Movie of the Week: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die

What happens when a doctor keeps his girlfriend’s accientally severed head alive in desperation and tries to find her replacement bodies? Calamity!

Alive... Without a body... Fed by an unspeakable horror from hell!

The story follows Dr. Bill Cortner (Evers) who has few qualms about radical procedures that at first border on outright human experimentation. We see later how easy it is to cross that line. The movie starts off in the operating room where Dr. Cortner’s dad is the lead surgeon who had just failed to save a patient. The good doctor then takes over from his dad and tries something truly radical “because he’s dead; I can’t do any harm”. It all starts there.

Dr. Cortner’s girlfriend is Jan Compton (Leith), the nurse (naturally) who was present during the “succesful” operation.

The story truly takes a turn for the bizarre when Jan loses her head in horrific car crash and the doctor manages to still keep her head alive, and talking, using a special compound (“Adrenal Serum”) he had invented and other scientific apparatuses. Of course, this still leaves her without a body and the doctor goes body hunting by tracking down attractive women to behead, much to the horror of the Jan-head.

Let me die! Let me die!

Though the film has little gore for the genre, even with a mutated abomination attack, and we’re spared some of the bloody horror. Having said that, there are some interesting dialog in the lab including several memorable lines from Jan’s head juxtaposed with rather amusing pickup lines from the body-shopping doctor.

Released in 1962 (fimed in ’59), the film stars Jason Evers (then going by the name of Herb Evers), Virginia Leith and Leslie Daniel.

Be sure to sidestep the oozing puddles of sexsim even considering the era it was released (like the doctor driving Jan’s car with Jan in the passenger seat) and take it for what it is. Remember this was filmed in the late 50’s.

Watch the trailer

Watch the full movie

This is one of very few older movies that I’ve been able to watch online instead of VHS or DVD due it being in the public domain. Yes, I still keep a VCR, just to watch old movies.

You can also download the whole film at the Web Archive.

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