came up through Roger Corman’s studio like so many famous actors did.

Yeah. And so I mean it by then, by now he’s graduated. Right. But I think that a lot of these guys will, will come back and, and surely feel an obligation to, you know, oh yeah, I’ll, I’ll go back and star cuz it’s a ton of fun and I might not make a lot of money, but you know, I’m making a movie and maybe I’ll meet some interesting people.

I Sure. I think Bill Paxton was, I think his first job in Hollywood, I could be wrong about this, but one of his first jobs in Hollywood was working alongside James Cameron on one of his first jobs in Hollywood working the, um, set design for Battle Beyond the Stars for Corman. And so yeah, I think we’ve talked about that before.

Yeah. Mm-hmm. And so, yeah, I mean, and I, I, I read something and I think it was recently I read where somebody was talking about the effects on a movie. I can’t remember which movie it was, but it was a Corman movie and somebody had said, Why are you this nice, well established effects artist who’s worked on big budget movies, coming back and working on this lame, low budget corpsman film, and he was like, well, number one, it’s a paycheck.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. It’s three weeks of solid work for me and this is Corman, and I’m gonna get to meet all these other PE up and coming people. He saw it as a networking opportunity. You know? Sure. Uh, cuz Corman had that reputation. He recognized talent he gave them. Opportunities and, you know, they had all meshed together and, and many of them would go on to greatness and so yeah.

That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. I can see why Bill Paxton might come back to this. Yeah. For well, and, and who 

Craig: knows, you know, maybe just cuz it sounded fun. I, I, who knows? It’s just from a pop culture standpoint, it’s just kind of odd to see these guys Yeah. Who would both become pretty big stars in this little movie.

But, uh, like I said, I do think it’s an ambitious movie. It’s got an interesting story. It’s weird. It is trippy. It is a trippy movie. I, how do you want to, 

Todd: I don’t know, because I was thinking about this too. You know, we, we, we’ve said this at, at the beginning of many podcasts, we’re like, we’re really not sure how we’re gonna talk about it, right?

Because it doesn’t really follow this linear framework that’s easy to kind of lay out the plot. I, I took a lot of notes on this movie, and I think most of my notes were plot. Because I wanted to be able to remember it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to because, cause it’s kind of abstract and speculative and Yeah.

Lynching in, in a way it’s 

Craig: challenging. Absolutely. It’s definitely Lynch in, 

Todd: I’m gonna put it right out in front. Uh, I think when I was younger and fresh eyed and, you know, the world was, Super interesting. I was into like esoteric things and challenging myself. This is the kind of movie that I really would’ve liked, right?

I probably would’ve sat up late at night afterwards with my friends trying to decode it and Parson figure out, well, what were they trying to say? What, what did it mean? Like what’s the, was this real or was that real? Or was this just a dream? Or, but it’s not at the level of sophistication that, for example, something like, uh, you mentioned Christopher Nolan, like inception.

Right where you kind of feel compelled to debate about it because you feel like you might decode something. I feel like this movie is the kind of movie, and maybe it’s just cuz I’m 45, I have like a little less patience for it because I don’t really give a rat’s ass, you know? I’m like, okay, it’s this ambiguous thing.

And is this a dream or is it not? I don’t really care. Can you tell me, please? Oh, you can’t. All right, I’m done. You know, like I don’t think I have the patience to try to parse this plot out, to figure out what was reality and what wasn’t. I, I’m not even sure there is an answer. Well, that’s 

Craig: probably why you took so many notes is because so much is going on that you watching it the first time, you don’t know what of this, do I need to be paying attention to?

What of this is going to be significant later on? And ultimately, Not much because the, the answer is pretty simple. But is it though still? I, yeah, 

Todd: I think so. Maybe you figured it out. I, I don’t know. I don’t know. I, I’m a little, I’m second guessing myself, so. All right. 

Craig: Well, I, I think that the plot’s really simple.

Uh, so Bill Pullman, hi is Dr. Martin. He does research on brains. He’s got, um, a whole lab full of brains in glass jars, literally. Yeah, and his assistant, he and his assistant are doing these tests on this brain where they’re like prodding it with something and they’ve got that like stretched out face, you know, that is like reacting, like they’re mapping the attached to it brain for.

Facial movements or whatever. By 

Todd: the way, this itself should be a movie. This is so remarkable that it is so just brushed over like, oh, this is just another one of his contraptions in his lap. Like, no, this is kind of amazing. Like you have a face that that is hooked up to a brain and a jar that is reacting to you probing it that yeah.

Can happen. 

