The Brain That Wouldn't Die

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The Brain That Wouldn't Die

Post  BoG on Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:56 pm

Early gross shock theater gore fest and psychotronic madness: the wife of a scientist (Jason Evers, credited as Herb) is decapitated in a car accident. The scientist runs away with her head to his secret lab and manages to revive it. That's spousal support! This infamously also features a mutant giant locked in a closet. The entry for this film in Claws & Saucers, a reference book, sums it up pretty well:
David Elroy Goldweber wrote:This gross movie has achieved unlikely fame, probably because of its broad appeal: MST3K fans, gore fans, brain movie fans, science fiction fans, and horror fans all have something to enjoy. It actually starts out like a serious movie by raising some good issues about medical research. Later on it briefly raises issues about personal identity and the relationship between the body and the mind. But these thoughtful moments feel accidental . The movie is really about cheap sleaze. It's campy, but something misanthropic, almost immoral, taints the camp with sourness . The self-centered doctor has a pathetic one-armed assistant. But what is he keeping in the closet?
Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 10205-10208). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.



It's possible to take the issues (if not the movie) seriously. The "good" doctor remarks that the human body is "not a jigsaw puzzle." Yet few of us would hesitate to accept donated organs if we needed one. Is this a good thing? Or is there something degrading about using each other's organs as interchangeable parts? Further: would we accept a donated limb if it could be successfully grafted to us? Imagine having someone else's hand or arm. Or maybe a finger or thumb? Where would we draw the line between what is "us" and what is alien?

Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 10213-10226). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.

The Brain that Wouldn't Die, along with its 1959 German predecessor The Head, is a prime influence on the nauseating but entertaining Re-Animator (1985). Other connections are The Thing That Couldn't Die and the excellent "Am I Man or Machine?" in Weird Fantasy #1 (1950). For a quality 1950s brain movie, check out Donovan's Brain. Writer-producer Rex Carlton also co-scripted Unearthly Stranger. Carlton killed himself in 1968 because he owed money to the Mafia.

Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 10229-10243). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.

BoG's Score: 4.5 out of 10___

Star Trek TOS Actor Alert: star Evers, later as Jason Evers, guest-starred in the episode Wink of an Eye
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