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Dr. Bill Cortner has been performing experimental surgery on human guinea pigs without authorization and against the advice of his father, also a surgeon. When Bill's fiancée Jan Compton is decapitated in an automobile accident, he manages to keep her brain alive. He now needs to find a new body for his bride-to-be and settles on Doris Powell, a glamor model with a facial disfigurement. Jan meanwhile doesn't want to continue her body-less existence and calls upon the creature hidden in the basement, one of Bill Cortner's unsuccessful experiments, to break loose. Written by
The opening credits bear the title THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE. Some 80 minutes later, the same film is strangely billed as THE HEAD THAT WOULDN'T DIE in the end credits. That gives you an idea of how much effort went into this '60s schlockfest.
But that doesn't mean it's not worth watching if you're in the right mood. Jason Evers (who would later lend his considerable talents to such memorable efforts as A PIECE OF THE ACTION and A MAN CALLED GANNON) stars as a wacky doc who thinks it'd be just super to keep his fiancée's head alive in his laboratory after her untimely decapitation in a car accident. He's understandably not content marrying a head, so he seeks out an appropriate (though not necessarily willing!) body donor.
Much of the "action" takes place in the mad doc's basement lab (likely marking one of the final times the traditionally cheesy horror film lab set was put to use). Jan Compton (Virginia Leith), or Jan in the Pan as she's called, spends an awful lot of time yapping and whining. Another IMDb reviewer wasn't far off when he likened her to THE HEAD THAT WOULDN'T SHUT UP! Can you blame her? She's understandably not content to live this sort of life. But what's really holding her interest (and mine... there, I admitted it) is the doctor's other monstrous creation, which keeps trying to pound its from behind its single-doored prison. Will our hero find a body for his woman? Are the authorities on to him? Why am I enjoying this so much? Those are just some of the questions you'll find yourself asking.
THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE comes to us in the tradition of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE and THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS, though it's not quite on par with those films in terms of "so bad it's good" appeal. As incredible as it sounds, the picture is legitimately able to hold the viewer's interest with its outrageous plot and suspense built up over the creature behind the door. Sure it goes on a bit too long and sure there are dull moments, but what did you expect?
Admit it. If you haven't seen this one, at least part of you wants to. It's probably that part that yearns for pure, unadulterated stupidity from grown men and women from time to time. So indulge that inner glutton with THE BRAIN THAT WOULD'T DIE.
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