Guy Maddin wrote and directed this wildly idiosyncratic look at one man revisiting his dysfunctional childhood. Guy (Erik Steffan Maahs) is a house painter who, at the urging of his aging mother (Gretchen Krich), returns to the tiny Canadian island where he grew up to put a fresh coat of paint on the lighthouse that was the family home. As Guy tries to cover the wear and tear of many years, he can't help but think back to his troubled youth; young Guy (Sullivan Brown) and his older sister (Maya Lawson) had to compete for attention with the children of the small orphanage Mother operated, while Father (Todd Jefferson Moore) spent most of his time in the basement, working on his latest invention. When a number of the orphans began displaying strange wounds on their heads, the island received a visit from Wendy Hale (Katherine E. Scharhon), a young detective who, along with her brother Chase, had become famous as "the Lightbulb Kids," the heroes of a series of popular books. Guy became quite infatuated with Wendy, and when the teen crime-fighter disguised herself as her brother Chase, Sis developed a powerful attraction to the "young man." As angry orphan Savage Tom (Andrew Loviska) leads a revolt of the youngsters, Chase and the Maddin siblings began to uncover the terrible secret behind Mother's and Father's seemingly unrelated occupations. Shot as a silent film, Brand Upon the Brain! was initially shown as a special presentation with live musical accompaniment from an 11-piece ensemble as well as three sound effects artists and a celebrity narrator. For later screenings, a soundtrack was prepared for the film that included the original musical score and sound effects, as well as narration by Isabella Rossellini.
by Mark Deming synopsis