Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Incredible 2 Headed Transplant (1971)

Oh boy, who doesn't love a mad scientist who tampers in god's domain? Well, most people wouldn't want to meet one, but they sure make for some weird movies.

Newlywed Dr. Roger Girard and his wife Linda live in an isolated home with a large piece of land maintained by a gardener and his mentally challenged son Danny.  When Roger's friend Ken calls, he's surprised to hear Linda say she's lonely.  Roger spends all his time locked in his lab with his sullen assistant who always wears gloves, and it's not because he's worried about a sterile environment.

The two are experimenting with methods to transplant a head onto another body, which seems like an extremely complex and not so  useful area of surgery to master. Their research so far has been  attaching a second head to a living animal. Yes, sooooo useful.

When an escaped inmate from the asylum for the criminally insane makes his way to their home, he kills the gardener and abducts Linda.  Roger and his assistant give chase, which ends with criminal Cass being shot.

While Roger tells Linda he'll call the Sheriff, he quickly realizes that this is the perfect opportunity to try  his transplant technique on a human.  But where to get another body to transfer the head? Opportunity presents itself in the form of the freshly orphaned Danny who is in shock back at the house.  No one shall ask why Roger thinks it's a good idea to attach an insane criminals head to the body of a 7 foot, 4 inch, hulking man-child with a barely functioning brain stem.

This is quite the movie.  Part of what's interesting about it is the cast: Bruce Dern as the doctor; Pat Priest, aka Marilyn Munster, as his wife; and Casey Kasem as their friend Ken who wears an ascot and realizes something is horribly wrong.  Albert Cole as killer Cass chews the scenery, and Danny truly does tower over the rest of the cast since he's over seven feet tall, but looks ridiculous with the fake bulk of whatever was stuffed under his sweatshirt to look like muscles.

And how did they handle the logistics of two heads, you ask?  Hilariously.  The far shots are of a fake head sitting on Danny's shoulder.  The close shots require the actors who play Danny and Cass to presse against each other, one in front of the other, with towels around their necks. Not very convincing, but good for a laugh.

Strangely enough, in 1972 there was a bigger budget movie called The Thing With Two Heads, which starred Rosie Greer and Ray Milland, although the twist was Milland's character was a bigot and Greer is African American.  They used the same method to portray the two headed man, and there is a hilarious scene where the Thing with Two Heads rides a motorbike.

Cass is chewing the scenery again.
Casey gets down with a kicky scarf
Look familiar? It's The Thing With Two Heads

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