Oh, Brainiac, Where Have You Been All My Life?

One fine Monday afternoon at ye olde video shoppe, the indefatigable Tim Cooper and I were talking about bad horror movies, and he asked if I remembered the name of the movie in which the antagonist eats people’s brains with a spoon.

I had no idea what he was talking about which shocked me mightily. I mean, how could I have possibly missed such a thing?

He soon remembered it was called The Brainiac (U.S. release. It was El Baron Del Terror in Mexico) and fetched it from the Cult section. Clearly it was a professional obligation (if not a moral imperative) that I take it home and watch it.

Which I did.

Three times in a row.

Cuz damn.Read More »

Horrificus Romanus: I, Claudius

It may be some time, if at all, since you last delved into the vicious and lethal grandeur of Rome as it was portrayed in I, Claudius.  After all, Robert Graves’s book was first published in 1934. The BBC series first aired in 1976. In Pittsburgh, it ran on WQED, the local PBS station. My father watched it religiously.

So it was with more than a little nostalgia that I recently took to the series again. Fair warning: the first three episodes? Slow going. But you owe it to yourself the wade through them. That’s when the intrigues, mayhem, and bloodshed take off exponentially.

This includes what I find to be several fine horror sequences, things that are horrific not so much in terms of gore (there really isn’t any, though some is strongly implied).


No, this is more often malevolence on a psychological level. Implacable Kafka-esque bureaucracy as in, say, The Trial. Creepy outright ickiness. Or just death on a grand scale.

Here, then, is a wee sample.Read More »