Yes, Assignment Terror is campy, that’s why I watched it, but it wasn’t just a low-budget Spanish horror film, it was also incredibly stupid. When you sit down to watch some 1960’s science fiction you set aside things like plausibility but Assignment Terror is just one face palm after another. If it were a comedy it would be understandable but it appears to take itself seriously.
The “terror” begins when aliens from outer space decide to take over the earth by preying on humanity’s superstitious and over-emotional nature. To do this the super-advanced aliens resurrect a vampire, a mummy, a werewolf, and Frankenstein. Perhaps the aliens hired Ed Wood as a consultant when drawing up their plans. If according to Assignment Terror all these Universal Studios monsters actually exist then humanity is not at all superstitious but justifiably terrified. Believing in vampires is not superstitious if vampires exist. Stupid aliens.
The suave, grey-haired, leader alien explains to his colleagues that it’s not just superstition that makes humans vulnerable but their capacity to feel things like pity and sympathy. The idea that these aliens are psychopathic is intriguing but unfortunately due to their having to inhabit human bodies, they become vulnerable to our weak and unstable emotional lives. Of course Maleva, the female alien, is first to succumb to these emotions. You know how weak and dumb women can be, even alien women.
It is clear that Maleva has doubts about Mr. Suave’s plan. After he tasks his 5 monsters with the destruction of the 4 billion people inhabiting the Earth, he decides he needs to control the minds of a horde of beautiful young women. When Maleva witnesses the first pretty blonde victim being tortured by Mr. Suave’s diabolical machine she is overwhelmed with primitive, human sympathy and so cries out for him to stop. He explains that he needs to do this because beautiful young women are like magnets. He doesn’t really explain much more, so ladies please be careful around those MRI machines unless you’re ugly then you can stroll around with impunity.
Everything starts to unravel as one by one the aliens succumb to their corporal urges. Maleva and another alien named Kerian, start going at it in Maleva’s bedroom, but Mr. Suavo seems to have cameras positioned all over the world including one hovering right next to Maleva’s bed that she fails to notice. He flicks on the monitor and watches the goings-on from his lab.
Displeased with what he sees Mr. Suave sends Frankenstein to strangle poor Kerian mid-coitus. Mr. Suave is very pleased with his Frankenstein because instead of running on plain, old electricity Frankenstein runs on atomic power. Apparently Mr. Suave needs some pointers on how nuclear power works.
Assignment terror gets bonus points for the mummy’s makeup but demerits for Frankenstein’s makeup, and more demerits for a personal pet peeve that seems standard in low-budget horror movies, skeletons that somehow stay together without any ligaments or tendons.
Mr. Suave’s counterpart is a dashing detective. We never learn much about him but he falls in love with some mod fashion model type and we have to suffer through the strolling-through-a-European-City-and-falling-in-love-montage until she finally gets seduced by the vampire, and dashing dicky has to go save her.
Finally at the end, as the aliens realize they have been defeated by humanity’s humanity we have the typical Star Trek speech where the evil Mr. Suave reports back to his home planet and explains that human emotions do not in fact make humanity weak, but instead, make them indomitable (Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Celexa, Klonipin, Paxil, Lexapro, and Lithium, notwithstanding.)
Los Monstruos del Terror, the original title, was directed by Hugo Fregonese, or at least half of it was. He wisely quit halfway through. It was finished by Tulio Demicheli. The production had its fair share of troubles and ran out of money, but they managed to release it in 1970. At least the poster was kinda cool although there is something terribly wrong with the lady’s spine and pelvis.