THE FILM YAP » James Gordon White We Never Shut Up About Movies Mon, 24 Nov 2014 05:48:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant (1971) Thu, 21 Apr 2011 13:42:14 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

The best thing to do when you’ve been discredited as a scientist is to begin experimenting with head transplantation. I mean, what says sane more than grafting two heads on a rabbit, a fox or a monkey? So naturally, the next logical step is planting two heads on one body. Right?

In “The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant,” Bruce Dern plays Dr. Roger Girard, a scientist obsessed with his “work” — his work, of course, being head transplantation. His wife, Linda (Pat Priest), calls in none other than Shaggy himself — Casey Kasem as Ken — to find out what her husband’s up to.

He meets Girard’s two-headed animal creations and his assistant, Max (Berry Kroeger), and sees nothing questionable there, so he’s back to the big, bad city. In the meantime, Manuel Cass (Albert Cole), a killer we meet at the beginning of the flick, escapes and finds his way to the good doctor’s home.

After a struggle, the doc is tied up, his caretaker is murdered (bludgeoned with a hoe, no less) and his wife is kidnapped by the killer. The caretaker’s mentally challenged son Danny (John Bloom) finds the scene and has a breakdown.

The doctor and his assistant track down the killer and, a shotgun blast later, they have the head to move forward with this experiment. They sedate Danny and make the decision to slap the killer’s head on his left shoulder. A mentally challenged young man with a devil whispering in his ear — what could go wrong?

In true Frankenstein fashion, the scientist’s creation wreaks havoc leaving a pile of dead bodies in his wake. Everything comes to a head in an abandoned mine that features some of the worst special effects I’ve seen in a long time.

For the most part, the film isn’t too bad as long as you’re cool with some freaked out animals in cages and a stereotypical killer hysterically laughing at just about everything. But “The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant” has a few elements of Schlocky goodness — a few.

First off, when the caretaker is bludgeoned by a garden hoe, there’s a good-sized wound to his head that fails to bleed in the proceeding five to 10 minutes of action. But the crème de la crème is the two-headed transplant itself.

It’s literally a man standing behind another man. That’s the extent of the illusion — ta da! Of course, there are scenes with a horribly fake-looking head, but the true treasure is when the two actors are playing the monster. I will give Bloom and Cole credit because that was really close quarters for a movie shoot. The majority of the flick has Cole’s face smashed against Bloom’s cheek, and I don’t care who you are, that’s got to be uncomfortable.

Also, there’s not much blood to speak of. Some gooey crimson would have been nice during the transplant itself, but I honestly was hoping the man-child would get pissed at the bad things Cole had him do and rip the head off. I continued hoping for that even after their fate was sure. I can’t help but root for the incredible when “incredible” is in the title.

I’ve always been a fan of Dern and I think he’s a much underrated character actor. The guy is superb at being mature when called for and he’s even likable when he’s being bad. If Priest’s name sounds familiar, she played the original Marilyn Munster in “The Munsters” back in the 1960s and is just as stunning in this film.

Writer James Gordon White followed up “The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant” with the 1972 gem “The Thing With Two Heads.” Obviously, White had a thing for two-headed monsters. It should be noted White wrote 10 movies in four years. The lesson learned here, kiddies, is quantity doesn’t equal quality, not by any stretch of the imagination.

While you can attach Schlock to “The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant” for his low-tech special effects, it falls short of embracing the genre and going at it full-out. The result is a film that has its good moments of movie badness, but whose badness can’t give it the goodness of Schlock. Make sense? Neither does the most of the movie.

2.5 Yaps

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