The Brain That Wouldn’t Die appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with an up and down presentation.
For the most part, sharpness seemed pretty good. A little softness cropped up at times, but the majority of the film displayed solid clarity and accuracy. I saw no examples of shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent.
Blacks looked positive, as they showed good darkness and depth. Shadows also provided fairly smooth, clear visuals.
Brain fell to “C”-level due to print flaws. The movie displayed quite a few specks, marks, blotches and spots. It also came with a couple of skips, such as one at 9:52 that appeared to result from a brief missing piece of film. If Brain got a good cleaning, it’d be a strong transfer. This one looked too dirty to get a high mark, though.
I also felt the movie’s DTS-HD MA monaural audio seemed erratic. Most speech came across as fairly natural, but more than a few exceptions occurred. Lines could come across as thin and reedy at times, and a few scenes suffered from degraded audio across the board. In those segments, all the elements appeared distant and tinny.
However, that only happened a couple of times. Otherwise, music was decent; the score lacked much range but seemed fairly full. Effects seemed about the same, as they became acceptably clear and concise most of the time.
The source didn’t seem to be in great shape, unfortunately. I heard a persistent layer or hiss as well as hum and some pops. Even when I considered the movie’s age and origins, this felt like a problematic soundtrack.
When we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from film historians Steve Haberman and Tony Sasso. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at cast and crew, story elements, themes and interpretation, and production details.
Sasso and Haberman combine to give us a moderately engaging chat but not one that seems especially informative. Neither appears to know a lot about the movie’s history or production; they offer a few basics but don’t shed a ton of light on those elements.
This means they mostly either crack on the film or dig into interpretation. Some of the thoughts about themes and meaning seem serious, but much of it comes across as tongue in cheek. In the end, the chat has its moments but lacks a lot of substance.
Next we find an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. In this one-hour, 32-minute and 25-second program, they follow the usual format where Mike and his robot pals watch a bad movie - Brain That Wouldn’t Die, natch – and make snarky comments. I admit I’m not a fan of the format, but fans will enjoy this addition to the set.
The disc includes Alternate Model Footage. The one-minute, 26-second segment gives us a variation on the scene where Doris poses for photographers; intended for non-US audiences, this one lets us see some nudity. And that’s fine with me. It lacks audio, but who cares?
In addition to the film’s trailer, we locate a Photo Gallery. Presented as a running three-minute, 46-second reel, it shows 46 stills that mix images from the shoot, publicity pictures and advertising elements. This becomes a decent collection.
Some silly old movies offer campy entertainment, but The Brain That Wouldn’t Die fails on all levels. It’s not fun or enjoyable in any way, as it becomes a plodding, illogical piece without merit. The Blu-ray offers erratic picture and audio along with a decent set of bonus features. I guess Brain enjoys a cult audience, but I can’t figure out why.