Mexican Horror, The Brainiac

Written by Joe D on September 21st, 2007

This is a film I really liked as a kid. The Brainiac has it all, it starts 300 years ago with an Inquisition. The Baron is on trial for being a witch. He’s condemned to die, as the flames lick around him he curses his persecutors. He points to a comet blazing away in the sky. “When it returns I will be back and I’ll take my revenge on your descendants.” Great set up.

No One Expects The Spanish Inquisition!

He returns in 1960 Mexico and causes quite a ruckus. He’s a debonair, sophisticated guy. Rich and of royal lineage so all of society is clamoring to meet him.

So Suave, So Sophisticated, So Fond Of Eating Brains

He uses some kind of mind control to make people do his will. Then he transforms into a strange monster with exaggerated features( a racial stereotype?) and a forked tongue that he jabs into the back of his victims necks so he can suck their brains out.

Ooga Booga!

One of my favorite scenes is where the Baron is entertaining some guests at his castle-like pad. They’re playing bridge or cribbage or whatever the upper class Mexican would play in 1960. Suddenly the Baron breaks out in a sweat, he looks as if he might faint. He excuses himself from his guests and retires to another room. There is a huge wooden treasure chest in the room. The Baron takes out an ancient key and opens it. Inside the chest is an ornate serving dish of heavy silver and in the dish is a human brain. The Baron grabs a sort of chalice and begins eating. Within moments he is refreshed and he returns to his guests.

Curiously Refreshing

There are some sexy sequences where the Baron uses his powers to subdue beautiful women. The catholicism of Mexico gives the imagery a certain perversion that is very powerful.

Slip Her The Tongue

To quote the maestro Luis Bunuel:” Eroticism without Religion is like an egg without salt.” There are several Mexican Horror films from this period I found oddly disturbing. The Witch’s Mirror and The Curse of The Crying Woman The Curse Of The Doll People and The Vampire’s Coffin. They were obviously made for very low budgets. In Brainiac there are several scenes staged before a slide projected background, an interesting technique. All these films are very atmospheric and have a primitive ruthlessness that is effective.

Do You Like It From The Back, My Dear?

Also I only saw the K. Gordon Murray versions of these films. He dubbed them in English at his own low budget sound facility.

K. Gordon Murray’s Dub House
There’s something about that simple unadorned sound mix that adds to the wierdness of these films. If you’ve ever seen Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space you might remember the Bela Lugosi footage narrated by Wood. It shows Bela coming out of his house, smelling a flower and walking off, while the narration tells of the recent death of his wife.

Bela Baby

The sparseness of that voice with hardly any background sound creates an eerie feeling in the spectator. Maybe because we’re not used to hearing such raw, unadorned sound. Most movies have music, backgrounds,sound effects, foley, and production sound all mixed to create an aural world. These films have such a different sonic palate that we’re unbalanced but we don’t know why. I’ve also heard rumors of a Satanic cult on Long Island that held Black masses whenever a K. Gordon Murray Horror film was on. If you watch any it will make sense to you.


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Oct

    Ah, you did Brainiac! And you did Bela in Plan 9 too! I agree: there’s something strangely scary about Bela in Plan 9. It’s an eerie film in ways that I’m not sure its detractors understand, mainly because it gives a heavily-obscured window into the times in which it was made. I’d elaborate, but I’m running low on fuel after a long day dealing with matters related to eviction.

  2. May

    Horror means Mexican Horror.

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