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The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 10 August 1962 (USA)
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.

Director:

Joseph Green

Writers:

Joseph Green (screenplay), Rex Carlton (original story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jason Evers ... Dr. Bill Cortner (as Herb Evers)
Virginia Leith ... Jan Compton / Jan in the Pan
Anthony La Penna Anthony La Penna ... Kurt (as Leslie Daniel)
Adele Lamont Adele Lamont ... Doris Powell
Bonnie Sharie Bonnie Sharie ... Blonde Stripper
Paula Morris Paula Morris ... Brunet Stripper
Marilyn Hanold ... Peggy Howard (as Marlyn Hanold)
Bruce Brighton Bruce Brighton ... Dr. Cortner
Arny Freeman Arny Freeman ... Photographer
Fred Martin Fred Martin ... Medical Assistant
Lola Mason Lola Mason ... Donna Williams
Doris Brent Doris Brent ... Nurse
Bruce Kerr Bruce Kerr ... Beauty Contest M.C.
Audrey Devereau Audrey Devereau ... Jeannie Reynolds
Eddie Carmel 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

Taglines:

It's madness, not science! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 August 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Black Door See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$62,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(uncut) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 Morris 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

In the initial surgery Cortner is very happy when he says the electric shock is enervating the brain, implying the brain is gaining strength when, in actuality, enervating means the opposite (i.e. sapping strength, weakening, causing to lose vigor) See more »

Quotes

Dr. Bill Cortner: There's more to surgery than just being a carpenter to patch up walls or a plumber to drain pipes. Our body's capable of adjusting in ways we've never dreamt of. If we could only find the key!
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 »

Alternate Versions

An alternate shot of the men taking photographs of the model has the model completely topless. This was available for use in foreign release versions. See more »

Connections

Featured in Sorrow B4 Christmas (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

The Web
Composed by Tony Restaino
Performed by Abe Baker
By Permission of Laurel Records
[Theme Music]
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Disturbing for all the wrong reasons, but nonetheless interesting
11 December 2006 | by mstomasoSee all my reviews

The Brain (or head) that Wouldn't Die is one of the more thoughtful low budget exploitation films of the early 1960s. It is very difficult to imagine how a script this repulsively sexist could have been written without the intention of self-parody. And the themes that are expressed repeatedly by the female lead, Ginny Leith - a detached head kept alive by machines, I-Vs and clamps - seem to confirm that the film was meant to simultaneously exploit and critique gender stereotypes. Shades of the under-rated Boxing Helena.

The genderisms are plentiful, and about as irritating as an army of angry ants. The dialog is hyperbolic, over-dramatic and unbelievable, and the acting is merely OK (but not consistent). Why have I given this film a 4? Because some thought clearly went into it. I am really not sure what point the film was really trying to make, but it seems clear that it strives for an unusually edgy and raw sort of horror (without the blood and guts today's audiences expect).

Another unique and interesting aspect of the Brain is that there really are not any heroes in this film, and none of the characters are particularly likable.

All considered, this is a fairly painful and disturbing look at early 1960s American pop sexuality, from the viewpoint of a woman kept alive despite her missing body after what should have been a fatal car crash. Her lover is threatening to sew a fresh, high quality, body onto her and force her to continue living with him. She is understandably non-plussed by all of this and forced to befriend a creature who is almost as monstrous as her boyfriend. Oh, there are also some vague references to the 1950s/60s cliché about the evils of science run amok.

Recommended for B sci fi buffs and graduate students in gender studies. O/w not recommended.


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