Brainstorm (1983): Trumbo’s Sci-Fi, Starring Natalie Wood in her Last Film

Natalie Wood, who drowned in 1981 in a boat accident, made her last screen appearance in the sci-fi thriller Brainstorm, directed by F/X specialist Douglas Trumbo.

Because she died before production was completed, the feature necessitated extensive rewrites and other adjustments.

Wood’s character, Karen Brace, is secondary to the one played by Christopher Walken, her husband Michael Brace, a research scientist who has been experimenting with a revolutionary brain-reading device.

His invention, a machine able to read a person’s thought processes and translate them to videotape. When Brace wants to study the brainwaves of his late partner Lillian Reynolds (Louise Fletcher), he finds himself seriously at odds with his superiors, not to mention threatening government officials, headed by Alex Terson (Cliff Robertson).

This ambitious film benefits from an intriguing premise but suffers from poor plotting, though the visual and sound effects are impressive for their time.


Running time: 106 minutes.

Directed by Douglas Trumbull.

Written by Bruce Joel Rubin, Robert Stitzel, Philip Frank Messina

Released on September 30, 1983.

DVD: August 22, 2000