Dr. Phillip Rothman (Terry Londeree) teaches at the local college.  In addition, he is doing research using some of his students on their reactions to certain stimulus.  In particular, their emotional responses to various colors and light patterns found in video games.  His research is being funded by a company interested in Rothman’s data.  Not happy with the results of the experiments, the head of the company is threatening to discontinue the project.

Rothman hires Laurie Stevens (Farrah Forke), one of his students, to do some office work for him at the research building.  Laurie’s friend, Denise (Heather Ann Barclay) has a boyfriend Ted (Shura McComb).  Ted is one of the participants in the study.  Ted has a reaction to an outside light stimulus that alters his personality.  That night he murders Denise.  When Laurie stops by to pick her up for an appointment, she finds Denise dead.

Laurie calls the police to report the murder.  Frank Turi (Joe Lombardo) is assigned to investigate.  The next day Frank goes to Ted’s place of employment to ask him some questions.  Ted is at first upset.  When the lights from a nearby pinball machine start flashing Ted loses control and jumps out of a window to his death.  Frank finds out that Ted’s body was released to a company called Biotronics Inc.  This information leads Frank to Rothman.  Frank gets a court order to get the body back.  He then finds out that Rothman cut off Ted’s head in order to harvest his brain for observation.

More test subjects begin to have homicidal side effects.  Frank finds out that this is not the only place that had some unusual student “apparent” suicides.  Frank also finds out that the conspiracy reaches into high places when Biotronics manages to override Frank’s court order to get Ted’s head back.  Frank tries to tap Laurie for information but only manages to put her life in danger.             

“Brain Twisters” was released in 1991 and was written and directed by Jerry Sangiuliano.  It is a low budget science fiction horror film and was filmed in Scranton, PA.

The film is a little ambiguous.  Other than it being a video game software company, it’s never clear who is doing the brain twisting or for what ultimate reason.  I started out intrigued by the film, but it never really delivered on its promises, just hinted.  I was looking for some kind of gottcha moment, but none ever materialized.  It wasn’t as horrible as some critics expound, but it wasn’t great either.    

If you’re looking for lots of blood and gore, you may be a little disappointed.  There is some blood but not as much as you would expect for a slasher type movie.  For the most part the movie is a little on the boring side.  Most of that is due to Terry Londeree trying to be mysterious and entitled as Dr. Rothman but coming off as just plain tedious.  Some bad acting and some strange plot holes left me thinking I either missed a lot of subtle things or they weren’t really explained properly.  All in all, it was a good idea gone bad.

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