Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 15th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: Mexico, 1962
Director: Chano Urueta
Writers: Federico Curiel, Antonio Orellana
Cast: Abel Salazar, David Silva, German Robles, Rene Cardona, Luis Aragon, Ofelia Guilmain, Ruben Rojo
DVD released: August 29th, 2006
Approximate running time: 77 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33.1 Fullframe
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: Casa Negra/Panik House
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: In 1661 Baron Vitelius of Astara is convicted by the Inquisitors for making a deal with the devil. His punishment is to be burned alive and while he is burning he vows to return one day to kill the descendents of those who burned him alive. 300 hundred years later on the night the Baron was burned alive he returns to exact his revenge. One by one the Baron eliminates another name off his list. Will the Baron be able to pull off his diabolical scheme before he is exposed as the perpetrator of these crimes?
Brainiac was directed by Chano Urueta who also directed The Witch’s Mirror. Both films feature the same drawings in the opening credits. Chano Urueta once again supplies stylish direction that gives this low budget affair a more glossy appearance. Brainiac while not the best example of Mexican Horror films from this era it is still an engaging film that overcomes its many short comings.
The plot which starts off strong with Baron Vitelius being burned alive for his crimes quickly turns into a film that totally defies logic. First off how come its takes so long for anyone to suspect Baron Vitelius as the murderer especially since he is the only new person to come to town since the crimes started. Also each victim falls way to easy into the Brainiac’s trap.
The acting is also pretty bad with the real stand out being Abel Salazar as Baron Vitelius aka The Brainiac. Abel Salazar from the opening moments sets the tone for his character withy his icy cold stare. The Brainiac is one of the most bizarre monsters in the history of horror cinema. It is a shape sifting creature that also has the powers of invisibility and last but not least it likes to eat its victim’s brains. The costume for the Brainiac like the rest of the special effects in the film looks cheap and crude in their design. Overall despite everything that went wrong with this film there is something charming about it that keeps you glued to the screen waiting for the next train wreck to happen.
Casa Negra presents Brainiac in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio that retains the films original aspect ratio. This transfer was sourced from restored vault elements and the transfer looks exceptional. Details look sharp and black levels are solid as the image remains stable throughout. There are no problems with compression, artifacts or edge enhancement and print damage is minimal.
This release comes with two audio options the films original Spanish language mix and an English dubbed audio mix. Both audio mixes are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Dialog is crisp and music and effects sound evenly balanced. The main difference between the two audio mixes is that the English audio mix plays at times slightly out of sync and the Spanish language mix sounds fuller. There are some instances of hiss or issues with distortion that crop up from time to time on the English dubbed audio mix. Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and understand have been included.
Extras for this release include a Casa Negra Loteria game card, a radio spot from 1969, poster & stills galleries, cast & crew bios. Other extras include the Brainiac interactive digital press kit and a text essay titled “It’s Only the Most Horror Film Ever Made”. Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary with Kirb Pheeler the inventor of the Brainiac interactive digital press kit. This audio commentary is one of the more entertaining you will ever hear as Kirb Pheeler’s enthusiasm for the Brainiac is contagious.
Like their previous releases Casa Negra latest Brainiac comes with a bilingual menu where you can choose English or Spanish. The cover art is reversible with the option once again of choosing English or Spanish.
Casa Negra gives Brainiac is best home video release to date with its solid audio/video presentation and wide assortment of insightful extras, highly recommended.