Saturday, December 7, 2013


Brainwash (Circle Of Power, Mystique, Naked Weekend) Directed By Bobby Roth. Starring Yvette Mimieux (1981).
The Mystique corporation uses humiliation, mind control, mock burials, S&M and even crucifixions on its employees to break their collective will so that they succeed and thank them later for it. It was all based on a true account by Gene Church in a book called The Pit: A Group Encounter Defiled.
   This is one of the most disturbing psychodrama's that I've cackled like a madman through-out, its viciously entertaining, especially if you're familiar with the tubby actor (Walter Olkewicz) who chases around Kramer in that "cable guy" Seinfeld episode! He's the only poor sap we get to see naked in this torture fest (I guess the film wants to torture its audience)!

It's not a Frat Party until the fat guy ends up in a cage!
   Yvette Mimieux (Jackson County Jail, The Time Machine and the Black Hole) plays Bianca, a sadistic corporate trainer, who after parading Buddy (Olkewicz) around naked, asks him "Where's your penis?", as her hulking German henchman traps him in a cage and pelts him with lettuce! 
   Keep in mind all this senseless torture is a motivation tool to bully these slobs onto the next executive level. It uses Pasolini's Salo (lite) as its corporate model and some of the bootcamp style methods were based on EST (Erhard Seminar Training). EST were the among those ultra 70's cults that abused people by not letting them go to the bathroom and used the guise of self-help to justify torturing people into submission. All these torture techniques were later used to support all the oil wars that we'd like to erase from our collective minds in reality, (but let's not get all political)! 
   The film's underlying message of shedding your dignity for corporate culture, shows the very real shift in society that went from liberal wimps to razor sharp multinational sell-outs in the 70's and 80's.  
It's for you're own good granola eaters
   Jack Nilsson (Chris Allport) and his wife Lyn (Cindy Pickett, or the actress who played Ferris Bueller's mom) are the reluctant characters who retaliate against the others in the mob.
   Dr. Death himself, John Considine is the abuser of the employees wives (each group is split up by sex). At one point he tries to start a bitch fight between poor and richer classes, bringing up one mother's well to do private school kids vs. public school.
   They showcase their corporate media prowess with an interview conducted by David Suskind, who was the Dick Cavett of his day.
   The oddest part of Brainwash to me, was how after each unpleasant encounter, most of the characters believed that it was all beneficial (even the old guy who was sealed up in a coffin and almost buried alive, quickly fell in line). All the black servant characters in the back ground working at the house, are either playing cards, taking baths or just shaking their heads in bewilderment at these crazy crackers! 
Clownish whore make-up seminar is complete
   It finally reaches a point, where only a few want to escape and the majority are under Mystique's control. The film shows how abuse used to build people up is irrational, but its also very anti-climactic and the end just sort of happens, credits role, The End.
   I liked Brainwash a lot, its an uncomfortable little film that bugs you more than it should, perhaps because it magnifies humanities grotesqueness and inherent nature to submit to greed for the promise of success. Of course none of it was worth it, just psychological trauma and more therapy for those that escaped to come later! Mimieux has never been more terrifying and most of the acting is top notch, there's alot of bizarre VHS covers out there that used clever marketing to sell this as a dominatrix, corporate nightmare but there's zero female nudity. Walter Olkewicz went onto to David Lynch infamy as the slimebag Jacques Renault in Twin Peaks.
   Bobby Roth went onto to direct Lost and Prisonbreak and sadly never made another film this powerful, I guess he sold out!

Believer Magazine article about EST

You can order this rare DVD from J4THI

If I only had a pecker I'd pee on you 

On weekends I'm Doctor Rapist!

When you're Mystique, you're mystique all the way...


  1. Thanks for drawing my attention to this. It certainly sounds right up my street. Surrpised I missed it up until now to be honest. Homing in on one thing that you wrote though: " the very real shift in society that went from liberal wimps to razor sharp multinational sell-outs in the 70's and 80's".

    This is something that I pick up on time and again with my reviews too. Admittedly in my case it was the influence of Curtis documentaries such as Century of the Self and so on that I helped me think through this but it is something I return to a lot now when dealing with the whole counterculture and its aftermath. Great review.

  2. Thanks alot, yeah they really pound the era of fad corporate retreats and torture centers and history is always reflected in the best horror films. Nowhere else can you exploit it and get away with showing what really goes on but in an exploitation movie where the public won't bother to notice.


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