Sunday, February 13, 2011

Christopher Walken & Natalie Wood in Brainstorm (1983)

Obscurity factor: 4

In 1983 we lost a great star - Natalie Wood. Her last film was this one, and though it's not a great film, it wonderful to see her in it. She plays Karen Brace the wife of Michael Brace (Christopher Walken).

They're working on a system that will record and play back human experiences with all their associated senses and emotions. We pick up the story just as they're having a breakthrough. A bright future seems certain for the project until people at the lab start getting addicted to pornographic recordings and the US military gets wind of it and descends on them with all sorts of nefarious plans and schemes. Meanwhile, one of the lead researchers (Louise Fletcher) has a heart condition, and one night, alone in the lab she has a heart attack. Her last act is to put on the recording device and start the machine, taping her death. When another researcher dies while playing it back, it's put under lock and key. Michael Brace is determined to play it through to the end though, and Karen helps him break into the lab to do it. The story line wanders a bit, but there are some very interesting ideas explored in the film. It's worth a look, especially if you're a Natalie Wood or Sci-fi fan. Look for Cliff Robertson as the head of the lab.

Brainstorm is on DVD and is notable because of it's status as Natalie Wood's last film. It's been somewhat lost to the sands of time, however. The trailer above was uploaded to YouTube by RETROvisions. The poster above is available from

Obscurity factor: 4 (available on DVD, some scenes available on YouTube, relatively unknown except to specific fan groups)


  1. A bit of trivia- most of the movie was filmed in regular widescreen, but when you were experiencing the "brainstorm" visions it went into Super-Panavision, making an interesting little point about real life versus taped..

  2. That is interesting, I had no idea. Thanks for sharing that!

  3. Walken was the third person on the boat (with Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner) the night she died.