"In the mood for something cheesy, I hit the local video rental place in search of an entertainingly-bad cult b-flick. 'The Thing With Two Heads' DVD had just recently hit the shelves, so I decided to take a gamble on it. I'd never seen it before, and until now it was almost impossible to find on video. Fortunately, I was in for a treat- it is indeed as silly and corny as I'd hoped it'd be!A weird mix of horror, medical drama, blaxploitation, sci-fi, and chase/suspense, 'The Thing...' can't quite figure out exactly what it wants to be. Never the less, this little confusion is what adds to the movie's cheesy charm. Then of course there's the not-so-special effects: check out the scenes with the two-headed gorilla and our double-noggined marquee man as he (they?) outrun the cops on a dirt bike! Grier & Ray Milland's on-screen chemistry worked about as well as oil & water, which would be an absolute disaster were this a good flick. But here, it's practically a necessity! Also, if you wanna experience the most incompetent police force since the Keystone Kops & the trashing of more fuzz cars than you'd see in an entire season of 'The Dukes of Hazzard', then the climactic chase scene through a grassy Southern California valley will surely make your day!'Late"
"Do you have two of anything else?"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 04/23/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Have you ever wondered how cool it would be to have a second head grafted on your body, right next to yours? I have, and so has Hollywood, the land of candy cane dreams and pennywhistle fantasies. Now I know some will say, 'Why do we need another two headed freak type movie? We've already got two entries in the `two-headed man' genre with The Manster (1962) and The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971).' And I might agree, if not for the fact that neither of those two films really deals with the social ramifications that the AIP release of The Thing with Two Heads (1972) touches on, specifically what happens when you graft the head of a white bigot's head on a soul brother's body, the consequences being pure cinematic gold (well, okay, maybe not, but it's sure fun to watch).The Thing with Two Heads was directed by Lee Frost, who also gave us such lurid exploitation pictures as The House on Bare Mountain (1962), The Defilers (1965), and Policewomen (1974) and stars Oscar winning actor Ray Milland (no, he didn't win the award for this film, but for the 1945 film The Lost Weekend) and former L.A. Rams football player Roosevelt `Rosey' Grier. With respect to Milland, it certainly is interesting, even a bit sad, to see a once great star wallow uncomfortably in number of trashy 70's B pics like this or Frogs (1972), just to name a few.As the film starts, we are introduced to Dr. Maxwell Kirshner (Milland), a highly successful surgeon who runs a number of clinics specializing in human transplants. We also learn that Maxwell is terminally ill, and is conducting a secret experiment in his basement, one designed specifically in mind with the possibility of saving his life. If you guess it has something to do with transplanting his head onto another body, you'd be right. The experiment involves grafting a second head onto a gorilla (played by Oscar winning special effects makeup artist Rick Baker), and then removing the original head, seeing if the newly grafted head survives. The process takes about a month, allowing for the second head to grow strong enough assuming control of the host body. There's a pretty funny scene when the gorilla escapes, and terrorizes a convenience store before being recaptured. Anyway, the gorilla experiment is a success, opening the door for a human head transplant, but Maxwell's condition is deteriorating rapidly, and he soon goes into a coma, but not before instructing his subordinates to follow through with his plans. Only problem is a compatible host/donor body is extremely difficult to come by...until inquires are made with the prison board, and a likely candidate is found in a supposedly wrongfully convicted black man on death row, Jack Moss (Grier), scheduled to be executed. Jack, seeing a chance to prolong his existence for another month, allowing for him to try and find the only man, who went missing at the time of his trial, and could clear him by supplying a credible alibi, accepts the deal. Thing is, Jack has no idea what's in store for him. So what happens when both men realize what has happened? And who gets to keep the body in the end?The concept here is surely interesting, albeit deeply entrenched in the realm of fantasyland. I know not if this film was meant to be a serious science fiction picture or not, but given the smattering of comedy throughout, I am assuming the latter. Most of the truly funny scenes come from the situations arising after the surgical procedure, and Milland's character's expounding of bigoted statements. Racism in and of itself certainly isn't funny, but the level stupidity within Milland's character and his lack of control over the situation sure is...okay, the scenes where Grier is running around with a plastic head attached to his should did look fake, but I didn't focus on that too much. The scene that really sort of derailed the film from being better than it was, for me, was the extended chase scene on the motorbike. It was funny for like a few minutes, but then, probably due to the skimpiness of the plot, runs for much longer than it should have, lasted well over 15 minutes. My favorite scene was when Jack and Maxwell, on the lamb as Jack is still a convicted criminal, go to Jack's girlfriend's apartment (I love her absolute lack of shock at seeing this strange creature, and her utterance, `You get into more sh$t...'), and Jack tries to initiate intimacy with her, to which she expresses uneasiness with Maxwell's head right there. Jack then turns to Maxwell and states, `Now you know you got to go...'The print used on this release looks really good, and is in wide screen format. The only special feature available is a theatrical trailer for the film, which is almost as funny as the film. Sure, this cheese may stink, but at least it goes easy, not taking itself too seriously. One thing I did learn from this film is that when one head of a two-headed man smokes a cigarette, the smoke will actually expel from the mouth of the head not smoking...seems logical to me...and pretty funny...Cookieman108"
BODY AND SOUL
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 02/20/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The MGM Midnite Movies serie allows us to discover or rediscover a certain category of films one usually doesn't find in stores nor watch on television during decent hours. THE THING WITH TWO HEADS belongs to the sub-sub-sub genre of the exploitation/horror/sci-fi/car crash movies of the beginning of the seventies. And I've watched it until the end.The picture is funny at times but an overlong track race destroys the indulgence created in the viewer's mind by the original idea presented. What remains is the pleasure to admire Ray Milland and a few scenes deserving to stay in the annals of the most improbable plots ever invented.Only a trailer and subtitles as bonus features.A DVD zone nostalgia."
Uneven, but still worth a look
mythologue | 12/19/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film's starting point is bizarre enough to draw in cinephiles with a liking for cult films: Max Kirshner (Milland), a brilliant but racist transplant surgeon, defies death by having his head transplanted in the body of Jack Moss (Grier), a black convict who donates his body to science while hoping to prove his innocence during the 30-day `life-extension' he's being given; to say that Kirscher didn't expect his head to be united with a black man's body is an understatement. Although more has been written about the scenes involving `the thing with two heads' than about the rest of the film, the first half is clearly the strongest: scenes that involve Kirshner being dragged in his basement or meeting with various colleagues especially come to mind. After the operation has taken place, the film predictably shifts its attention to the Kirshner-Moss relationship. It is initially intriguing, and the final ten minutes are almost as effective as the first half, but repetitions are numerous until the film gets there (a far too long chase sequence is mainly at fault). The interaction between Kirshner, Moss and Williams, a black doctor played by Don Marshall, is quite interesting, though: the first two blackmail the latter, both for different reasons, and Williams finds himself in the middle of options which could all benefit him in one way or another. In spite of the movie's shortcomings, this good DVD transfer of a rare film should be seen."
Best movie ever
mythologue | 04/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just saw this movie on late night cable and I must say it's the best movie I've ever seen. Watch closely during the car chase and you will see they used the same crash scene for half of the accidents. They must have had no more than 4 cars during that scene, but they made it look like 20... And the movie ruled, can't wait for the DVD! And you can't beat the price"