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The Brain Eaters  By  cover art

The Brain Eaters

By: Gary Brandner
Narrated by: Sean Duregger
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Publisher's summary

In Milwaukee, a regular at Vic’s Tavern suddenly smashes a beer bottle and carves up the other customers.

In Manhattan, an easygoing cabdriver goes berserk and hurls his cab into a crowd of pedestrians.

In Seattle, a young bride slashes her husband in a busy restaurant, then flings herself through a plate-glass window.

At first, these shocking incidents appear unrelated. Then a disturbing pattern emerges - the agonizing headaches, the violent tantrums, the faces erupting with sickening lesions, then the final, fatal outburst.

The epidemic spreads. The nation panics. The Brain Eaters devour America.

Their hunger can never be satisfied.

©1985 Gary Brandner (P)2020 Mark Alan Miller

What listeners say about The Brain Eaters

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Listener received this title free

A pulp story with a stellar narration

The story is a standard fair pandemic story. The strength there is the visceral depictions of violence and gore. It also does a good job of building tension as the illness spreads.

Unfortunately, the story has a few flaws, in particular the narm-worthy dubbing of the illness as Brain Eaters, the almost bored description of growing unrest and chaos instead of showing it, and lastly the fact that I personally find Cory unlikable. (He comes across as a stubborn, cardboard cutout of the journalist looking for the big story trope). While we're at it, add to that an ending that rushes to resolve everything in a Hollywood happy ending barring the pile of corpses.


The flaws are largely diminished by the fact that the narration is superb! Outside of a few accents that sound a little wonky, it elevates the story and makes it an extremely enjoyable experience.


Full disclosure: This audiobook was given to me for free at my request and I provided this unbiased and voluntary review.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Listener received this title free

Old Time Horror

I did not realize I read this book years ago until I started listening to it, it was much better b being read to you. This is an old time horror about parasites getting into you, at first you experience flu like symptoms and severe headache then you become extremely violent and kill other or destroy yourself. My favorite characters were Corey and the doc. Recommend if you enjoy older horror with good narration. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. Thank you

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very good, but a little outdated.

I liked this story a ton, but the characters weren’t all that well written and likable. I’m not saying characters have to be likable for me to enjoy a good story, but one of the main characters, the protagonist Corey, was a huge dick and I wanted him to die so badly, but, and not to ruin anything, Corey is the hero of this story. So, of course, there was no way he wouldn’t get the girl in the end. Overall, i’m giving this story three and a half stars, round it to four. BUT, I really want to say that the performance for this was out of the park! Excellent narration! Gotta applaud the narrator for this one! Great narration and a pretty good, but outdated story.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • DB
  • 06-26-20
Listener received this title free

The title pretty much says it all.

This is a pretty good little horror book and the reader has a pleasant voice. A little mystery, a lot of violence and some romance. What more could you ask for?

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Listener received this title free

3.5* - good gore, less focus on societal impact

My thoughts align with some of the other reviews here. I thought it wasn't a bad story at all, definitely didn't feel like I was wasting my time. It definitely has the texture of a story set in the 80s, with technology and pop culture references of that time. Interesting twist, the role of the Russians, but consistent with socio-political changes occurring in the 80s. I wasn't particularly impressed with the story's protagonist (perhaps because he was young and somewhat immature), but his character was well written and developed. A bit convenient, how he was able to connect the dots and understand what was happening before anyone else, and how it took a little while for medical examiners to realize that something unusual was happening. The strongest parts of the story for me were the transitions in the characters as they were infected - there was good gore there. It's disturbing to think about how easily and quickly infection can spread.

And that's where I wish the story had gone into a bit more detail. It wasn't the goal of the story, to trace out the spread and impact on society. Instead, the lens was focused on specific characters. But I have an interest and a curiosity about the broader context, especially when the topic of the story is a contagious infection - how that contagion expands through the population, and what does the government and authorities do about it. I wish there was more of that broader picture in the story. This wasn't totally absent from the story, but my personal preference is to have more of it. I think it's because the killer was a type of contagion and the mind automatically starts to think about where and how fast it will spread.

