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The Brain That Wouldn't Die

A friend of mine got me The Brain That Wouldn't Die on DVD as a gift some time ago, and I finally got around to watching it recently. Cheesy doesn't even begin to describe this one, which I guess explains why it was on an episode of MST3K. The main premise centers around the fact that a Dr. Frankenstein-esque Dr. Cortner is obsessed with his work involving tissue transplanting and regeneration, and we know this because in the first scene he and his father have an intensely over-acted argument about it, after which he decides to take his fiancée on a "weekend getaway" which involves further working on his research.

During the drive, for some inexplicable reason, Dr. Cortner decides he just has to speed up and starts taking the hairpin turns on the curvy road at a reckless thirty, maybe forty miles per hour. It's on one of the straight-as-an-arrow sections of road that he loses control of his vehicle by swerving to avoid something they didn't have the budget to show us, hitting a guard rail and knocking him from the car while somehow decapitating his fiancée. Don't worry, nothing else in the movie makes sense either.

What a nice day for a picnic!

He wraps her head up in his sportcoat and we're treated to what feels like twenty agonizing minutes of his trek-on-foot to his lab portrayed in real time. In fact, just so we understand how difficult his journey is, he's sure to take plenty of breaks that we have to sit through for god knows how long.

Don't question the world of fashion...

Once back in the lab, he hooks his fiancée's head up to a bunch of beakers and tubing, which can obviously preserve her in an unnatural living state for up to around forty-eight hours.

Soon Dr. Cortner ostensibly goes off in search of a replacement body but he really just ends up watching a bunch of dancing girls and accomplishing nothing. As this occurs, his fiancée begs for death to no one in particular and befriends the mysterious "creature" in the closet, whom she learns is some kind of mutant based on Cortner's previous experiments. She bets the mutant that she is far more horrific than it is, and even the most retarded member of the audience would know to bet against her at this point.

Eventually Dr. Cortner returns with a fresh body for his fiancée, and the mutant in the closet, having been egged on by the bitchy head, breaks free and attacks!


During the ensuing scuffle, the lab catches on fire, the mutant bites off part of Dr. Cortner's neck (though it looks more like his cheek to me), and takes the replacement-body-girl out of the building, leaving everyone else to burn to death.

And you thought all doctors had it good, eh? Looks like you thought WRONG!

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Robert Bloch wrote the script, William Castle Directed, but it's really Joan Crawford's picture, and she rocks as a reformed axe murderess who's having a really hard time kicking the habit. Crawford did crazy better than just about any star of her era, and in a picture like this that was never going to garner an Oscar anyway, there's nothing to hold her back.

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a horrible night indeed! :o