A scientist is driving around with his gorgeous girlfriend and everything's hunky-dory until he wrecks the car and her head goes flying off. Not to be discouraged, he wraps the decapitated noggin in his jacket and scurries... more » off to his lab, where he keeps the poor woman's head alive in a developing tray with some coils and tubes running in and out of it. With his girlfriend's still-conscious cabeza back at the lab, the good doctor drives around shopping for bodies, ogling women who might make likely candidates for reattaching the head. Finally he finds a model with a gorgeous bod (and leopard print bikini), but a scarred face. He convinces the young woman that he can fix her looks with plastic surgery and convinces her to go back to the lab. Meanwhile, his girlfriend-head (silenced by a strip of duct tape over her mouth) has developed telepathy and a nasty grudge. This movie used to regularly leave late-night TV audiences aghast and scare the bejabbers out of the young'uns. Decades later, it's an indispensable trash classic, complete with a catfight, a pinhead monster, a deformed assistant, and even a spatter of gore. Make no mistake; this incredible, sleazy gem is a must-see for any self-respecting fans of camp cinema. They just don't come any better, and they definitely don't make 'em like that anymore. --Jerry Renshaw
Dr. Bill Cortner is a surgeon like his father. He is obsessed with performing surgical transplants and continues to experiment with amputated limbs he steals from the local hospital. While driving to his secret mountain laboratory to tend to an emergency, Cortners reckless driving causes an accident and his car careens off the road, killing his fiancie. Not one to pass up the opportunity, Cortner steals her decapitated head from the burning wreckage and tries to keep it alive long enough to find a suitable body to re-attach it to. As the doctor stalks women and searches for a new body, Jan's decapitated head stays alive in a tray telepathically communicating with something locked away in the laboratory closet plotting her revenge on the doctor for not letting her die in peace.« less
""The Brain That Wouldn't Die" has a very special place in my heart. I first saw photos from it in "Mad Monsters" magazine back in the early 1960s, and was fascinated by the image of a woman's head kept alive in a pan. To an eight year old boy hooked on trashy horror movies, this was "it"! I finally saw "Brain" a few years later on late-night TV, and was hooked! Flash-forward to the 1980s, where, to my delight, I had discovered that this sleazy little film had an enormous cult following. Is it the preposterous story? The cheesy lab set? (it looks like an empty rumpus room in a suburban home) The poker-faced performances? The battling strippers? The sleazy and infectious music "The Web"? (of which I am the proud owner of on a 45 single), or the pizza-faced, hunchbacked, cone-headed giant locked in the closet? It's ALL of these things! This EC comic-like film is irrestible, a VERY guilty pleasure, like eating a 5-pound box of very cheap candy that makes your teeth ache. But just try and look away! It even dawned on me recently that the role of "Doris", the disfigured and bitter cheesecake model, is rather like a grouchy Bettie Page, posing, in the words of mad doctor Bill Cortner, "for a bunch of neurotics". I had the pleasure of talking to the late director Joseph Green on the telephone in 1989. I told him that "Brain" was one of my all-time favorite trash films, and he graciously said that he was pleased that I had such fond memories of it. "Fond" is an understatement! The picture quality on this DVD is brutally crisp, so you can enjoy all of the tacky sets, bad makeup jobs, and tawdry costumes. I may add that the long-missing footage, i.e. the bickering and battling strippers, and Leslie Daniel's long, drawn out and VERY bloody death scene have been restored. You can KEEP "Dances With Wolves-the Director's Cut". Give me the restored "Brain That Wouldn't Die", which is MUCH shorter, better budgeted, and FAR more fun!"