Craig: And, and what I’ll say for this scene is that it, it sets it. Up. Well because it’s like, oh, okay, we’re, we’re into like some mad scientist ReAnimator, maybe Lovecraftian type of thing. This is, this is what we’re doing. And ultimately it is kind of that, but. That image is just left behind. Like, oh, that 

Todd: that was the thing.


Craig: never seen that. Yeah, right. It never really anything like it again. I mean, we do see more brain poking later, so I guess, okay, keep going. Get to the 

Todd: more brain poking. Well, it has to be said like you kind of glazed over it too, but like this guy has shelves of literal brains in jars in this, I mean, it is classic mad scientist and his assistant is almost his classic Igor.

Yeah. I mean, in the first. Five minutes of the movie, he’s asked to retrieve a brain. He climbs up on a ladder, tries to get a brain from a jar, immediately fumbles one, and it falls down and breaks, I mean, That’s like straight out of Frankenstein. Well, y y 

Craig: right? But, and there’s also a bunch of dialogue like Dr.

Martin is like chastising his assistant for not giving proper reverence to each of these brains because each of them was an individual person, a living entity, and each, you know, deserves his respect and like, Martin like talks to them

as though they can hear him. Yeah. Which is weird. But beyond that, he doesn’t really seem crazy. Maybe a little eccentric. No, sure. But you know, just a scientist, whatever. And then it cuts to an exterior shot of the building. And it looked to me just almost exactly like one of the dreams from Dreamscape when Yes, uh, the main character finds himself on top of a tall building and I just, I noticed it in that moment, but then continuing to watch through it, it reminded me stylistically a lot of dreams scape because, Much of it seems very dreamlike.

Yeah. In the way that it’s shot, in the way that it’s lit with kind of ethereal music in the background and stuff. Sometimes it’s, it’s. I don’t know. It reminded me quite a bit of that movie, actually, 

Todd: let me say that in retrospect, looking back at this opening of it, and like you said that, and the scene with him and the face and the brains and all that stuff, if I’m gonna give this movie a lot of credit, I almost feel like, I’m not even sure if this is real.

I’m wondering if they’re setting us up right now in a dream scape, right. 

Craig: And it 

Todd: could be because it’s so campy and unrealistic that it’s either just this super campy, low budget movie that’s asking a lot of us to swallow, or it’s deliberately trying to clue us in that this is not real. This is kind of dream.

Well, it’s either 

Craig: deliberately trying to clue us into that, or it’s deliberately trying to mislead us into thinking that, and you don’t really know. I mean ultimately ever. I guess I do think that there is an explanation, but I couldn’t be wrong. But anyway, whatever. Uh oh, his friend comes, well, yeah, his friend comes, but just before that he’s like standing, gazing out the window and, uh, his receptionist or his secretary, or says, Something says, are you okay Dr.

Martin? And he says, nothing, a little brain surgery wouldn’t take care of. And I did, did not catch that line at all. The first time around, I watched the, I re-watched the first half hour this morning to refresh my memory. Um, and that I was like, I didn’t notice that the first 

Todd: time. Oh, interesting. 

Craig: Right.

This to that, his friend comes, um, the other Bill Paxton, his name is Reston and Jim Reston, and they are, uh, high school friends or college friends or something. They went to school together. They were rivals over a girl who ended up marrying. Bill Pullman, but they’re also friends and rest. I don’t know.

There’s, I, I wrote down these weird lines like there, but by the grace of God, go, I, I was just thinking that about you. Showboat.

The universe is just don’t dream by the perception of illusion. We experience reality. The inscrutable professor ang, ah, see the liberal arts course pays off after all, and then they just carry on a conversation as though that would be a normal. Like they don’t continue talking about that. They just care.

Continue on in conversation as though what they just said was a totally normal thing to say. So 

Todd: weird. Yeah. I felt like it was like, I feel like this was a fault of the script. It felt a little pseudo intellectual, you know, like, like they’re parlaying with each other on technical terms and things that they both already understand, but.

It comes across as a little silly and written. I think 

Craig: it does. It totally does. And it just, it was, to me, it just left me like scratching my head like, what, what are you talking about? Where did that come from? And, and, and then of course, you know, watching, knowing this is a movie, I’m like, I guess I better write that down.

Like, is that gonna be, is that gonna be, or there gonna be like more wet dream references? I. Oh gosh. Okay, so Reston tells Martin about this guy. Reston works for this, uh, company, this corporation called Eunice. Um, and he says they have this employee called named Halsey, and uh, he was. I don’t know, a scientist or something, and it’s really unclear.

Todd: I think here 

Craig: he was working on this really important project and he came up with this really, really important equation and that he, Reston just keeps saying, I need those numbers. I need those numbers. But then this guy, Halsey, apparently went nuts and killed his whole family and now is catatonic and, and or, or crazy.

