Sunday, January 15, 2012

BRAINWASH (Circle of Power)

For your consideration: An all-but-forgotten 1981 movie masterpiece showcasing the intoxicating talents of Yvette Mimieux --> A virtually unavailable gem entitled:

The story opens at the executive offices of Mystique, Inc., where CEO Bianca Ray (Mimieux) rules with extreme prejudice. We don't exactly know what Mystique does, but it looks to be cosmetics, perfume, fashion-related. She immediately lays down the gauntlet, outlining the upcoming seminar, required of employees for advancement: EDT, Executive Development and Training. This mysterious ritual promises to weed out the losers and catapult the winners to the next level.

Immediately apparent is the cold, intimidating sexual power of the unapproachable Ms. Ray. So thoroughly squared-away and professional, she makes Margaret Thatcher seem like Mary-Ann from Gilligan's Island. The starched pleats on her executive ensemble could slit your throat and return to business before exsanguination begins! Forget the leather, whips and stilettos, you old perverts; one icy glance from Bianca Ray could reduce you to a simpering, submissive puppy-boy. (But we never get to see her so scantily clad as in the poster above, which makes her all the more bewitching.)

More about this odd film after a little digression regarding the career of the great Yvette!

She was Weena opposite Rod Taylor's George in 1960's THE TIME MACHINE, confusing us all with her beautifully alien manner and visage.

She teams again with Taylor in DARK OF THE SUN, a 1968 mercenary powder keg exploding from the screen, blowing blood and guts into your popcorn, fool. (Otto was dragged to this movie in chains by the Supreme Adjudicator of Ivanlandia, undergoing his own EDT.)

Perhaps the groundwork for Yvette's ruthless Bianca was laid in JACKSON COUNTY JAIL, in which she is tossed in the clink and raped by a bad, bad man, but delivered from harm by the quiet, brooding Tommy Lee Jones. A 70s classic.

Finally, an OMR favorite: the unfathomable DEVIL DOG: THE HOUND OF HELL.
The Barry family gets a new puppy, but are sorely unprepared for the care and feeding of a canine agent of Satan. R.G. Armstrong plays a satanic puppy-peddler!

What a gas when Richard Crenna is impelled by man's-best-friend to stick his hand into a running lawn mower! Unfortunately he is able to resist. (SPOILER ALERT: TOO LATE) Yvette plays Mrs. Barry. One night she finds herself alone in the house with Devil Dog. Sensing something wrong, she gets a little edgy, and slowly backs herself into her bedroom. But evil doggy trots in after, closing the door with his demon mind! The bumping of uglies is implicit; a truly shocking B-moment. Later when hubby returns home, Yvette is primed with drink in hand, randy and ready for action.
An absolute must-see performance by Her Highness! (OK, i blew the best moments, but see it anyway.)

Returning to BRAINWASH, AKA Circle of Power, we at OMR are too stupid to summarize the movie. We leave that to the folks over at Stomp Tokyo. Here's what they write:


During the week of EDT, these men and their wives (there don't seem to be any female Mystique employees) check into a remote luxury hotel maintained by the company. Then Ms. Ray begins to torture them. That's right, torture.
EDT consists of splitting the trainees into two groups (by gender) and then subjecting them to rigorous physical punishment, public humiliation, and various forms of mental abuse. The aim of all this activity is to expose each person's subconscious hangups: the fat guy eats because he was sexually abused as a child, the old guy is drinking himself to death and needs help to regain his will to live, and so on. In turn, each subject realizes what his hangup is and then thanks his torturers profusely for helping him to see the light. "It works!" they each chant as they are finally released from their personal hells. "It really works!"

Of course, not everyone is convinced. But by the time anyone works up the nerve to say anything, there are enough converts to the cause (not to mention the hired muscle) to keep the others "open-minded." The women, too, are subjected to the same sort of torture by Ray's male counterpart. To be honest, it's pretty gruesome throughout: the attendees are under-fed and over-exercised, marriages are tested, and worst of all, character actor Walter Olkewicz takes off his clothes.
The VHS tape in the OMR library has been run so many times, it eventually snapped. The tape spools had to be removed from the cartridge, the tape spliced and transplanted to another cartridge.
This surgical procedure was performed in an antiseptic environment by trained technicians wearing bio-hazard suits. Norman W. was chief surgeon. This is required viewing for any ambitious movie lover. Good luck finding a copy.

The film was adapted from a 1970s book called THE PIT: A Group Encounter Defiled. WOW! Had this book sold more, we may have lost fewer souls at Jonestown!!!