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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 ... Beauty Contest M.C.
Audrey Devereau Audrey Devereau ... Jeannie Reynolds
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

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 Dr. Cortner is in the back room of the stripper bar talking to the blonde stripper, there is a large mirror in the background with five photographs attached to the left side. But when the brunette stripper enters the room and begins to fight with the blonde stripper, there are now nine photographs attached to the mirror, five on the left, and four more in the center of the mirror. See more »

Quotes

Kurt: The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations and often lose themselves in error and darkness!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the beginning, the title is given as "The Brain That Wouldn't Die." The end title card lists the title as "The Head That Wouldn't Die." See more »

Alternate Versions

An alternate shot of the men taking photographs of the model has the model completely topless. This was available for use in foreign release versions. See more »

Connections

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: John Landis (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

The Web
Composed by Tony Restaino
Performed by Abe Baker
By Permission of Laurel Records
[Theme Music]
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
'60s Schlockfest
12 September 2006 | by ReelCheeseSee all my reviews

The opening credits bear the title THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE. Some 80 minutes later, the same film is strangely billed as THE HEAD THAT WOULDN'T DIE in the end credits. That gives you an idea of how much effort went into this '60s schlockfest.

But that doesn't mean it's not worth watching if you're in the right mood. Jason Evers (who would later lend his considerable talents to such memorable efforts as A PIECE OF THE ACTION and A MAN CALLED GANNON) stars as a wacky doc who thinks it'd be just super to keep his fiancée's head alive in his laboratory after her untimely decapitation in a car accident. He's understandably not content marrying a head, so he seeks out an appropriate (though not necessarily willing!) body donor.

Much of the "action" takes place in the mad doc's basement lab (likely marking one of the final times the traditionally cheesy horror film lab set was put to use). Jan Compton (Virginia Leith), or Jan in the Pan as she's called, spends an awful lot of time yapping and whining. Another IMDb reviewer wasn't far off when he likened her to THE HEAD THAT WOULDN'T SHUT UP! Can you blame her? She's understandably not content to live this sort of life. But what's really holding her interest (and mine... there, I admitted it) is the doctor's other monstrous creation, which keeps trying to pound its from behind its single-doored prison. Will our hero find a body for his woman? Are the authorities on to him? Why am I enjoying this so much? Those are just some of the questions you'll find yourself asking.

THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE comes to us in the tradition of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE and THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS, though it's not quite on par with those films in terms of "so bad it's good" appeal. As incredible as it sounds, the picture is legitimately able to hold the viewer's interest with its outrageous plot and suspense built up over the creature behind the door. Sure it goes on a bit too long and sure there are dull moments, but what did you expect?

Admit it. If you haven't seen this one, at least part of you wants to. It's probably that part that yearns for pure, unadulterated stupidity from grown men and women from time to time. So indulge that inner glutton with THE BRAIN THAT WOULD'T DIE.


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