Movie Reviews 81 – The Man with the Screaming Brain (2005)

The Man with the Screaming BrainNot your typical Bruce Campbell flick as this one was both written and directed by Campbell, A.K.A “The Chin”, himself. I remember seeing a trailer when it first came out, but never got around to getting the film itself. But a while back I came across the first issue of the comic series, and based on that first issue alone, I liked the setup of the story and decided I had to pick up the DVD at the next opportunity.

A wealthy businessman (Campbell) brings his trophy wife along on a business trip to Bulgaria and immediately finds himself having to contend with a society whose norms differ drastically from his stereotypical American views. Within a very short time he has to deal with gypsies, a street savvy cab driver Yegor (Vladimir Kolev), and a semi-mad scientist doing cellular and brain experiments while his sidekick assistant dabbles in robots. All these elements come together for a story wherein the businessman ends up with half of his brain (and control of half of his body) the other half being the cab driver’s.

More comedy than horror, this Campbell outing is enjoyable despite some pretty atrocious special effects, costumes and prosthetics. The odd pairing of Stacy Keach as the mad doctor Dr Ivanov with Ted Raimi as his assistant strains to be funny, but most jokes and schticks fall flat. But despite the many failings I still got a bit of a kick out of it. I really enjoyed the feisty Yegor and his death defying cab driving as well as his anti-mob heroics. Bruce and the cabbie fighting over control of the body is also something that is sometimes funny, sometimes just silly. Another plus was the cabbie’s jilted gypsy lover Tatoya who not only a sight for sore eyes, but plays a significant part in the movie.

This movie is not for everyone and even some Campbell fans will cringe at lot of segments of the movie. I guess Bruce the actor and personality is better than Bruce the director. Let just hope he puts away his directorial hat and just sticks to being in front of the camera where he belongs.


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