Classic movie site with rare images (no web grabs!), original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
Search Index Here

Friday, April 13, 2018

Grisly Leap For The 60's

The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962) Is Head-Start On Tasteless Trend

This was for years tendered to me as more rotten than it turned out to be., shorthand describe being "the one with a head in the brownie pan." Actually, Brain's a gory mess, much more explicit than '62 politeness would otherwise dictate. One guy has an arm ripped off by a mutant and another gets flesh chewed from his neck, so where indeed to draw lines? A next couple years would answer with Blood Feast, then The Flesh Eaters. There was Brain's wide-eye dismembered head on the cover of Horror Monsters #8, and who wasn't mesmerized by that? From such an image is genre folklore born. Made at leanest cost, lab scenes comprise much of footage, and were staged, allegedly, in a NY hotel basement. The Brain That Wouldn't Die belies its label in that title femme wants to die, but can't thanks to experimentation of a fiancĂ© who yanked her noggin out of a car on fire. Previous victims dot the labscape, doc assist with a claw hand, plus aforesaid mutant, the latter a wow once out of his closet and getting even. There's trolling too among strip joints from which a wholly unmotivated catfight ensues, all quite unwholesome, and I'm surprised even Jim and Sam picked up Brain for distribution. The film's producers must have made them a virtual gift of the thing.


Blogger Randy Jepsen said...

I first saw this on our local creature feature when I was a teen. 10:30 Friday night & repeated at 1 Saturday afternoon. The first gory B&W film I ever saw. Followed soon after with MANEATER OF HYDRA in bloody color on our Sunday afternoon Science Fiction Theater. The good old days of uncut cartoons & movies on local TV stations.

2:50 PM  
Blogger kenneth Von Gunden said...

Virginia Leith's brain hasn't died yet! Poor lady had a good career start but got lost in the studio shuffle. Again=so bad it's good. The Wolf, man.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Lee R. said...

Now we're talking. This is one of my all time favorite cheapy '50's/early '60's horror movies. This one along with "Hand Of Death" guarantee a great night of entertaining horrors and, of course, laughs. Unless a horror movie has humor, I don't like them.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Donald Benson said...

INVASION OF THE STAR CREATURES was, in fact, a comedy with no relation to the poster art. Two comic soldiers meet two sexy alien girls, and what follows isn't in a class with with ABBOTT AND COSTELLO GO TO MARS.

3:31 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

When I was booking 16mm in college for some reason we wanted to get a particular Chabrol film and I had the name of the US distributor-- Joseph Green Pictures. So I call it, an older voice answers, I ask if this is Joseph Green Pictures and i hear in a Mel Brooks/Marty Allen voice, "Yeah, dis is Joe Green!" After directing The Brain That Wouldn't Die, Joe became a very small distributor of a lot of kung fu films and the occasional foreign art film. You can just imagine his tiny office on the Lower East Side, decorated with posters for both lines.

Besides The Brain, his one directorial effort seems to have been a vanity project for a show biz hanger-on named Naura Hayden, The Perils of P.K., which has a remarkable supporting cast of Vegas-Borscht Belt types, all in for very brief cameos, I'm sure. I don't think it's the film that Leonard Maltin said nearly forced them to invent a rating lower than BOMB, but it could be...

9:27 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

I just looked up "The Perils of PK" on imdb. What a cast -- Sammy Davis Jr., Louise Lasser, Larry Storch, Joey Heatherton, Jackie Mason, Virginia Graham... and produced by Sheila MacRae!

10:52 AM  
Blogger phil smoot said...

The Brain That Wouldn't Die is not my idea of so-bad-it's-good. It's my idea of just awful.

Edited the the length of a 10 minute Castle Film Home Movie, then it would be so-bad-it's-good,
but at full running time for this feature, it is a horrible bore.

12:09 PM  
Blogger brickadoodle said...

Tawdry and gruesome, what more could we have ever asked for?

1:06 PM  
Blogger b piper said...

