review by John W. Herbert
B-movie king Bruce Campbell stars in (and co-wrote and directed) Man With the Screaming Brain. Campbell plays an American businessman who, along with his wife, is in Bulagria for a business meeting. He’s the typical "ugly American," loud, impatient an dimpolite. His marrige is on the rocks, and he doesn’t help matters by flirting with a mysterious gypsy woman. His wife helps even less by giving their cab driver an extra big tip. It turns out that the cab driver was engaged to the gypsy, resulting in all manner of murder and mayhem. Fortunately, the bodies end up in the hands of a mad Bulgarian scientist (Stacey Keach(?!)) who (with his Russian assistant played by Ted Raimi) has a knack for transplanting brains and resurrecting bodies.
Essentially, this is pretty silly stuff. It gives Bruce Campbell a chance to do his best Steve Martin impression, and his character ends up sharing his brain with his wife’s lover, the cab driver. Shot on location in Bulgaria, the film has pretty good production values for a film of with a limited budget.
There’s a good number of extras for a low budget movie. There’s some behind the scenes docs, but the best one is a short feature where Campbell and his writing partner chart the 20+ years it took to get this film made. This was worth the price of the DVD all by itself.
Nothing in the film is overly impressive, yet nothing is really embarrassing either. Well, maybe Ted Raimi’s version of Russian rapping. Thankfully, it’s short. Otherwise, it’s a solid and enjoyable, fun B-movie.