The narration was good for this story. I imagined the protagonist to be a somewhat self-centered young adult man and that's how the narrator painted the image in my mind. The other characters were voices well, no complaints there.

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Listener received this title free

A fun story, brilliantly told!

This is truly enjoyable piece of 1980s horror from the author of The Howling, involving science gone wrong and a man-made plague that turns the victim psychotic before they perish. It has a nice range of characters, some wonderfully brutal set pieces, and enjoyable dialogue that brings it to life.
For me, the most enjoyable element was Sean Dureggar's narration. This is a narrator who obviously knows and loves this genre, and has the performance skills to bring it to life. He has a wonderful range of lighter and darker shades, bringing visceral horror or interpersonal comedy right when it's needed. His characters are distinct, and his female voices work well. His cynical journalist and German scientist were masterful. Sean Dureggar is a joy to listen to. He's one of those voices you don't want to switch off when the car pulls into the driveway. Highly recommended if you like good, character-driven horror performed with style.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Listener received this title free

Parasitic invaders

This book is just as creepy as it is intriguing I was hooked and just could not stop listening. The narrator Sean Duregger brought it home with his phenomenal voices. This book is old school at its finest. I loved the storyline and its creative use of descriptive wording is spine tingling. I highly recommend this book. I received this book at my request. I am leaving my honest review here voluntarily of my own volition.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Listener received this title free

A pulp classic with a top-notch audio performance!

Thank you to Sean Duregger, the narrator of the audiobook, for sending me a download in exchange for an honest review!

It's late at night (or early in the morning depending on how you look at it) and you can't sleep, so you're scrolling through Amazon Video for a scary movie to sink your teeth into. That's when you see it: some '80s horror film you've never heard of. It's 2 AM and the movie is free. Why not? So you press play. Eighty minutes later, the credits are rolling and you’re asking yourself the same question you asked yourself the last time you chose a random '80s horror film on Amazon Video: "What did I just watch?" You're sleep-deprived so you're having trouble remembering. That, and the movie has literally caused your brain to melt and dribble out your ears and into your midnight snack, so that might have something to do with your memory loss as well. There was something about a scientist with a Russian accent. . .and then there was some generic reporter hunting down a big story that will finally launch his career. . . Also, a female scientist who was actually really pretty for being so smart and all, and. . . ah yes! Zombie-like people with melting faces! There was probably more to the movie, but in the morning it'll all seem like some bizarre dream which is probably the desired effect anyhow.

If you have ever found yourself in that situation, congratulations! You are a horror fan that will watch literally anything. I know I have been in that exact situation dozens of times and I have zero regrets about it. I also have zero regrets about listening to the audiobook of The Brain Eaters by Gary Brandner, whose formula is exactly what you would find in one of those Amazon bargain bin B-movies, from the Russian scientists to the melting people.

Like those cheesy 80s horror flicks, there is a lot in The Brain Eaters to keep you entertained; hammy dialogue, over-the-top characters, graphic gore and violence, a highly contagious parasitic virus that turns people into angry monsters with bad acne, and the mass hysteria that stems from said virus. . . which is all too timely. On the other hand, there are a couple other pulpy tropes that plague The Brain Eaters for the worst, such as dry monologues and long explanations of the “science” behind the virus. These scenes do lend some charm to the book, however, as it is hard for a story like this to exist without them.

The only thing more enjoyable than reading The Brain Eaters is listening to the audiobook, narrated by Sean Duregger. Sean is just such a nice guy, and you can hear that in his voice. This can sometimes hurt a horror audiobook, but The Brain Eaters isn’t all that scary or meant to be taken seriously. Therefore, Sean’s gleeful energy only serves to enhance the craziness of the story. He is also a pro at acting out the characters and can do a mean Russian accent. Just such a fun time!

Overall, I recommend The Brain Eaters if you are a fan of vintage horror books or if you read Brandner’s classic The Howling and want to read more of his work. This is a bonkers one, and the audiobook is also top-notch!

A solid 3.5 stars.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars