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Man With the Screaming Brain/Alien Apocalypse
DVD disk
Jun 18, 2009 By: Aaron the H
Man With the Screaming Brain/Alien Apocalypse order
Director:
Bruce Campbell, Josh Becker

Actors:
Bruce Campbell
Stacy Keach
Ted Raimi

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Man With the Screaming Brain: A wealthy American gets killed in Eastern Europe, only to be brought back to life when a mad scientist replaces half his brain with that of a Bulgarian cab driver. Then it gets weird.

Alien Apocalypse: At some point in the future, insect-like aliens have taken over Earth and enslaved the human race, forcing them all to become lumberjacks (seriously). Thats until astronaut/physician Bruce Campbell crash lands on Earth and decides to lead a rebel army of about...15 people.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Man With the Screaming Brain: Its got Bruce Campbell at the reigns, and its not named Bubba Ho-Tep or Evil Dead, so no, its not a good movie. In fact, the best thing this films got going for it is its title. I was hoping for an exposed Bruce Campbell skull and a literally yelling brain, but unfortunately, the screaming is simply a voiceover playing in Bruces head. What we do see though are thugs with tattoos drawn with Sharpie, Ted Raimi playing a retard (quite retardedly I might add), the great Stacy Keach hitting rock-bottom, and a female lead who functions as the poor mans Lonnie Anderson (if you dont know who that isexactly).

The fun in this film doesnt really begin until Bruce (who rocks a fatty stache in this flick) gets said brain transplant. At that point, the comedy kicks into high gear (eh, more like 1st gear) as Bruce displays some of the physical shtick he introduced to us in the Evil Dead series. However, like everything else in this flick, his performance is third-rate, and if youve seen Jim Carrey in Me, Myself and Irene, youve seen this done a hundred times better. I like Bruce Campbell as a person so I feel like I gotta say something positive about this film. Umm...you get to see Bulgaria and a hot gypsy chick? Oh, there's one funny bit where Campbell gives himself a high-five. OK I give up.

To me, theres really nothing about this film worth recommending. Unless youre a diehard Bruce fan, in which case Ive heard this is one of his best (yikes).

Alien Apocalypse: OK, totally different feel in this flick. Where Man With A Screaming Brain was intentionally and unashamdely stupid, goofy, and over-the-top, this thing tries a little harder to be serious (emphasis on 'little). It fails spectacularly.

You know its a bad sign when in the opening credits it says Special Appearance by: and youve never heard of the person who is making the special appearance (for the record it's some dude named Peter Jason). This film (which was shot back-to-back with Screaming Brain in Bulgaria) has the production values of your local churchs Nativity Scene.

The evil aliens, sometimes digital and sometimes puppets, are about as intimidating as my grandma Hermine, only less technologically-advanced. How these frail walking sticks managed to enslave the human race is beyond me. The performances of most of the actors involved (whose Bulgarian voices were badly dubbed in post) wouldnt hold up in a high school stage play, with fake beards purchased in the costume section of a local grocery store and wardrobes made out of felt purchased from an arts and crafts store. How movies like this get made (and paid for by the Sci Fi Channel no less) baffles me.

Theres a scene where a bullet hits the grass and a man standing near it drops dead. Please explain that to me. This is not just poor camerawork or some kind of goof. The filmmakers specifically rigged this squib hit to go off in the grass instead of on the mans body. Kill me now.

The problem with both these films, and my problem with most Campbell-type films, is that Bruce and the crew ARENT complete morons. They KNOW theyre making a crap film, and do have a small amount of filmmaking ability (emphasis on 'small'). Thus, the humor just isnt as good as, say, Steven Seagal flicks, where everyone involved has zero filmmaking ability but genuinely believe theyre making the next Die Hard. To put it in another, more disturbing analogy, I guess I'd rather see an asshole get in a car wreck than watch a couple of yahoos playing bumper cars.
THE EXTRAS
Man With the Screaming Brain:

Audio Commentary with Bruce Campbell and Producer David Goodman - If you like this movie or Bruce Campbell, youll love this commentary. Its non-stop. It's honest. It's funny. It's Bruce being Bruce. Nuff said.

Brain Surgeons: Making the Screaming Brain (13:49) - Mostly just an interview with the chin himself, Bruce Campbell. He is pretty hilarious and unbelievably candid here. He talks no bullshit and youll hear him say stuff here that no studio exec would ever admit to on camera. I'm starting to feel a little bad for bashing him. But only a little.

Neurology 101 - Evolution of Man With the Screaming Brain (14:03) - Bruce Campbell and producing partner David Goodman stand at a chalkboard and take us through the lengthy 20-year process of getting funding for this film. Funny at first but wears out its welcome fast.

Behind the Scenes (9:32) - A montage of on-set footage (some cool, some not-so-cool), played over the film's horrible score, that kinda sounds like the soundtrack for Star Wars, had Lucas decided to compose it himself, with Garage Band, while drunk.

Theres also a Storyboard Gallery (not sure why they bothered to make those), a Comic Book Art Gallery (not sure why they bothered to make those) and an ABSURDLY long Bruce Campbell bio that I didnt bother reading. Bruce, you seem like a nice guy, but come on, youre not Sean Penn.

Alien Apocalypse:

Commentary with Bruce Campbell and writer/director Josh Becker - These two are funny and entertaining to listen to and again unbelievably honest. The director is completely aware of how awful this film is. This is actually the first film Ive ever watched that is more enjoyable with the commentary.

Behind the Scenes (2:24) - A brief backstage look with no dialogue, save for a few short lines by Bruce Campbell, one of which is frickin hilarious. Also some cool shots of the special effects work in the film. Check this out.

Storyboard Gallery - This is the only storyboard gallery Ive ever recommended checking out. Because these storyboards must have been drawn by a crew members five-year-old son. Hilarious.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
By the time I got to the end of this two-disc set, MY brain was screaming, and the fact that films like these keep getting greenlit almost makes me hope for some ind of alien apocalypse. Sorry Bruce.

On the other hand, if you're a fan of the man's non-studio work, this is the DVD set for you.
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