Spoilers follow ...
- The Brain That Wouldn't Die review by NP
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You rated this film: 3
This is a cheap and cheerful horror entry from 1962 that could easily have been made twenty years earlier, where huge swathes of conversational plot contrivances are passed between static characters in virtually blank sets. With echoes of Frankenstein, this story alerts us to the experiments of accomplished Doctor Bill Cortner (Jason Evers) who may or may not have been stealing amputated limbs from the hospital in which he works, to further his mysterious efforts. When his fiancé appears and pours herself all over him (still in the same scant hospital set) and says “There is nothing that can keep us apart,” you hope against hope that nothing disastrous will befall the young couple.
Yet, the plot is cruel, and pretty soon an appalling and awkwardly (cheaply) staged car crash occurs that tragically separates Jan’s head from the rest of her. Worry not, for love conquers all and soon, her bandage wrapped head, fully made-up you understand, is brought back to life while Doctor Bill finds her another body.
My tone is glib, of course. And while I am a nobody who will never amount to anything, the people behind this film have recorded something that will live on on celluloid – however, the tone here is never entirely serious. Although it is played straight – possibly too straight – and the imagery is occasionally gruesome (indeed, this was completed in 1959 but claims of its ‘tastelessness’ delayed its release for three years), there is a drive-in Saturday afternoon, tongue-in-cheek quality to this designed, it seems to me, to make teenagers groan and roll their eyes whilst enjoying every earnest moment.