4.2/10
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164 user 78 critic

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 Devereal Audrey Devereal ... Jeannie Reynolds (as Audrey Devereau)
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:

Alive... without a body... fed by an unspeakable horror from hell! 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

Production Co:

Rex Carlton Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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

The film opened in Seattle in September of 1962, as the theatrical co-feature with Roger Corman's TALES OF TERROR. The newspaper ad simply listed the BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE title, followed by "Horrifying! Weird! Shocking!" This double-bill played at Seattle's Paramount Theater, a prestigious downtown movie palace. See more »

Goofs

When the doctor is sitting visiting the blonde stripper, to his back is a bare wall with two hanging cats and to his left is a wall with flowered wallpaper and a huge mirror with photos. When the brunette stripper comes in she stands in front of the mirror. Words are exchanged and the doctor leaves. More words are exchanged and the blond slaps the brunette. Not only does the brunette have the bare wall behind her now, the cats have changed position as well. See more »

Quotes

Jan Compton: What's behind that door?
Kurt: Horror no normal mind can imagine!
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

Edited into FrightMare Theater: The Brain That Wouldn't Die (2017) 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

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User Reviews

 
Works for sheer audacity, shameless conviction of its aims.
12 July 2004 | by roger-212See 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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