Why Blofeld's Neurosurgical Assault on James Bond in 'Spectre' Was a Fail

Christoph Waltz has terrible aim with a drill bit.


The worst scene in Spectre involves Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld torturing Bond by sticking a robotic drill into his head, threatening to erase his memory. It’s already terrible because Bond manages to escape, neurologically unscathed, without any explanation. What makes it even worse, at least for neuroscientist Dr. Michael Cusimano, is that the science is all wrong.

Had that scene happened IRL, the St. Michael’s Hospital neurosurgeon wrote in an cranky-scientist commentary published (for some reason) today in the highly prestigious journal Nature, there’s no way Bond would’ve made it out alive.

While Cusimano confirms that Blofeld at least got the name of the brain area right — the “lateral fusiform gyrus” is the brain’s memory bank of faces — his placement of the drill was totally off. Any neuroscientist worth his salt would’ve aimed it at the temporal area just in front of the left ear. Blofeld, evidently neuroanatomically challenged, went for a target below and behind Bond’s left ear, where he definitely would’ve hit the vertebral artery. This makes Bond’s escape all the more baffling. Guy probably would have bled out or had a stroke.

“There are documented patients that have ‘face blindness’ or prosopagnosia,” Cusimano wrote, explaining why Blofeld’s strategy of targeting the LFG wasn’t wrong. “But in this situation, he was so far off, that had Blofeld been my student, he would have surely failed his neuroanatomy.