Cerebral Cinéma

Ever had one of those days where nothing goes your way?

You’re driving to the cottage with the girlfriend and you’re in such a hurry to get there that you crash the car and decapitate her?

Yeah…That can be a bummer.

Then you have to hook up her head in your basement laboratory…

and go shop for a body if you are to finally get around to doing what you were going to the cottage for in the first place. Always something, isn’t there?

Now, this being the early 60s, The Body Shops did not exist yet and I doubt they could fulfill that kind of a request even today. So where does one go? Well, strip bars and camera clubs are a good place to start. It’s bad enough your girlfriend needs a new body, you might as well try to get an upgrade.

The kneeling photographer here is Sammy Petrillo, the Jerry Lewis impersonator and star of “Bela Lugosi meets a Brooklyn Gorilla”

Hopefully, you’ll find a chick with a killer body but some scar on her face who won’t mind you swapping her noggin.

To make matter worse, the thing that lives in the downstairs closet you’ve stitched together from your previous transplant experiments is acting up.

I want attention!

To make matters even worse, the girlfriend starts to nag nag nag.

I want atte…mfff mfff

That is exactly the premise of the delightfully whacked The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962)

Jason Evers plays the Frankenstein wannabe (and all around bad driver) who tries to reconnect his fiancée’s (Virginia Leith) head to Leslie Daniel’s body. It’s a creepy sleazoid mutation of a movie which is sure to make your nipples hard with the flavor of “wrong”. It’s technically fine- given its minuscule budget- and one gets the refreshing feeling that, for all it’s inherent goofyness, the filmmakers got exactly what they were striving for. In that respect, it’s more in line with an Evil Dead movie than Plan 9 from Outer Space.

This independent gem still startles audiences today with it’s delightfully sleazy premise and unapologetic audacity. The dialogue is pulpy, the premise oh-so-sleazy and the execution is just in the right tone to prevent this guilty pleasure from becoming a real pain. It just hits the cinémasochistic nerve just right.

Just one question:

What part of the movie is that still from?

And how about this one?

I definitely don’t remember this scene in the film:

Aaaah. The troubled life of a still photographer.

That startling giant creature, by he way,  was played a performer by the name of Eddie Carmel. Born in Israel, he was a circus performer billed as “The Jewish Giant”.

He was a tall drink of Manaschevitz.

There are two cuts of the film. The TV cut and the full theatrical version- which features a surprising amount of gore.  Guess which one I’m posting? Thats right! The one with all the chocolate syrup.


Pain Level: 6/10

Quality of Pain: Nagging

Painjoyment™ Index: High.


About The Cinémasochist

Artefacts from a former life where I gave a shit about cinema. As far as I’m concerned, cinema is a 20th Century art form. I no longer care and will be pulling the plug on this blog soon. View all posts by The Cinémasochist

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