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The Brain Machine (1977)

Several people volunteer for a scientific experiment about mind-reading and memory, but the experiment goes horribly wrong.


Joy N. Houck Jr.


Thomas Hal Phillips (story and screenplay), Christian Garrison (story and screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Best ... Rev. Emory Neill
Barbara Burgess Barbara Burgess ... Dr. Carol Portland
Gil Peterson ... Dr. Elton Morris
Gerald McRaney ... Willie West
Marcus J. Grapes Marcus J. Grapes ... Judd Reeves
Doug Collins Doug Collins ... Dr. Roland Roth
Ann Latham ... Minnie Lee Parks (as Anne Latham)
Thomas Hal Phillips Thomas Hal Phillips ... The General (as Thomas Phillips)
Christian Garrison Christian Garrison ... Garrison
Stocker Fontelieu Stocker Fontelieu ... Saxon
Tom Dever ... Bodyguard
Stuart Lancaster ... Senator
Zephirin Hymel IV Zephirin Hymel IV ... Dr. Krisner (as Zephirin Hymel)
Sam Sherrill Sam Sherrill ... A Guard
Stephen C. Burnham Stephen C. Burnham ... Williams


Several people volunteer for a scientific experiment about mind-reading and memory, but the experiment goes horribly wrong.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It Has No Conscience,It Shows No Mercy.


Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 February 1987 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Gray Matter See more »

Filming Locations:

Mississippi, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Howco Productions Inc. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The eerie pulsating sound heard at around 45 minutes is the same as the sound heard in the derelict space station in Lost In Space. See more »


In the first scene at the lab, when Dr. Krisner is escaping with the files, he stops briefly in the doorway where other staff are sitting. He has a large and obvious moustache. He then runs out of the building with the files, and by the time he reaches a tree several hundred yards from the building, he is clean-shaven. The man with the moustache is a different person playing the part. See more »


Judd Reeves: You just stay away from me you scientific bitch!
See more »

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User Reviews

A mind control/paranoia conspiracy theory 70's B-movie definitely worth a watch!
21 April 2016 | by talisencrwSee all my reviews

This is a low-budget 70's film which stems from the cinematic crazes of both the 'evilly-implemented mind control' ('The Manchurian Candidate' and 'The Ipcress File') and 'paranoia about government conspiracy' sub-genres that were fervently expressed in the Vietnam/Watergate era of American cinema. For me, growing up watching James Best as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in 'The Dukes of Hazzard', it was intriguing to watch him here, as a priest selected as one of 4 paid volunteers for an experiment supposedly run by the ECC, an environmental organization. It ends up that it's just a cover to test an experimental mind-control 'Brain Machine' that the U.S. government wants, in order to keep it's citizens in line, in the name of 'keeping social order'. Admittedly, when one of the directors says that the future is surveillance, I couldn't help but shudder at the parallels to society today, in this post-9/11 era. Unfortunately, the more time that passes, the closer these Orwellian cinematic views of civilization and its discontents come to mirroring the way life has become.

No spoilers, but the machine forces the person to tell the truth. Growing up, I have learned that honesty is not always the best policy. In fact, life has to endure the 'little white lie' in order to have things run peacefully. While no cinematic masterwork, this film more than suffices as Exhibit A for evidence. Definitely worth a watch, especially if you can handle 1970's, TV-movie-style filmmaking.

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