Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


For Thanksgiving Week, we present a drive-in double bill feature, The Brain That Wouldn't Die ( 1962) and The Head (1959).

In Brain, beautiful Jan Compton (soon to be Jan in a Pan), played by Virginia Leith, loses her head when she is decapitated in an automobile accident,  Luckily (?) Jan is engaged to brilliant surgeon Bill Cortner (Jason Evers, here as Herb Evers) who has been illegally experimenting with transplanting heads on human subjects.  (Nice guy.)   Bill manages to 'rescue" Jan's head and keeps it alive until he can find a suitable body for it.  Of course, a suitable body has to belong to a beautiful model.  How unfortunate for Doris (Adele Lamont), who happened to have a disfigured face but a wowser of a body.  There's strippers, a cat fight, and a monster in the closet.  An Elvira and MST3K  classic!

Although Virginia Leith's films include Violent Saturday and A Kiss Before Dying, her career's high point was this cult classic role.  Jason Evers had a busy career in television, including features roles as Picairn in Wrangler, Joseph Howe in Channing, and James Sonnett in The Guns of Will Sonnett, but like Virginia Leith, he is probably best known for The Brain That Wouldn't Die.  Adele Lamont's film career was short; she appeared in one television episode in 1959 and one in 1960 and in this movie.  Since The Brain That Couldn't Die was filmed in 1959, although released in 1963, her career was actually very short.

The Brain That Wouldn't Die was directed by Joseph Green, who ran the very small film distribution  Joseph Green Company.  (When I say small I mean that Green also answered the phone.)  This was the first of two movies he would direct.  He also wrote the screenplay for this (his only one) and is credited with the original story (with Rex Carlton).

The Head is a thematic companion piece to The Brain That Wouldn't Die.  In this badly dubbed German film, Professor Abel (Michel Simon) has been transplanting dog heads because...because why not?  When his heart gives out, scientist Dr. Ood (Horst Frank) perfects a serum to keep Abel's head alive.  Need I mention that Ood is mad?  There's also a murderess (who is also a stripper) whose perfect body would be a good swap for a woman with a damaged spine.  Head Abel has no success in trying to reason with Mad Ood.  Good girl Irene and her new stripper body tries to escape Ood's clutches.  And any sexy shots have been deleted from the film, if they ever existed in the first place.

Michel Simon was a big star in France but some tainted makeup had temporarily partially paralyzed his face and body.  Desperate for work, he agreed to do this flick, knowing that they would basically use only his face and assuming that the (very) low budget film would sink without a trace.  But assumptions are notoriously untrustworthy and the film was a hit all over Europe.  Quel domage.

Top heighten your drive-in experience there are previews, and intermission, ads for the snack bar, requests not to honk during the show and to also keep your headlights off until you exit the theater.


And there's a cartoon.  And that's why I'm featuring this on Thanksgiving week.  It's a Thanksgiving carton by Tex Avery.


And enjoy your turkey (and these two turkeys)!

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