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Twisted Brain

Review by: 
Catwalk
Release Date: 
1974
Studio: 
Rhino
Genre: 
Horror
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
0 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
1.33:1
Directed by: 
Larry N Stouffer
Cast: 
Pat Cardi
Austin Stoker
Rosie Holotik
John Niland
Joe Greene
Movie: 
3
Extras: 
1
Bottom Line: 
3

 When Vernon Potts (Cardi) is a struggling geeky student, whose best friend is his guinea pig, “Mr. Mumps”. Poor Vernon is so caught up in his experiments that his schoolwork is failing, and things are getting bad. His English teacher is consistently chiding him, his biology report is destroyed and the freaky Mr. Griggs (or Mr. Combover as he was quickly named) and his cat are scaring Mr. Mumps!
 
Among his only allies is the stereotypical cute classmate, Robin (Holotik) who is sympathetic to Vernon , but has the jocular boyfriend who's in the way. Of course, the coach doesn't like Potts either, and he's just got tons of problems. All this is setting up a man just destined to snap!
 
Very soon, the creepy Mr. Combover becomes the first one to cross Vernon , with expected results. After Vernon 's experiment turns Mr. Mumps into a bloodthirsty beast, the student and janitor square off, leading to the last sighting of the combover in the film. The police become involved but this is just the beginning. (Aside from a goofy subplot regarding Vernon 's dad, the film holds course, staying in a formula of gore and grit. This is the only time the attention is taken off of the leading man, and really has no place except to show that Vernon came from a bad background.)
 
Within minutes, Vernon is back on tap and back in the lab. The experiment quickly moves from guinea pig to human guinea pig with the snarky Miss Grindstaff paying the price. Soon, other targets of Vernon 's vengeance meet their respective ends, in a manner set up well early by witnessing the young man's struggles.
 
Vernon grows more and more confident the more blood he spills, setting up a disastrous path for the man he once was and the thing he's become. In the end, his fate is inevitable.
 
With loud guitars and noise in all the right places, the original soundtrack by Don Hulette helps keeps things on track. Initially, the use of underlying percussion helps to build tensions and eventually the overall package comes in to show Vernon 's torture and actions in a way only the 70's instrumentation can.
 
Several of the actors in this film are ex-football players. “Mean” Joe Greene was a defensive beast for the Steelers in the 70's, a Hall of Famer in College and the NFL and is known for his Coke commercial appearance. John Niland was a Cowboys All-Pro offensive lineman. Former Cal quarterback Chad Morton also appears as a cop.
 
Twisted Brain is a great film for those nostalgic for the days of late-night horror on network or UHF TV. The effects are cheap and the acting is amateur in places, but the movie holds up well. This isn't like re-visiting a classic to see where some of the great psychological scares came from, but it does prove a nicely executed version of a formula repeated time and again in the indy and budget markets.
 
Twisted Brain is included in an eight-pack of movies titled Horrible Horrors by Rhino Home Entertainment. Extras include only scene selection and a laughable score over the title menus which earns it 1 skull.
 
Pat Cardi has stated that a new release is expected featuring commentary tracks, interviews and more. Stay tuned for more news.
 

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