This movie reminded me more than anything of the old Skywald horror comics of the 60s. I always thought Virginia Leith was quite good in this movie, certainly as good as anyone could be under the circumstances. There was apparently a scene planned where her helpless head was menaced by rats, which even the producers found too tasteless. Meow.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Dr. Mark said...

Remade as THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS starring Steve Martin in the 80s. I like both a lot.

1:41 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Griff checks in with a fascinating footnote to the Brain That Wouldn't Die saga:

Dear John:

The 1986 Mike Nichols movie of Nora Ephron's Heartburn featured a prominent reference to THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE. Early in the picture, Rachel (Meryl Streep) and Mark (Jack Nicholson) meet and hit it off immediately; they spend much of that evening (and the next day) in bed together. At one point, Rachel goes out to the kitchen to whip up a snack, while Mark watches the late show in the bedroom. We can't really see the TV (it's reflected in a frame on the wall), but we can hear a bit of the soundtrack; as the ensuing hilariously dry dialogue (beautifully delivered by Nicholson) makes clear, there's no question what movie is playing...

Rachel: What happened so far?

Mark: She was decapitated in a dreadful automobile accident. But fortunately, that was the exact problem that her boyfriend was working on back at the laboratory. So he carried the head back in a towel that he had in the car. And she wakes up on a tray and says, "Where am I? Oh, no, don't tell me. I've been in an awful accident and lost my arms and legs." And he says, "Worse than that, I'm afraid."

Joseph Green's company distributed a couple of pretty good imports -- including Bertrand Tavernier's first feature THE CLOCKMAKER and Claude Sautet's VINCENT, FRANCOIS, PAUL AND THE OTHERS.

-- Griff

5:21 PM  
Blogger Moviecall said...

For those people familiar with the photographs of Diane Arbus, she produced a photo titled "Jewish Giant at Home" which shows a very large man towering over his parents in the living room of their home. The "Jewish Giant" was a man named Eddie Carmel and he's the misshapen faced thing locked in the closet in the laboratory who upon release tears the arm off the lab assistant. Eddie would do a few other movie monsters but he died early due to a condition called acromegaly - a pituitary dysfunction.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I think the one I booked was Pleasure Party, but I later booked Vincent, Francois Paul and the Others, just because I liked the idea of old Joe in his tiny office, distributing art films after having given the world such an awful horror movie.

At one point I thought he was also the director of Yiddish films with Molly Picon, but that was a different Joseph Green:

I wonder if they ever met...

5:50 PM  
Blogger Dan Bitgood said...

Acromegaly is the condition actor Rondo Hatton suffered from. Curable now I think.

2:29 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • July 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • December 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011
  • May 2011
  • June 2011
  • July 2011
  • August 2011
  • September 2011
  • October 2011
  • November 2011
  • December 2011
  • January 2012
  • February 2012
  • March 2012
  • April 2012
  • May 2012
  • June 2012
  • July 2012
  • August 2012
  • September 2012
  • October 2012
  • November 2012
  • December 2012
  • January 2013
  • February 2013
  • March 2013
  • April 2013
  • May 2013
  • June 2013
  • July 2013
  • August 2013
  • September 2013
  • October 2013
  • November 2013
  • December 2013
  • January 2014
  • February 2014
  • March 2014
  • April 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • July 2014
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • December 2014
  • January 2015
  • February 2015
  • March 2015
  • April 2015
  • May 2015
  • June 2015
  • July 2015
  • August 2015
  • September 2015
  • October 2015
  • November 2015
  • December 2015
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016
  • October 2016
  • November 2016
  • December 2016
  • January 2017
  • February 2017
  • March 2017
  • April 2017
  • May 2017
  • June 2017
  • July 2017
  • August 2017
  • September 2017
  • October 2017
  • November 2017
  • December 2017
  • January 2018
  • February 2018
  • March 2018
  • April 2018
  • May 2018
  • June 2018
  • July 2018
  • August 2018
  • September 2018
  • October 2018
  • November 2018
  • December 2018
  • January 2019
  • February 2019
  • March 2019
  • April 2019