If It Were Any More Disturbing, It Would Be Illegal
Bruce Rux | Aurora, CO | 05/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The rating isn't for quality. This movie is one of the cheapest productions ever put on film. It literally defines schlock. The performances are so uneven, they come off as amateur night at the community theater. The cinematography is so bad, the day-for-night shooting slips in and out. Several scenes sound as if they were recorded in a tin can - and probably were. It's more padded than Dolly Parton, and not as delightfully.On the other hand, once you get past all that, this is one of the most unsettling movies ever made. If it were any more demented or disturbing, it would have to be directed by Tobe Hooper and rated "X".Psychopathic surgeon Jason Evers gets in a car accident speeding home to check on one of his failed experiments, and ends up decapitating fiancee Virginia Leith. He carries her head to the lab, and keeps it alive in a pan of his special serum, which he uses in limb-grafting experiments of so-far unsatisfactory results. Leith is extremely unhappy with being kept alive in her present condition, and even more so when she discovers Evers intends to murder the most beautiful woman he can find so he can put Leith's head onto a new body. The serum Evers keeps Leith's head alive with gives her telepathic power, and she develops an unsettling friendship with the failed experiment Evers was running home to check on in the first place - a hideously deformed giant golem in a locked closet, constructed of badly grafted-together tissues. The longer Leith is kept unnaturally alive, the more twisted and hateful she becomes, until she and the deformed monstrosity create an insidious alliance to kill Evers and his criminal assistant.What makes this unbelievably cheap p.o.s. work is the conviction of the performers - Leith, especially - and the pervasive dementia, throughout. The soundtrack is incredibly effective, eerie beyond belief, often creeping up and down your spine. The visuals are genuinely unsettling in their very simplicity, to the point that you don't even notice the rubber bald-cap on the hideous golem until repeat viewings. The violence is shuddery-awful, voyeuristically lingering on some of the most gruesome things imaginable - like a man's arm being ripped out of its socket, and the camera's following him through the house while he bleeds to death, the demonic head in the pan cackling delightedly throughout.In short: cheap beyond belief, but more often than not incredibly effective. A must for all schlock horror afficionados."
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 01/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're in the right mood, this movie is sidesplitingly funny. Otherwise, it's still wonderfully weird. When his girlfriend dies in a car wreck that he caused, the guilt ridden plastic surgeon Dr.Cortner saves her head (her body burned up) and takes it to his secret lab. There he attaches tubes etc. to it and feeds it the secret formula he has made and keeps it alive much to the chagrin of his assistant who has a withered arm. The head (Virginia Leith) begins telepathically communicating with a "thing" kept locked in a closet (a failed experiment) also to the assistant's aggravation. Meanwhile, the doctor has promised her a new body so he sets out to find one. But Leith just wants to die so she plots revenge with the "thing". Dr.Cortner goes to a sleazy "body beautiful" contest, then an even sleazier strip club where two strippers get in a catfight over him (a memorable sequence) and finally to a figure model. She has the right bod but a scar on her face he promises to fix. Meanwhile, the assistant has had it so he begins taunting the "thing" until it reaches out and rips the good arm off of him! The doc brings the model home and drugs her. But before he can he can get started with the surgery, the head compels the "thing" to break out of the closet and chew the doc's neck apart (yes, we're talking b&w gore here as with the arm business) and it carries the model to safety when a fire breaks out. At last the head has found peace. Now, what we have here is a film with a budget so low a roach couldn't crawl under it. But, oddly enough, it works and is the textbook example of "guilty pleasure". The acting is nil however Leith gives her role an uncomfortable edge by actually being believable (as far as disembodied heads go) and her telecommunication with the "thing" is well done. It knocks back at her when it understands. Kind've creepy. This is a "sleaze" movie nonetheless but it has an endearing quality to it that makes it enjoyable. Much thanks to Synapse for restoring it so well on DVD. Leith was a rising starlet just three years before this was made having starred with Robert Wagner in "A Kiss Before Dying" and other films. How she ended up in "Brain" (and it ever got made in the first place) is anybody's guess. But I like it."
phavardel | Pittsburgh, PA | 06/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you haven't seen this you can't call yourself a sci-fi B fan. The excentric scientist, the severed head, the mysterious 'thing' in the closet; all the elements neccessary for true camp. Even 7 minutes of a man running around with a bloody stump where his arm used to be without dying or going into shock. Simply beautiful."
So bad, it's good!
Blade | WA, USA | 01/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a GREAT "B" movie! Not only does it contain some cheesy special effects, bad acting, and a script that is just laughable, it's one of the WORST movies I've ever seen! Low-budget has never been this bad! I LOVE IT!!! Herb Evers plays the role of mad doctor Cortner who is illegally experimenting with transplant surgery. But when his girlfriend (Virginia Leith) is killed in a gruesome car accident, Cortner takes her disembodied head and keeps it alive with a special serum which he made himself. Unfortunately, the head takes a mind of it's own and forms a special bond with a hideous monster, another failed experiment of the doctor, while he's out searching for a new body for her. Plenty of shocking blood and gore which was edited out of the television version, this 1962 B&W horror flick is good for it's time and gore buffs of today will still not be disapointed. If you're looking for an award-winner though, this is NOT the movie for you! This turkey will probably only please the average "B" movie buff. IT'S SO BAD, IT'S ACTUALLY GOOD!"