BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962) - Blu-ray Review

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The Brain that Wouldn't Die - Blu-ray Review

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4 beersWhen you get to a B-movie as aptly titled as The Brain that Wouldn’t Die, you – of course – have to embrace disbelief with open arms. If you do, you won’t exactly be disappointed with the results as one doctor refuses to give up on his girlfriend and decides to attach her head to another woman’s body. It’s the thought that counts, right? Not so for the characters in Joseph Green’s The Brain that Wouldn’t Die.

While we can probably thank the maker for Mystery Science Theater 3000 for resurrecting any amount of interest in this forgotten film of yesteryear, the fine felons over at Scream Factory have seen fit to gussy the drive-in flick up for a special blu-ray edition, featuring a new high-definition 1080p transfer from the original negative that has been restored to its original uncut edition. The result is pristine madness that reigns supreme within its low-budget confines.

To be honest, The Brain that Wouldn’t Die is an absurd tale that wins over its audience in the end because it is strangely relevant in its handling of science and the women who find themselves on the wrong end of Dr. Bill Cortner’s blade, championed here by a frighteningly unobtrusive performance from Herb Evers. After surviving a tragic car accident that squashed all life out of his sweetheart, Jan (Virginia Leith), our good doctor – who has been known to experiment with surgery outside of the acceptable norm – removes her head and rushes to his laboratory with the hope to keep her alive on his operating table while he figures out how to bring her back, limbs and all.

Aided only by a crippled assistant and keeping a hideous secret of surgery gone wrong in the closet, Cortner takes to the bars and dives of his city looking for the perfect sexually-pleasing body with which to mount his sweetie’s head, too. I’m pretty sure all men have fantasized about doing this at some point in their relationship with the fairer sex. Very few, though, actually carry it out. That would be illegal. Of course, Cortner never pauses to consider the moral implications of what he’s doing.

Meanwhile, back at the lab, his sweetie’s head is pretty much alive and (not) kicking. She’s – typical for a woman, I guess – pissed off that she’s been brought back from the great beyond as merely a head and begins to plot her avenue of revenge against the man, her boyfriend, who has brought her back to life in a less than pleasing situation. Co-written by Rex Carlton and the film’s director, Joseph Green, The Brain that Wouldn’t Die is pretty dark and twisted for 1962. It’s also completely silly as most of its intensity is diffused by awful dialogue (which is to be expected) and wooden performances from everybody, including the dancers Cortner woos in an effort to lure into his laboratory for a rather brutal beheading.

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll actually watch it again in disbelief that some twisted person out there – who desperately wanted to make a movie – actually got it made and distributed by American International. Nevermind then that its main writer is also the film’s sole producer because, unlike most of the content in The Brain that Wouldn’t Die, that fact is easily swept under the proverbial rug. The film never takes itself seriously and we are thankful of that but, as a sociological stamp of the early 1960s and its attitudes toward women, the movie actually makes a solid statement.

Used hearts and spare parts. The Brain that Wouldn’t Die does exactly what it says it will.

The Brain that Wouldn't Die - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime:
82 mins
Director
: Joseph Green
Writer:
Joseph Green
Cast:
Jason Evers, Virginia Leith, Anthony La Penna
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
It's madness, not science!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Nothing you can be is more terrible than what I am."
Distributor:
American International Pictures (AIP)
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 10, 1962
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 22, 2015
Synopsis: 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.

The Brain that Wouldn't Die - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - December 22, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Scream Factory is pretty pleased about this release. They have every right to be, too. Retaining the grain and grit of its very low budget, Scream Factory presents The Brain that Wouldn’t Die on blu-ray with a new 1080P transfer that has been mined from the original camera negative. Okay, okay so low lighting rules throughout this black-and-white feature but, in spite of its technical limitations, there is a solid contrast and even the balance between the shadows and the white areas appear brighter than before. Skin tones are solid and the details in some of the period clothing are noticeable. While there is ZERO depth to many of the shots, this flick has never looked better. The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono is perfectly suited for a home viewing.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • What luck! There is a brand new audio commentary from film historian and author Steve Haberman. He is joined by Tony Sasso and the two trade facts and figures about the making of the movie, its place in B-movie history, and its on-set development.

Special Features:

Scream Factory gets back in business with the supplemental items attached to this release. Of most interest is the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes that brought life back into the movie. There is also an interesting deleted scene which features alternate shots to one of the models used in the film. For audiences overseas, there was a bit of T & A which was edited out for “wholesome” American audiences. Thankfully, the footage has been included here so that we get the full experience of the film. There is also a still gallery.

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episode
  • Alternate Scene from the International Cut
  • Still Gallery

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