Like he’s just insane. And he’s in a loony bin and Reston wants Martin to go. I guess Martin’s specialty is paranoia, like that’s, he’s figuring out how paranoia works in the brain or whatever. So he asks, Reston asks him to go talk to this Halsey and Martin is reluctant at first, but ultimately he goes, and there’s this wackadoodle scene in the.

Loony Ben, I guess. Mm-hmm. Where he walks in and a woman is like doing a ballet and singing. Like, look at me, I’m dancing. Oh, I’m dancing. Look at me. 

Todd: It’s so like, uh, what happening? We’ve talked about this before, how these movies show Sanitariums is just these like, just like a Willy Wonka type places of crazy people just watering around doing nutso things out in the open.

Uh, it’s a little silly, but, 

Craig: but again, here it’s so surreal. Yeah. That you wonder, is this even real, like, is it, as we’ve seen a bazillion times, a stupid portrayal of what an insane asylum looks like? Or is it intentionally heightened? Because, yeah, it’s not. Real. Right. And, and, and the music. Uh, this part I have written down that the style and the music reminded me a lot of tales from the crypt because this whole transaction, it seems like between Ralston or whatever his name is, and, and Martin, and trying to find the numbers and there being these high stakes, it felt very much.

Like it’s hails from the crypt plot. Oh. And stylistic, like, 

Todd: we’re getting right to the meat of it, and it’s kind of, uh, all hyped 

Craig: and, and Right, right. And, you know, there’s, I anticipate there’s gonna be some twist, you know, this, this innocent, uh, Dr. Martin is getting sent into this project. He doesn’t really know what he’s getting into.

And, uh, it’s, it’s gonna be weird. Well, and ultimately it is, I guess, 

Todd: The movie calls our attention to some odd things too. Um, I don’t remember if it’s now or if it’s a little later where he’s walking in and there’s a bum who approaches him and this guy, like, that’s later. 

Craig: Oh, is it? Okay. It’s, it’s after he talks to, uh, Halsey, cuz he talks to Halsey and Halsey’s like, ah, yeah.

Uh, there’s this. Conlan is out to get me, and, uh, he’s here in the hospital and he’s trying to kill me, and he, he screwed my wife, uh, right there on the factory floor. And, um, he’s obviously crazy and paranoid, but I don’t know. He, you don’t really know what’s going on. Um, Reston. One. So he goes to la Okay. So I say he goes to Lakeside to see him and then he does do some tests on him.

And he does find the paranoia mal or paranoia abnormality in his brain. And Reston basically says, well, can you cut that out? And uh, Martin says, well, maybe I can. And it might work. He might get all of his memories back. He might get those numbers back and Reston says, well, what’s the other alternative?

And he says, well, he may lose everything. But ultimately that, that’s good for the corporation. They’re fine with either. Yeah, right. They’re fine with either, because if, if they can’t get the numbers back, at least there’s no risk of somebody else getting ahold of him. And then I feel like this is the point where he walks out and he’s carrying a brain in a jar.

And you’re right, this homeless guy. Accost him. It’s like, that’s my fucking brain. No. Yes. My fucking brain. No, it’s my brain. Sir, there must be some mistake. There’s no mistake in my brain. My brain, that’s my brain. My brain. No, you have own brain. Fucking brain. Mine. Fucking, I’m afraid that it is mine. The brain.

I don’t know how this happens, but. Dr. Martin ends up getting thrown in front of a truck. He gets hit by the truck, his head gets smashed on the windshield. You see blood and you see the br, the brain jar shatter and the brain smash in the street. And then Martin, just like, he’s just like back at his office, 

Todd: right?

Yeah. There the Conlan company is some logo on the side of this car. 

Craig: Yes. Yes. And that’s the guy that Halsey had said was trying to kill him. Mm-hmm. 

Todd: And you’re right. And now, um, Martin is suddenly walking down the hallway to his lab and 

Craig: like nothing happened. And, and yeah, it’s, it’s weird. It’s like the moo.

You feel like you missed something like, like there’s a missing scene or something because Yeah, like, because he’s, he, he’s fine. There, there’s just no explanation. It’s, it’s weird. 

Todd: Yeah. But, but when he gets to his lab, there’s this new guy, Ellis, who’s taken over it, and I mean, it’s obvi. He’s like, sorry to hear about your grant.

Like he’s lost his grant and now he’s taking over and he’s talking about how, uh, his grant’s been doubled meanwhile, and he needs to clear the shelf space, so he’s gonna get rid of all the brains. It’s, it’s kind of over acted evil guy stuff. It’s very heightened. And the assistant ends up pulling down all the shelves.

