The Brain Machine


Director: Joy N. Houck, Jr.

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Some films are so worthless even to their producers that they are permitted to fall into the public domain with intent to let them rot in storage. But then they get reissued from time to time because video distributors aren 't obligated to pay anyone for the privilege. By slapping a gaudy unrelated picture on the box & maybe even changing the title, the public can be tricked into giving it a try as a two-dollar rental or even a one-dollar purchase.

The Brain Machine aka Grey Matter aka Mind Warp aka E-Box (1977) stars James Best as the reverend who doubts God & a no-star supporting cast of even lesser knowns.

This unwatchable rubbish piles on a couple of layers of evil American government & evil American military who have together altered a good scientist's research in order to test a mind-reading computer. The chief bad-guy we see appears to have a chair & a desk in a closet, but he has direct phone access to congressional & military baddies in order orchestrate pointless villainy or to "transfer" (i.e., assassinate) anyone who questions the system.

The mind-reading computer insists on the truth & will not "release" subjects until they tell the truth the whole truth & nothing but the truth. But the computer is soon confronted by irresolvable issues of Faith & Subjectivity. When "it does not compute," the computer goes haywire & the uninformed test subjects begin dying horribly.

For reasons inexplicable the "E Box" in which the subjects are placed is designed with the capacity to crush whoever is in that room. As the befuddled computer slowly, slowly, slowly closes the walls in on everyone, evil agents who've lost control of the experiment keep anyone from helping the doomed test subjects.

The value of the experiment remains unclear as it seems to have been set up to go wrong from the start. The film begins with an unconvincing premise for which the only explanation is generic intent to do harm by all powers that be. It then develops the irrational storyline with further irrationalities.

If you removed the recurring identical "establishing shots" of the outsides of buildings, the film would be twenty minutes shorter. Bad acting of a dreadful story line goes well with the piss-poor 1970s hairdos, mustaches, makeup & fashions all reminiscent of trailer court residents tricked out for Sunday service, topped with cinematography devoid of competence. There is not a single image anywhere in the film that would make an interesting advertisement in its favor, for which reason the dvd box uses a painting of something totally unrelated to the film.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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