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Monday, October 27, 2014

31 Days of Halloween 2014: Day 27






Week #5: Killer Bods
The Brain that Wouldn’t Die
1962
Joseph Green

Dr. Bill Cortner (Herb Evers) is a doctor with some radical ideas on how to preserve human life. After showing up his dad in the operating room, he races off with his girlfriend, Jan (Virginia Leith), for the weekend. One car accident later, Bill is rushing his girlfriend’s severed head down to his basement lab.  He puts her in a pan filled with a chemical than can keep body parts alive. He then slinks around town looking for a replacement body, while Jan discovers she can telepathically communicate with another experiment that lives in the basement.

This is probably the tenth or eleventh time I’ve seen this film (thanks in no small part of MST3K and numerous midnight movie shows that had it in regular rotation.) I think it’s one that really improves after repeated viewings. I’m not going to go so far as to say it ever becomes good, but it allows you to appreciate just how lurid and sleazy this movie attempts to be. There is a lot of objectifying women, a catfight, and even some significant gore in a film made in 1962. This time around it really struck me how much this movie is a blueprint for its gorier and racier successor, Re-Animator (1985). Despite all its cheapness and technical flaws, the leads do a great job. Dr. Cortner is truly loathsome, and his quest to murder a girl for her body is presented as nothing less than repellant. It’s fun to watch Jan’s seething anger bubble over into insanity, which leads to a very satisfying comeuppance for Bill.

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