It’s, it’s like an accident or something, but all the shelves come down and all the brains and things shatter and then, Suddenly Martin wakes up 

Craig: on his couch at home, and now at the, from this point forward, we’re going to keep saying and then suddenly wakes up. That’s right. Because that’s what it feels like.

Like you have a scene and then it just jumps to another scene. Yeah. At one point you see a whole scene and then. It jumps back and you see it again like mm-hmm. I couldn’t, it’s so surreal the way that it, and I had no idea what was going on. He wakes up on his couch, his wife is like, are you okay? And he’s like, yeah, sorry.

I j I, I’m just a little bit out of it from the accident earlier. And she’s like, what accident? And he said, well, I, I had an accident, I think. And then they just don’t talk about it. Yeah. Anymore. Yeah. And then he goes back. He goes back to the corporation that has Halsey and he does the phlebotomy. And this phlebotomy is so stupid.

Like it’s really dumb. It’s hilarious. It’s hilarious. It’s in a white surgical theater behind a two-way mirror. Uh, so that this board of people can, in ance room, in a conference room, can watch this happening. And like the phlebotomy itself is, he has taken the whole top part of Halsey’s skull off. So his brain is just sitting there like it’s in a fruit bowl and 

Todd: he just, Walks in, doesn’t wash up, doesn’t do anything.

He just walks in, puts a coat on, and goes to work. 

Craig: And just, well, and just pokes at it. Like that’s, that’s all, it just pokes at it. Um, and like Halsey’s, face, like twitches and he smiles and sometimes he laughs like depending on where he is getting poked. And it, depending on where he gets poked. We see from Halsey’s perspective that his environment changes and the people around change, like the things that the doctor and the people, like the corporate people are saying to him and asking him.

He’s hearing all that, but it might be coming. Threw somebody else in his mind. Like for example, he sees like two 

Todd: Victorian 

Craig: ladies, two Victorian ladies, or his family that he supposedly killed or that he says somebody else killed. It’s very surreal and trippy and like ultimately when I was watching it the first time, I didn’t think much of it and then thinking more about it and I thought, I don’t know.

That’s kind of cool and ambitious. It is, especially since it seems like. At one point, Dr. Martin asks him, are you still concerned about this Conlan guy? And he’s like, yeah. And he says, is, is Conlan here? Yeah. Can you see him? No. And then ultimately he says, I can see him now. And it’s this really creepy image of this guy in all white, in this stark white room.

But like he and the corner he’s standing in are spa splashed and, and smeared with bright red blood. And he’s very creepy and like menacing, uh, hiding kind of in broad daylight in the corner. Yeah. And, and after the procedure’s over, Martin can see him too, which I feel like opens up a whole new can of worms.

Yes. But I also wanted to mention that, um, this, this corporate group who’s sitting around this conference table, the president apparently of this board is George Kennedy. I know 

Todd: you, you had said earlier, can you believe that Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman are in this movie? Well, I, I can absolutely believe that George Kennedy isn’t this Oh, absolutely.

Because he, he seems to be in any movie he can get into. Yeah, right. You know, 

Craig: for, uh, before we started doing this podcast, he was just that guy from the Naked Gun movies to me, Uhhuh. Um, and now that we’ve done this, we have seen him in so many movies. He just pop up. All the time. I also wanted to point out that another one of the board members, this little guy is played, he’s not given a name, he does have a line.

Um, is Willie Garson. He’s a character actor. He’s been like all over TV and movies. He’s been a bazillion things. Probably best well known for his role as Carrie Bradshaw’s best friend Stanford. Bla on Sex and the City. And, uh, he just passed away, I think within the last year or two. Uh, he was young, not not much older than us, and he died of cancer, which, uh, when, right when they were beginning production of the Sex and the City sequel, uh, series.

Oh, and just like that, um, he was, he was written into the script. He was supposed to be a major part of the script and he got sick. And passed away, and they had to write him out. But I wanted to make mention of him because I’m a big fan of his, and it never would’ve occurred to me when he passed away to do a tribute episode to him, because I, I, I know him as a comedian, but here he is.

Cool guy. Got one line in this movie, 

Todd: and here’s our tribute episode. Yeah, 

Craig: Willie Garson. Cool, dude. All right, so now Dr. Martin can see Conlin and thanks. Conlan is following him, and at this point I don’t know what’s going on and it only gets. Crazy. Like, yeah, from this point really literally, I have no idea what’s going on.

The only thing is, at some point earlier when Martin was talking to, I can never think of this guy’s name, Reston. When Martin is talking to Reston, he’s like, well, you want him brain dead? And Martin or Reston says something like, well, it could be worse. He could be the doctor and you could be the patient.

Todd: Mm-hmm. I did take note of that at in that moment. Yeah, I did too. 

