BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Thing with Two Heads (1972) - Blu-ray Review

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The Thing With Two Heads - Blu-ray Review

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While it features an extended car chase via dirt bike and subsequent police car pileup to rival the one found in The Blues Brothers, Lee Frost’s The Thing with Two Heads is a serious head-scratcher of a Blaxploitation flick. Interestingly enough, visual effects artist Rick Baker worked on the film with some of its head transplanting effects. He can be “seen” during the film, too. He’s the dude in the two-headed guerilla suit.  

The Thing with Two Heads exists solely in the world of the double feature. It barely works as a standalone film. Originally released to be the bottom end of a drive-in double feature, the film supported Baron Blood and left little impact – outside of a score from Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band – on anyone who saw it. Which, considering the potent premise of a bigamist’s head being transplanted onto the body of a rather large black man, is disappointing. That being said, however, the movie is not without comic merit.

Released on blu-ray courtesy of Olive Films, Frost’s Blaxploitation flick stars Ray Milland (The Premature Burial, X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes) as a genius scientist who has successfully implanted another head on the body of one guerilla. Thing is, the scientist he plays is a raging bigamist and is quickly dying due to cancer. He wants to salvage his brain by transplanting his own head onto that of a donor’s but, unbeknownst to him, the willing donor is death row inmate hell-bent on proving his innocence. He’s also black.

Imagine Dr. Kirshner’s surprise when he awakens next to the cheery mug of Rosey Grier (Roots: The Next Generations). This disparity between the two leads is, admittedly, what works about this gag picture. The two heads hate each other and, when Kirshner realizes there is no escape without another transplant, things get pretty interesting. All of what happens to Kirshner in The Thing with Two Heads is justified, by the way, and humorously of consequence for the talented transplant surgeon.

When the shock settles, the scientist rides along with Jack Moss, listening to his story of being framed, and adding racist commentary whenever he can. He eventually attempts to hijack the body and silence Moss for good. Aided by Don Marshall and Chelsea Brown, the freewheeling adventure Moss goes on – with Kirshner’s head attached to his body – isn’t as good as it should be. Yet, much to the credit of screenwriters James Gordon Wright, Wes Bishop, and the film’s director, the movie ends fittingly even if it isn’t entirely satisfactory (with three people still on the run).

The strength of the movie is easily the relationship between the two heads. Their back-and-forth banter is pretty funny and, when each other starts manipulating their shared body, it’s downright clever. Yet, these moments aren’t the entire picture. Their escape from the authorities dominates the picture and results in a desperate flee via dirt bike with a hell of a lot of police cars chasing them across open fields for a very long time. No sure what Frost was thinking here as it really kills the picture.

While The Thing with Two Heads never once lives up to the promise of its title, it is an interesting journey through another era.

The Thing With Two Heads - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
91 mins
Director
: Lee Frost
Writer:
Lee Frost
Cast:
Roosevelt Grier, Ray Milland, Don Marshall
Genre
: Comedy | Sci-fi
Tagline:
They transplanted a white bigot's head on a soul brother's body!.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Phillip... Get me another body... please."
Distributor:
American INternational Pictures (AIP)
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 19, 1972
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 23, 2015
Synopsis: A rich but racist man is dying and hatches an elaborate scheme for transplanting his head onto another man's body. His health deteriorates rapidly, and doctors are forced to transplant his head onto the only available candidate: a black man from death row.

The Thing With Two Heads - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 23, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Retaining the grain and grit of its low-budget, Olive Films presents The Thing with Two Heads on blu-ray with a new 1080P transfer. In spite of its technical limitations, there is a solid contrast through most of the picture and even the colors appear brighter than before. Skin tones are solid and the details in some of the period clothing are sharp. There is some noticeable print damage as there has been little attempt at a proper cleaning. While there is ZERO depth to many of the shots and dirt and some scratches still pop up, The Thing with Two Heads looks good. The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono track is solid.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • No

Special Features:

None

 

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