In the fine B-movie tradition of stealing rampantly from disparate films, the story also includes healthy portions of All of Me, Campbell's Evil Dead series, and... well, I thought I could come up with a movie where a humanoid robot woman fights a Bulgarian in a wedding dress, but maybe Man with the Screaming Brain does traffic in some originality after all.
It takes awhile for it to emerge, though. The movie's first half or so is tedious with exposition and I even found myself wondering, even while watching a movie entitled Man with the Screaming Brain starring Bruce Campbell, whether any mayhem would ensue. During these 40 to 50 minutes, it seems like Campbell the filmmaker is including all of the wrong ingredients from drive-in and/or straight-to-cable schlock, especially when it comes to Pavel (Ted Raimi), the mad scientist's slang-spouting goofball sidekick. Casting Ted Raimi (brother of Evil Dead turned Spider-Man director Sam) is almost as much of a B-movie tradition as casting Bruce Campbell, but Campbell knows how to underplay - he's subdued, in fact, during this first section of the film, while Raimi mugs to diminishing returns.
But once the mad science gets going, with brain surgery and killer robots and plenty of violence, Man with the Screaming Brain does a halfway decent impression of the absurdist slapstick of Campbell's past peaks. Campbell doesn't choreograph his fight scenes or horror-movie homages with much panache, but he mixes pulp and shtick with a lot of energy. As the rest of the movie works itself into a pleasant sort of madness, the Raimi character persists, more pointless than before; since when do intrinsically silly movies require comic relief?
Campbell's writing has a broad way with dialogue, a proudly corny style more ingratiating in his book If Chins Could Kill. But Brain often works within its modest aims and, after all, if Sam Raimi is going to keep directing $100 million movies, someone has to keep the B-movie torch aflame.
Run time: 90 mins
In Theaters: Sunday 3rd April 2005
Distributed by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Production compaines: ApolloProScreen
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 8
IMDB: 5.6 / 10
Director: Bruce Campbell
Producer: Bruce Campbell, David Goodman, Bob Perkis
Screenwriter: Bruce Campbell, David Goodman
Starring: Bruce Campbell as William Cole, Tamara Gorski as Tatoya, Ted Raimi as Pavel, Antoinette Byron as Jackie, Stacy Keach as Dr. Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov, Vladimir Kolev as Yegor, Valentin Giasbeily as Uri, Velizar Binev as The Mayor Alexander Genkov, Raicho Vasilev as Bartender
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