Wednesday, October 14, 2009

HORROR EPICS: The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)

Here’s an early ‘60s obscurity that was a favorite amongst the Elvira and “Mystery Science Theater 3000” crowds. If the story sounds familiar, it should. Aspects of it were later used in movies like Re-Animator, The Man with Two Brains, and Frankenhooker. Dr. Bill Cortner fancies himself a brilliant surgeon, willing to go the extra mile for science when his colleagues prefer to play it safe. He is at odds with the medical community due to his experiments in organ transplants, but has hit upon a means to keep human body parts alive. When Cortner’s fiancée Jan is decapitated in a car wreck (thanks entirely to his reckless driving), the doctor feels compelled to use his discovery to bring Jan back to life. He rescues her head from the wreckage and brings it back to his basement lab to revive her. When Jan in the Pan comes to and realizes what happened, she is understandably upset about this recent development in her life after death. But the good doctor is determined to restore his special lady and will hear nothing of her protests. Apparently he wasn’t a hundred percent satisfied with her physical endowments though, because he goes prowling around strip clubs and beauty pageants for a sufficiently stacked female body that won’t go missed. Back at the lab, ungrateful Jan begins to plot her revenge. The Brain That Wouldn’t Die isn’t what you’d call a “great” movie per se. In fact, it’s goofy as hell. But it’s never boring, and always watchable. Surprisingly gory for its time, and I get the impression that this was probably considered the height of pure cinematic trash back then. At least until Herschell Gordon Lewis directed Blood Feast a year later. Recommended for the less pretentious members of our viewing audience who just want to kick back with some intoxicants and be entertained. Also known as The Head That Wouldn’t Die.

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