The Brainiac (1962)
Baron of Terror
El Barón del Terror
Nomination Year: 2012
There's a brainiac, brainiac on the loose
and he's suckin' brains 'cause he likes to drink the juice
This is an oddly-paced film. Large swathes of it are almost immobile. The opening scene, for instance, is primarily done in dark colors, with nobody moving. The Inquisition is putting the Baron d'Estera on trial. Voice-over narration is followed by dialogue primarily from members of the Inquisition ... who wear black hoods. The only motion in the first few minutes of the movie is when they cut to the Baron, laughing. Of course, they only had one clip of the actor laughing....
These scenes are punctuated with moments of sheer bad brilliance, such as the pope-inspired Clothing of Shame that the Baron wears while being burnt at the stake in the year IGGI (a really horrible font choice for "1661"), or the moment that the comet turns into a big piece of baked alaska and comes in for a landing.
The Inquisition have tried to get a confession out of Baron d'Estera, but he won't talk. His buddy (dressed like Hamlet) speaks up in his behalf, and gets lashes for his audacity. The Baron is burned at the stake, but threatens to return to wreak his vengeance in three hundred years, when ... he looks overhead and sees a transparency in the sky ... that comet returns to earth. His vengeance will be wreaked on all the descendants of the four inquisitors.
We figured this was setting up for a Quentin Tarantino/John Woo bloodbath. After all, the Inquisition was a Catholic thing, and three hundred years could lead to a lot of descendants from four men. Something to make 300 look like Twelve Angry Men.
But, no. When the comet returns, there are only apparently six to eight (we were never really sure) descendants of the inquisitors. The Baron returns in the clever guise of a shapeshifting mosquito-themed space alien, and he kills his victims by sucking their brains out through two holes in the back of their neck. The holes are approximately Peso-sized, which becomes humorously relevant later in the movie, when we see that somehow all the victim's brains are fully-intact, and kept in a goblet, from which the Baron eats daintily with a long spoon. But I digress.
The Baron starts killing folks, and gets all the way down to our astronomer boyfriend-girlfriend pair (who saw the comet but missed its transformation to giant dessert barge). She's descended from an inquisitor, but he's descended from Hamlet (the Baron's old buddy). This buys just enough time during the climactic brain-sucking-attempt sequence for the bungling cops to show up with flamethrowers and kill the Baron.
- Stupidest-Looking Monster
What was in that last drink?
In its natural environment (?), the Brainiac strikes. It's sort of a nutcracker-looking Spanish werewolf thingy with bug eyes and a mosquito-like proboscis (through which it sucks brains). No wonder it masquerades as human.
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