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The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  10 August 1962 (USA)
4.0
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Ratings: 4.0/10 from 4,379 users  
Reviews: 141 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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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
Edit

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

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

When Dr. Cortner is sitting on the sofa talking to the blond stripper, and the brunet stripper enters the room, two chairs can be seen in the room, one is to the right of the sofa, and one in front of the mirror. However in the next shot as the brunet stripper walks in front of the sofa the two chairs are gone. Then one chair reappears under the mirror when the strippers drop to the floor and start to wrestle. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Bill Cortner: Is it a crime for science to jump ahead? By years?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Even before the opening credits, the voice of Jan can be heard saying, "Let me die. Let me die!" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Serial Mom (1994) 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

 
Excellent, atmospheric shocker made for the pre-1977 world
24 May 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of those movies that puzzles today's audiences. They're so jaded with mega-million dollar budgeted, hyperactive action films, they have no idea what movies were like before "Star Wars" ruined the market for drive-ins and one-screen sidewalk theaters.

"Brain That Wouldn't Die" is a personal favorite of mine. I grew up seeing it occasionally on Detroit's WKBD-TV50 Saturday night Chiller Movie Double Feature during the 1970s. It was the perfect thriller to watch late at night (in those days stores closed and people went to bed early), after a long sunny week in school and playing outside. There were no computers, cellphones, video games, cable TV or videos back then. You had three or four channels and they signed off after the news. If you were still up after 11:30pm, you felt like the last person on earth; the perfect setting in which to watch this type of picture.

The film sets a nightmarish tone immediately with its moody, creepy score and grim B&W cinematography. Yes, it's a low-budget independent film produced by people mostly just starting out. Given that it was most of the production's first screen credit, it is outstanding.

Despite the comedy relief stripper scenes, the film was one of the more violent, gory and shocking at the time and for years that followed. Everyone's stomach turned over at the arm tearing out scene and my mother used to excuse herself from the room at that point, she found it so disturbing.

Like Abbott & Costello before them--and MST3K after them--the Medved brothers ruined films like this by burlesquing them in their 1980 book, "The Golden Turkey Awards." This and the post- "Star Wars" culture have doomed these movies to an eternity of sneering contempt from a younger audience weened on endless laser blasts, propane explosions and hyperactive CGI effects.

Happily, I got to see and enjoy "Brain That Wouldn't Die" while it was still considered relevant. Every kid on the block used to know and love this movie--and I was one of them.


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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