Craig: Yeah. It, it seemed a little,

a little odd in the nose, like, Hmm. And like 

Todd: you said, like everything that’s happening right now is so bizarre and so. Out of reality that you’re thinking either this movie is really that stupid, you know, that it’s got this guy who can, presumably a doctor walking in and out of this purely white room that opens up into a boardroom at this guy’s skull.

Completely exposed with no Yeah. Procedures, you know, to for, for medical whatever, or. This is just supposed to be giving us an unreal kind of dream-like reality. And, and then when he’s like, I mean, it’s almost dreams within dreams because there’s more than once when he wakes up and suddenly, you know, it seems like he’s dreaming something.

This is already, I think by now happened twice. Yeah. And. Then, like you said, when he starts seeing this guy laughing and chuckling in the corner, at this point I was like, oh, it’s gonna be one of those movies, isn’t it? Yeah. I’m like, am I gonna have to think? Am I gonna have to think really hard? Right. Okay.

I said better take more furious notes. 

Craig: No, I, I told you that this movie reminds me of a lot of other movies and at this point in the movie, it’s reminding me of that Michael Douglas movie, the Game that Michael Douglas, Sean Pin movie. I know. Yeah. Um, where you don’t know. What’s real or if it’s real. I haven’t, I saw that movie when it came out in the theater.

I don’t even really 

Todd: remember it. Me too. And I love it. Oh, I’ve seen it like 10 times since then. I’ve showed it to everyone I know. 

Craig: Uh, and a movie that I’ve never even seen, but I know enough about Jacob’s 

Todd: Ladder. Oh yeah, me too. I also haven’t seen it. That’s crazy. Oh, we should do that. That’s 

Craig: weird. That’s a, yeah.

Classic movie. It’s reminding me of all of these movies and, and all of these movies are either movies that I consider to be good movies, or at least movies that I really like. Yeah. Um, like I wouldn’t say that Dreamscape is a great movie, but I love that movie. Yeah. And so, It’s difficult for me to say. I, I think that I agree with you.

I think that I would’ve liked this better when I was a kid. I think that as a kid, I would’ve thought it was really smart. Mm-hmm. And, and watching it now, I, I almost wish that I still had that more innocent openness to it, because You’re right. I think I’m just more cynical and I’m kind of rolling my eyes like, ugh.

Yeah, okay. Whatever. 

Todd: Yeah, you’re trying to be smart. You’re trying to create this kinda crazy yesterday. 

Craig: Okay, I get it. I don’t. 

Todd: I don’t trust necessarily that I’m gonna, this is gonna lead to anything profound. Right. You know? And it 

Craig: doesn’t really, but that’s okay. Like it’s just a stupid movie, but, So then, um, Martin goes to dinner with his wife and he’s acting like a lunatic.

Like he’s twitchy and 

Todd: paranoid and well, he’s drinking a lot, right? There’s kinda, you see, 

Craig: I don’t even remember, but Bill Pullman, I feel like since, um, Since Independence Day, he did more dramatic roles before that. He did comedy, and he’s a funny guy and he’s a funny comedic actor. And I saw some of that coming through here, like the twitchy, paranoid thing going on.

I thought it was hilarious. Really? Yeah. But he’s, he’s acting loopy and, um, his boss. Uh, and his friend Reston show up and are sitting there and having dinner with them. But like he gets up to go to the bathroom or something and he comes back and he sits down at the wrong table and is talking to strangers like Nonsensically.

And he’s just like repeating the new you from Munus, the what is going on. Yeah. And 

Todd: he’s seeing, he’s also seeing this bloody dude everywhere. Uhhuh. 

Craig: Yeah. And then again, and then all of a sudden he’s, he’s at his own front door and he opens it up and goes inside and that bloody dude conlan, uh, or whatever is with him and like, shows him Reston banging his wife on their dining room table.

Yeah. And they’re banging for a minute, but then, They’re like naked in an embrace, dead with their eyes. Gouged out. Yeah. And then suddenly Martin wakes up in Lakeside, Lakeside, and he’s the patient, and Conlan is the doctor. And Martin starts talking about Halsey and Conklin’s. Like there is no Halsey.

You’re Halsey. Yep. And then this, like, this whole sequence of events is just walking from one surreal environment into the next. Now it’s, it’s, it’s all in the context of the hospital, kind of. Um, but it really is just kind of a series of strange events. For the next 10 or 15 minutes, 

Todd: the doctor comes in and says that he’s fragmenting into a patient called Halsey, but in fact he’s Halsey and he reveals the pencils on those desks and.

Stuff up on the wall, which is stuff that earlier he had seen Halsey do. Like he took these little stubby pencils and had set them up, and then he’s led into what he thinks is his office. It’s, it’s the doctor’s office. But previously this looked like his office and the doctor’s like, well go look out the window.

