Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Brainiac (1962)

And the loved-by-others portion of October rolls right along with a cheapo Mexican oddity that's garnered a modest cult over the years.  In 1661, there's a baron who commits, among other crimes, "clumsy magic" and seducing maidens.  So God tells the Inquisition that they can capture him and make him listen to long speeches during a long prologue


All it wanted was to burn him alive, which is accomplished after some displays of black magic on the part of the baron.  Fast forward to 1961 and baronial magic has been displaced by science.  Comet science is the bleeding edge and comet scientists stride the earth like multistory gods.  Science's only link to the superstitious past?  Long long monologues, about comets which


Et cetera.  And enough subtitles for now.  But look at how happy science can make a boy!


Gee willickers!  Too bad your precious goddamn comet also brought the immolated evil baron from the first part of the movie.  He's out to see revenge against the descendants of his torturers, revealed in laughable special effects at a party.  What kind of monster is that?


Oh, wait, let's tweak the design a little.


That's better.  And that's probably also a big key to the film's popularity, as monster aficionados would be stumped to find a monster design more lovably idiotic than the Brainiac.  Prehensile tongue, confused facial features, and he's maybe the only monster who sports formal evening wear during his entire reign of terror.  PS The Brainiac is an American retitling of El Baron del Terror, which even novice Spanish speakers could tell you does not mean "The Brainiac".  But K. Gordon Murray imported this and retitled it for American audiences, beating it with a whip and yelling, "Your name is Toby The Brainiac!"


And, to be fair, he does eat brains in a few scenes.  That's not what "brainiacs" do in real life, but let's grade with grace here.  The Brainiac's arsenal includes his long tongue, which can penetrate skulls, and his hypnotic eyes.  He mostly uses his mesmeric powers to make out with other men's sweeties (which is admittedly really hot effective) and gain after-hours access to an archive of old books (which is ridiculous).  The monster design is clearly crazo, but I found myself wanting more outlandishness in the non-monster scenes.  I can see the appeal, but this didn't win my heart the way that stuff like Robot Monster and The Golden Bat did.  But, yet again, conventional wisdom says I'm wrong, so you decide, reader.


**1/2

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