Movies-A-Go-Go: The Brain That Wouldn't Die

1962 sci-fi/horror B-movie

Rating: 4/20 (But it would be a 4/5 on the Bad Movie scale)

Plot: When a ballsy doctor's girlfriend is decapitated in car accident, he manages to keep her head alive by using 1950's science fiction movie technology. All he needs to do after that is find a body. Meanwhile, the girlfriend's head conspires with something locked behind a door in the laboratory to thwart his plans.

This is a bad B-movie classic that I probably should have watched a long time ago. I didn't expect it to go in the directions that it did and ended up really enjoying it.

My friend told me a couple nights ago that he likes the Movies-A-Go-Go entries when he's seen the movie. I don't think he's seen this movie, but here's a Movies-A-Go-Go for it anyway. Enjoy it anyway!

You might want to mentally prepare yourself for some terrible "head" puns here. 

Great hook for this one! A black screen and a female voice pleading, “Let me die! Let me die!” I’ve said that exact thing several time while teaching middle school English classes.

THE BRAIN (dum dum!)
WOULDN’T DIE (dum dum dum!)

This is one of two movies that Joseph Green directed--the other was in 1986. And it’s the only screenplay he wrote. Apparently, a remake is in post-production for release sometime next year.

That remake has a budget of 80,000 dollars, so it sounds promising.

“Keep away from the motor area. You’ll paralyze him for good!” This is being said about a patient who has already been pronounced dead, so I don’t think he’ll care all that much.

Two doctors having an argument about “playing God” and keeping a patient alive. Ummm, isn’t that their job?

Seriously, I don't want a doctor who doesn't want to "play God" and try to keep me alive.

I think this doctor must have taken the Dipshitocratic Oath.

I just laughed at my own typing. [God, I hope somebody is reading this. This is quality work here.]

I think I’d enjoy massaging a heart after I got started and had a chance to get used to it.

“I’ll tinker with his brain. You continue massaging his heart. Nurse, stroke his penis!”

How was that operation “too risky”? The guy was dead! How could he end up in worse shape?

I can’t believe there’s still an argument between these two doctors. The younger guy dicking around brought the patient back to life. Can’t he answer anything the old doctor says with “See if that guy’s still alive?”

Ok, they’re a father/son surgeon team. And here comes another doctor (or nurse) who the son is engaged to. And they’re getting busy in the operating room while the father says something about how this “floor show” won’t be worth watching when they’re married. I'm not sure I want any of these people involved in an operation I need.

Virginia Leith is horny. Successful experimental operations turn her on.

Hopefully, the Trump administration will help loosen up rules that won’t let me smoke in hospitals.

Dr. Bill drives like he operates! Recklessly!

I’m pretty sure the “Winding Road” sign is foreshadowing.

A violent crash, a roll down a hill, and a now apparently a stomach ache.

Weird POV shot from inside the burning car. I’m not sure exactly what Dr. Bill clumsily grabbed, but the pantomime there was top notch.

Ok, I do know what he grabbed. It’s his girlfriend’s head. Now he’s running with it like he’s an old-timey football player.

I guess what we had there was a head-off collision. Do you get that?

Stairs have always given Dr. Bill trouble.

“Sterilize the tubes and instruments!” Strong doctor talk. Makes me wonder if Joseph Green was an actual doctor who just decided to write a screenplay.

“What you see is real. What’s done is done, and what I’ve done is right.” Hopefully, Green is a better doctor than he is a writer.

Apparently, he’s saved his girlfriend’s life so that her severed head can recite James Taylor lyrics. [Note: This makes no sense, but she was saying something about seeing fire at this stage. It seemed funnier at the time.]

Boy, if Dr. Dad didn’t like his son using his skills as a surgeon to save a patient’s life, he’s really not going to be pleased with what he’s done with his girlfriend’s head.

Oh! His assistant’s got a fucked-up arm!

The guy on the left is the assistant, "Kurt," played by Anthony La Penna. It's a terrifically bad performance. 

I want to type something about how I bet she still gives good head, but not even I will stoop that low.

What the heck do they have in the closet? Some sort of Frog Man?

Dr. Bill’s going to find her a body.
Assistant: “How are you going to do it?”
Dr. Bill: “There are ways. There are ways. You want a toe? I can get you a toe by three o’clock. With nail polish.”

Shopping for bodies, Dr. Bill goes straight to a sleazy nightclub.

I think I have to find out what song that lady was seductively dancing to. Jazzy but with vocalists moaning and saying “cheap cheap.”

Look at the rack on that one, Dr. Bill!