He says, well, my office is in the Beaumont building eighth floor. And the say, all right, go, go look out the window. You know, Rex. And he looks out the window, but it’s clearly not the eighth floor. Um mm-hmm. And then the accountant comes in. Jim, who is actually Reston? Reston. Paxton, yes. Yeah. But he’s just like a me, like a little accountant.

He’s like a tiny little guy. And he is like, oh, Mr. Conlan is behind on his payments. You’re his prize account. I don’t see how the mattress business survives without you. What did that 

Craig: mean? Uh, I don’t 

Todd: know. Mr. Conlan was, Funding his, he, 

Craig: he is saying what again? He’s got a different name cuz he is a different character now.

But, uh, Paxton is telling Martin that Paxton is the accountant for Eunice. But I think what he says to Martin is, you, Martin or Halsey, or whoever he’s supposed to be. Now you were this Conklin’s accountant. I don’t know. Accountant or account? I don’t know. I think accountants, 


Todd: I don’t know. Oh, accountants.

Maybe I 

Craig: misheard that. And Conlan like owns this mattress, uh, Uhhuh factory or something, which the other Halsey had mentioned before. See, it’s just so convoluted. Like, and ultimately, no, I don’t think any of this matters. Yeah, I think you’re right. There’s another scene where Martin gets. In a room with a bunch of crazy ladies who like pull him into a closet, I don’t know what’s going on.

And then he’s in a room filled with people who are chained up and in cages. But when somebody else comes to the other side of the door and opens it, then all the people are gone. 

Todd: Yeah. And the doctor is behind him, me says, oh, I see you entered my little museum. Antique neurological devices are my hobby.

And yeah, of course there are no people there. And then the doctor suggests shock therapy. Yeah. You know, he gets very sinister and. I don’t know, you know, God. So then he’s like, kind of shocking him with this ancient, you know, shock therapy equipment. And then he wakes 

Craig: up again, and then he, he wakes up again in a bed in the loony bin and the guy who we’ve known as Halsey before, the little bald guy who’s played by, the guy who played Harold and Harold and Mod.

Oh yeah. Yeah. He like talks to him and he is like, I’m gonna get you out of here. And he cuts his restraints. He’s like, wait, somebody’s coming. And he goes and hides in the closet. And then when whoever that was passed, Martin gets up and looks in the closet and Hals, he’s dead in there. And then he wakes up in his bed again and the same scene happens again.

Mm-hmm. He and Halsey have the same conversation. He cuts his restraints again, I think. I don’t know. But then this time it’s like he’s 

Todd: a, it’s like he’s a ghost in his own room now, where he is staring at himself on the bed and he pulls up his own chart. Right. 

Craig: And at this point, you again, like, uh, the others, like who’s really dead, who’s really, you know, and at this point I’m with you in that.

Just, just tell me like, yeah, I, I’ve lost patient by now and yeah. Right. Like, so his wife shows up and visit and it seems at this point, like he’s in the hospital because of his car accident and he’s laying there in bed, I think, pretending to be unconscious. And, uh, his friend Reston shows up and is kind of smarmy with his wife.

And then he gets up and walks into his closet, which just opens up into open sky. Yeah. And he’s hanging by the floor, like shouting to them, and I guess they’re still looking at his body in bed and he is like, help me. I’m not dead yet. But he falls and then they’re in the o 

Todd: in the ocean. They’re in the ocean.

Halsey is in there. Or the guy we know is Halsy. Halsey 

Craig: is like, like waiting, like having a lovely time. But then the sea monster. Of the ID arrive. What? Like I know just took out, 

Todd: I was like, oh, I don’t want to have to understand this. Please don’t get a metaphorical on me. Now this is hard enough to figure out as it is.


Craig: I refuse to start thinking about the ID and the ego, like I’m not, we’re not doing that. Um, and luckily they don’t really make us, because then he wakes up in the street all dirty, like a homeless person, but he goes back to his office. 

Todd: Yeah, the water that was being splashed onto his face as he was on the beach is now being splashed onto the, his face by some guy, by a restaurant, is just trying to get him out right and away.

And he goes back into his office. But now it says Dr. John Halsey on the office door. But he sees the view outside and he’s comforted by the fact that now we’re way up high, but it’s, but it’s not his, you know, it’s not Rex Martin. It says Dr. John Halsey. So I guess, I don’t know, man. I’m like, so he’s halsy, right?

Craig: And and res we’re, we’re almost there. Reston shows up and tells him, don’t worry, it’s just all just bad dreams. And then the scary guy who has been Mr. Conlan all along shows up and he’s apparently now Eunice security, and he says, we really do need that equation. And then all of a sudden, Martin is in that surgery theater from before the white Surgery Theater.

