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The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)

 -  Horror | Sci-Fi  -  10 August 1962 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.0/10 from 4,157 users  
Reviews: 139 user | 64 critic

A doctor experimenting with transplant techniques keeps his girlfriend's head alive when she is decapitated in a car crash, then goes hunting for a new body.

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(original story), (original story), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jason Evers ...
Dr. Bill Cortner (as Herb Evers)
Virginia Leith ...
Anthony La Penna ...
Kurt (as Leslie Daniel)
Adele Lamont ...
Bonnie Sharie ...
Paula Maurice ...
Marilyn Hanold ...
Peggy Howard (as Marlyn Hanold)
Bruce Brighton ...
Arny Freeman ...
Photographer
Fred Martin ...
Medical Assistant
Lola Mason ...
Donna Williams
Doris Brent ...
Nurse
Bruce Kerr ...
Beauty Contest M.C.
Audrey Devereal ...
Jeannie Reynolds (as Audrey Devereau)
Eddie Carmel ...
Monster
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

surgeon | laboratory | fiance | surgery | brain | See more »

Taglines:

It's madness, not science! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 August 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Black Door  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$62,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(uncut) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Two of the film's cast members made quiz show appearances with Johnny Carson. Lola Mason was a contestant on a 1958 episode of Who Do You Trust? (1956), hosted by Carson. Paula Maurice appeared as one of the impostors on a 1961 episode of To Tell the Truth (1956), on which Carson was a guest panelist. See more »

Goofs

Common sense will tell you that when somebody is performing an operation (say, an open heart surgery, or more specifically, in the film they're performing an operation to stimulate the patient's brain) the doctor(s) will get blood on them. Amazingly, Dr. Cortner comes out of the operation room spotless, as do the other doctors and nurses as well as the patient. See more »

Quotes

Kurt: The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations and often lose themselves in error and darkness!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the beginning, the title is given as "The Brain That Wouldn't Die." The end title card lists the title as "The Head That Wouldn't Die." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rabid (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

The Web
Theme Music
by Abe Baker and Tony Restaino
Composed by Tony Restaino (uncredited)
Performed by Abe Baker (uncredited)
By Permission of Laurel Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Works for sheer audacity, shameless conviction of its aims.
12 July 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For what this is (a rather over-heated horror sci-fi stew), it works for its sheer audacity and shameless full-bore conviction of its aims. Mad scientist movies end up resorting to long shots of people in white lab coats talking in sterile sets. But this one has a woman's head in the tray, fighting with the doctor, yelling at the monster in the closet, and engaging the assistant in metaphysical questions usually not heard in such low-budget potboilers.

Nice dynamic that it's his fiancé that he wants to save...but she has become so bitter since becoming a disembodied head in a tray of water. I remember watching this for the first time on TV in the early 70s and being amazed they used to make movies like this.

Better than average camera work, also, trying to get a sense of vertigo and movement throughout. This film with its hell-bent-for-leather pace is a fever-dream that works because it doesn't let go, or tip you to the fact that the makers thought it was ridiculous as it certainly is.

Be sure to get the restored version with the monster in the closet finally grabbing the doctor's arm and making a bloody mess at the end. A great cathartic bloody end to this near Shakespearean morality play about how man should not meddle in god's business.


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