According to the credits, Vivian Leith plays both “Jan” and “Jan in the Pan.”

This lady’s voice is annoying. Luckily, he doesn’t need that part of her.

“Let me die! Let me die!” Of course, Jan in the Pan is unhappy. He could have at least turned on a TV for her or something.

Stripper fight!

No joke there. I underestimated the sleaziness of this movie.

Well, after that rollicking cat fight, I’m spent.

That scene ended with a shot of cat art on a wall and an audible meow.

Ahh, Jan in the Pan is making friends with whatever’s in the closet.

“Knock twice if I’m not the first.” What? He’s decapitated other girlfriends in fiery car crashes?

“We’re a power as hideous as our deformities. I shall create power and you shall enforce it.” Hell hath no fury like a decapitated woman scorned!

Jan in the Pan: “What’s locked behind that door?”
Assistant: “A horror... no normal mind can imagine. Something even more terrible than you!”
You’re one to talk, buddy. Have you seen your own hand?

She just called him her “deformed friend.”

I’m not sure why Jan’s head has to wear a swim cap.

The assistant’s name is Kurt. He’s getting all the best lines and delivering them like his acting career depends on it.

There’s an awful lot of science going on during this dialogue between Jan in the Pan and her deformed friend, but I’m not sure how accurate any of it is. I'm guessing somewhere between "not at all" and "not very."

“I’m only a head. And you are whatever you are. Together we’re strong, more powerful than any of them.” What a beautiful friendship these two are creating here.

Perverse scouring the streets for a sweet bod montage!

I needed a Donald Trump voiceover during that scene where he rates the women. “She’s an 7, maybe an 8. Oh, look at that one. I’d grab that pussy!”

Girl: “I promise not to hurt you.”
Dr. Bill: “And I promise not to hurt you. Heh heh. Heh heh heh.”
Gag on the clumsiness of that dramatic irony, viewer!

So much of this movie is devoted to Dr. Bill checking out women’s bodies. I should have approached this early on from a feminist perspective.

Assuming Dr. Bill actually ever locates a body he wants to use, how’s he going to kill her? My guess is by making her ride in an automobile with him.

He’s heading over to to model’s house after getting a promising lead. It’s the nicest body his female companion had ever seen.

Winner winner, chicken dinner!

This photographer thinking he’s got a shot with Doris makes me extraordinarily sad. Dude, know your limitations.

Doris is played by Adele Lamont. I think she was hired for her body. Sadly, this is her only movie role although she did play “Mexican girl” in two TV series.

I might be distracted by her terrible acting, but I have no idea how she got the facial scar.

The anticipation is killing me! I want to see what’s behind that door!

“You’re nothing but a freak of life. . .and a freak of death!” Everything Kurt says is poetry!

Alright, new plan, guys! Instead of getting revenge, how about Jan in the Pan, freaky arm, and closet Frog Man or whatever it is form a power pop trio and tour the world.

Actually, scratch that. They get along about as well as the Beatles after Yoko came along.

Well, shoot. Now Kurt has no good arms. The power pop trio is falling apart here.

You can tell how incredible the acting is just from this still, right?

How are you going to jump ahead of everybody else on the Billboard charts if you encourage one band mate to rip the arm off another band mate?

They’re got less functioning arms than members of their band now.

I’m trying to think of a good name for the band. Talking Heads has already been taken.

“Oh, c’mon, Doris. Do I look like a maniac who goes around killing girls?” This forced irony is the most horrific thing about this entire movie.

Dr. Bill’s trying to figure out how a severed head ripped off Kurt’s arm and killed him.

Keep your head up, Dr. Bill. You’ll find another assistant soon.

“You don’t have to bite my head off!”

Stay calm, Dr. Bill. Cooler heads will prevail.

“I told you I’d bring you a body!”

Dr. Bill: “Is it a crime for science to jump ahead by years.” Nice pun, Dr. Bill!

Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it, Jan in the Pan! You’re getting yourself a rockin’ bod here!

If he can pull this off, the success will likely go straight to his head.

Finally! We get to see the thing behind the door! And I am not disappointed!


Head for the hills, Doris! The house is on fire!

The thing--not a frog man at all--just took a bite out of Dr. Bill. Who’s the head honcho now, Dr. Bill?

Hmm. The closing title screen just said The HEAD That Wouldn’t Die. Whoops! Heads will roll over a mistake like that!

The movie ends with Jan in the Pan laughing her head off. It’s good that she was able to keep her sense of humor while burning to death.

Wonder what the headlines will say about all this in the papers tomorrow?

Fun bad movie there! If you're in the mood for something like that, head over to your local video store and rent this one.

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