Mm-hmm. And the scary Conlan guy is performing a ludicrous lobotomy on him. And Reston is in the corporate side of the theater, pleading for the equation, and Conlan starts prodding at Martin’s brain. And then all of a sudden Martin is behind the wheel of the truck that hit him. Yeah. And then he wakes up in brain surgery, a totally different brain surgery.

And he now he is a patient, and Halsey is the doctor performing brain surgery on him and his wife. And they’re calling him Martin. Yeah, they’re calling him Martin again. And it now, it seems like now I’m kind of getting back on board. Now I’m like, okay, he’s in brain surgery because he got hit by. 

Todd: The car way back when.


Craig: way back when. So, okay. And so the wife and, uh, Reston are, you know, this is a different surgical theater, but they’re again on the opposite side of the mirror and they’re like, oh, I hope he pulls through or whatever. And then it cuts away and you see him and it seems like he’s recovering. Except for that he’s, the wrapping on the top of his head is huge.

Like it’s enormous. Comically enormous, right? And he goes into a room where he stands in front of a mirror and he pulls off the top of his skull. And butterflies fly out. 

Todd: Yes. 

Craig: And then it cuts back to him in surgery where he dies. Yeah. And then, then I don’t remember if this is just over black or if it’s just in his.

Office or what, but you just hear his voice saying, where am I? Am I dreaming or is this death?

I’m dead.

Huh? I’m good. I think. I think. Oh, this should be interesting. And now he’s just a brain in a jar. The end 

Todd: is so dumb. On that shelf. Oh, it’s, it’s 

Craig: really, really dumb. I didn’t realize how dumb it was until I tried to talk about it. 

Todd: Alright. 

Craig: But my theory is, my theory is everything that happened before he got hit by the car really happened.

Okay? And then once he got hit by the car, none of that was real. It was all just crazy shit going on in his head until we see him again in brain surgery and when we see him in brain surgery and his wife and his friend are there watching, I think that that is real and that he dies in surgery and then apparently he’s a sentient brain in a 

Todd: jar.

I was gonna ask in a lad, you. You think that this is trying to posit that all brains are sentient when they’re Yes,

Craig: yes, I do. Okay. See, because that, that ties it right back around to the end where he was talking, you know, he was admonishing his as. For not having reverence and respect for these brains because, you know, they are, they were a living thing. They were an entity, they were a person. It’s as though he believes the essence of a person is still there in their brain, even when they’re dead or whatever.

As long as the brain is still there. Um, and ultimately the movie. Proves him. Right. Okay. But I love But in being proved right, he’s like, am I dreaming? Or is this death I’m dead? Great. Yeah. 

Todd: It’s really funny, right? It’s just comical the way it’s ended. I, you know, your explanation is, Pretty much what I thought it was gonna be.

I was really hoping you would have something more sophisticated for me to share. No, but I’m not surprised you don’t because uh, yeah, and this is why a movie like this would’ve been great as like a Twilight Zone episode, or Uhhuh Tales from the Crypt episode. Yep. This long ass movie where I feel like the good majority of it was just a bunch of random stuff that was happening in somebody’s brain that’s ultimately meaningless and is just there to confuse me.

I just. Ultimately like, oh God, why did I see this? You know, like I, I, I lost patience for it. Like we said earlier, I lost patience for it about 20 minutes in. I didn’t really regain patience for it. There were some intriguing moments and you pointed them out, you know, where I’m like, oh, I think I know what’s going on.

And then kind of by the end it’s like, okay. Yeah. So that’s what’s going on. It’s all more or less a dream. It’s all going on in his head while he is in surgery and now he’s dead. It’s, it was intriguing. It was a well-made movie, honestly. For the budget? No, for the budget. Yeah. You know, it’s, again, I, I feel like it, it’s the movie version of a pseudo intellectual, you know, it’s trying to be really clever and really smart and whatnot, but when you, when it finally wraps up, unless I’m missing something, it’s not as clever as it dans to be.

It’s just a bunch of lynching and kind of stuff thrown at me to confuse me and keep me intrigued. Until then, well see. But that’s 

Craig: okay. Would you say the same thing of something like if it were of better quality, if it had had a bigger budget? Like I, I’m wondering do you feel the same way about like Lynch lynching and stuff like Mulholland Drive, like, I have no idea what the hell is going on in that movie.

I’ve seen it and I have, I couldn’t tell you. I have no idea what was going on in that movie. Yeah. Um, but I still thought. Thought it was a good movie. I mean, the same thing. What was the other one you said? Uh, not Interstellar, but Christopher Nolan’s other one. Inception. Inception. Like it’s that that’s the same kind of thing, right?

