Sunday, October 25, 2009
Original Title: El Barón del Terror
Director: Chano Urueta
Writer: Federico Curiel, Adolfo López Portillo, Antonio Orellana (uncredited)
In 1661 Mexico, the Baron Vitelius of Astara is sentenced to be burned alive by the Holy Inquisition of Mexico for witchcraft, necromancy, and other crimes. As he dies, the Baron swears vengeance against the descendants of the Inquisitors. 300 years later, a comet that was passing overhead on the night of the Baron's execution returns to earth, bringing with it the Baron in the form of a horrible, brain-eating monster that terrorizes the Inquisitor's descendants.
For those of you who have been waiting patiently to finally get to one of those super low budget mexi-horror schlockfests, your wait is over. El Baron del Terror has just about everything you want from such a film minus real gore and nudity.
As with my previous review of Munecos Infernales, I will not waste your time going into detail about the acting and directing and such. It's all piss poor. Universally bad. Made only a couple years after Misterios del Ultratumba, El Baron del Terror (known as Brainiac here in the U.S. after K. Gordon Murray re-released it) is about as opposite on the art spectrum as one can get without just showing home videos of dads getting their sacks pelted by wiffle ball bats.
The story itself actually sounded good on paper. Maybe good in a bad way, yes, but it's way out there and just made me smile reading about it. Inquisitors, a comet, and a brain eating Baron out for brains... I mean really could you get anymore awesome sounding than that? When it gets down to it, there's a lot of shit that just doesn't make sense.
Like why is there only ONE descendant for each ancestor from 300 years prior? Surely there must be children elsewhere.
There's a lot of this in there, which is surprising since the film minus some filler would have been an episode of the Twilight Zone. It's only runs 76 minutes, and it's pretty fast at that. It's better than an Ed Wood film like Plan 9 From Outer Space because at least it is written straight through and essentially everything that appears has a purpose, but that is at leas the ballpark you will be approaching when you sit down with El Baron.
The special effects and sets are probably the most hilarious thing about this movie. It is never explained why the Baron must change into this hideous fork-tongued mosnter when he does his dirty work, but you'll be glad that he does. His tongue is his primary source for extracting/sucking brain tissue, but evidently he saves it to stew in a pimp goblet and eat later. He hypnotizes people to go about his blood sucking by someone offstage flashing a light across his eyes a few times.
The tongue looks hilarious as it is obvious someone is just pushing this plastic twizzler in and out of the hole that is supposed to be the Baron's mouth. He's like a shitty looking butterfly!
When he is stalking is prey, he has these hilarious noodly fingers that look to be sucker type utensils themselves. They flop all around like flaccid penises on his hairy hands. And his mask is the worst - you can actually see the goddamn thing drawing in and then expanding as the actor behind breathes heavily!
There are a couple nice sets, like the inside of the Baron's pad for instance, but some are just a second thought apparently. Whenever a character goes outside, it is still painfully obvious they are NOT outside with backdrops and artificial looking surroundings.
If you don't think this image is phenomenal, the allure of this film may be lost on you! I'm thinking about carrying this picture in my wallet.
This movie is a shiny turd, don't get me wrong. But I thought it was very entertaining for what it was. Much of the time it feels almost like a parody of real horror films. It was hard for me to tell if the filmmakers were taking it all seriously when they made this film, but either way I think they knew what they had and went with it.
As a film, it lacks almost any technical or artistic merit.
However, I'd definitely recommend this in a group, or even to check out for some foreign mega low-budget camp!
Score: 5 / 10