No, it’s like where you ultimately don’t really know what was real and what wasn’t. It, but, 

Todd: but that’s just sort of the mystery at the end. That can keep you guessing. But the movie itself followed a clearly, an easy to follow plot that had its own internal logic that made sense and was, it was a little twisty, but ultimately, like, you know, there’s, it’s.

In a way, it was kinda like a heist movie. I’m thinking a lot about, what was that movie we saw? It was another tribute episode that we did. Ultimately, it’s a mental patient and most of the movie that we see is happening in his head and its characters in a motel. Oh, identity. Identity, right. Identity. I think of it a little bit like identity and that that’s sort of the end result is that most of the movie’s taking place in his head, but in identity there was sort of a puzzle.

To unpack. Yeah. Yeah. Like we were actually clued into, this is happening all in his head, but the movie was still intriguing because. There was something there, like there was still a mystery that we still had to solve that was, that had logic and had sense and, and that was very satisfying. You know, this movie is just like, feels like the middle of, its confusing to be confusing and ultimately at the end it’s, you know, it’s that twist, ah, guess what, it’s all in his head.

And no, I don’t think it’s as good as those films. I don’t think it’s sophisticated as those movies. And I didn’t think it was as fulfilling as watching those movies either. And yeah, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have said that about. I wouldn’t have said the same thing about a movie that, that I think just cared a little bit more about me as a viewer.


Craig: I mean, I think your criticism is fair. I’m really just playing devil’s advocate. Oh, no, for sure. Because I, I, I think that, uh, I, I think it’s an interesting idea and I’ve, I say this all the time, it’s like a broken record. It’s different, and I appreciate e even if. In saying it’s different, all I mean is it’s odd and weird.

Um, I like coming across odd and weird things. You know, we, in horror in any genre really, but in horror specifically, you see a lot of cut and paste films that, you know, you, you, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. And this one, it was different. And it was trying, 

Todd: it was trying to do something ambitious, I think.

Craig: I think so too. And having, um, not seen it before, and it’s starring these two men who are very familiar to me, very much in, you know, the pop culture zeitgeist. That is my life. It was just an, an interesting oddity to stumble across, literally accidentally. Um, so, so I don’t regret. Having seen it, I don’t feel like it was a waste of time.

And I think a lot of our fans, those who, uh, are like me, interested in consuming as much as possible. It’s not a great movie. I don’t even know if I would go so far as to say it’s a good movie, but I found it interesting. It’s a ride. Yeah. You know? Yeah. I I think it’s, I think it’s worth seeing. It’s not gonna blow your mind, it’s not gonna change your world.

Um, but worth seeing in my 

Todd: opinion. Yeah. I, I mean, I think I concur. I think. The difference between this movie and movies like it that are just a little better is that at the end of the movie, we’re not still challenged. Right. We’re not like trying, still trying to decode it. There’s not like this element of mystery.

I, I feel like it’s supposed to be that kind of movie, but ultimately I sort of feel like we figured it out. Yeah, definitely. You know, so, yeah. But yeah, no, definitely worth seeing, especially if you wanna see these guys. Um mm-hmm. In at their, in their game. You know, I mean, bill Paxton is So Bill Paxton in this movie.

Yeah. And it’s so definitely, it’s so, it’s so interesting to see the greasy kind of slick Bill Paxton, who’s being sort of seductive and also like the asshole, and then suddenly pops in as a fricking accountant who’s just this like, Everyday dude. Mild mannered. Yeah. It’s such a stark change, you know? Um, it really speaks to his range as an actor, I think, you know, he’s just, yes.

He’s just so great to watch. And I love Bill Pullman too. I love watching him. I do too. And George Kennedy is always George Kennedy, so you can’t go wrong there. 

Craig: And Rick Willy Garon. There 

Todd: you go, our ip. Well, thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share with with a friend.

If you think we have totally misjudged this movie and there is something that we’re missing, please let us know. Find us online in any one of the places we are. All you have to do is Google: “two guys and a chainsaw podcast”, you’ll find our Instagram account. Our Facebook page, our website. Just leave us a message or tweet us anything and let us know, uh, where we’ve missed up.

I would love to hear that we’ve messed up, uh, and there’s something deeper here that we missed. Also, if you enjoyed this podcast and, and the other ones that we’ve done, please consider joining our patrons. We put out Mini SOS every month. We have lots of little fun little things that we, that we do for our patrons behind the scenes.

They also get to choose our requests, and we are going to be doing a couple requests from our patrons in the following week, so look forward to that as well. Our patron page is Until next time, I’m Todd. And I’m Craig with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.

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