The Brain That Wouldn't Die
|The Brain That Wouldn't Die|
Film poster by Reynold Brown
|Directed by||Joseph Green|
|Produced by||Rex Carlton
|Written by||Rex Carlton
|Music by||Abe Baker
|Editing by||Leonard Anderson
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Release date(s)||3 May 1962 on a double bill with "Invasion of the Star Creatures"|
|Running time||82 min|
The Brain That Wouldn't Die, also known as The Head That Wouldn't Die, is a 1959 science-fiction/horror film directed by Joseph Green and written by Green and Rex Carlton. The film was completed in 1959 under the title The Black Door but was not released until May 3, 1962, when it was renamed. The main plot focuses upon a mad scientist who develops a means to keep human body parts alive. He must eventually use his discovery on someone close to him, and chaos ensues.
Dr. Bill Cortner (Jason Evers) is a successful scientist with a beautiful fiancée named Jan Compton (Virginia Leith). After a horrible car accident decapitates Jan, Dr. Cortner collects her severed head and rushes it to his laboratory, where he revives it and manages to keep it alive in a liquid-filled tray.
Cortner now decides to commit murder to obtain an attractive new body to attach to his fiancée's head. As he hunts for a suitable specimen, Jan begins to hatch some murderous plans of her own. Filled with hatred for Cortner because he won't let her die, she communicates telepathically with a hideous mutant in the laboratory cell, telling it to kill the scientist.
The mutant monster begins by killing the doctor's assistant; after feeding the monster and doing some general cleanup around the laboratory, he unwittingly stands before the hatch in the door of the monster's cell/closet (which he accidentally left unlocked), whereupon the monster thrusts his giant arm through and tears the assistant to pieces.
After searching for some suitable subjects, Cortner brings one to his residence and, drugging her drink so that she loses consciousness, carries her down to the lab. Jan protests when Cortner explains his plan to transplant her head onto this new body, and he summarily tapes her mouth shut. Once again, the scientist stands in front of the door to the monster's cell, with the hatch, once again, open. This time, the monster grabs the scientist through the door and, securing him in a headlock, applies such force that the door is torn from its hinges. We finally see the monster, which other than its bloodstained clothes and its seven-foot height has a horribly deformed head (obviously the result of various failed transplants and/or other surgeries). At the end, the laboratory is seen to be ablaze; Cortner lies dead on the floor and the monster has carried the girl away to safety. As the lab goes up in flames, Jan says "I told you to let me die." The film goes to black while Jan cackles maniacally.
Music score 
The score, titled "The Web", was composed by Abe Baker and Tony Restaino and is noted for creating a sinister mood. Of particular interest is the extended haunting bolero that accompanies the scene where the doctor's assistant has his arm torn off by the mutant creature.
Popular culture 
- The monster in the closet is played by Eddie Carmel in his first "cinematic role". Carmel was a well-known Israeli-born circus performer who worked under the name "The Jewish Giant". He is the subject of a photograph by Diane Arbus entitled "The Jewish Giant at Home with His Parents in the Bronx, NY, 1970".
- In the video game No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M.'s Way, two guards turned into "man crates" are having a conversation. One of them quotes the movie's most famous line ("Like all quantities, horror has its ultimate, and I am that!"), and the other recognizes it and adds, "I never thought I would ever relate to Jan in the Pan."
- The film was featured on the nationally syndicated horror host televisions Cinema Insomnia. The host segments revolved around the horror host Mr. Lobo finding a suitable flower pot for his co-host and houseplant Miss Mittens.
- This film was the first movie watched by Mike Nelson in Mystery Science Theater 3000 (episode 513). Jan in the Pan is the irreverent nickname given to the female lead by the characters on the show.
- In the MTV series Scream Queens, the aspiring horror actresses re-enact the scene in which Jan voices her hatred for the doctor as part of a challenge.
- On November 9, 2010, the band Black Cards released a music video for their song "Club Called Heaven" based on this film.
- The scene where the scientist is attacked by the monster appears during the Film Dub game on the American version of the British comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, featuring participants Greg Proops dubbing for the assistant, Ryan Stiles dubbing for Jan and Colin Mochrie dubbing for the monster, yelling the notable line "Buy an encyclopedia!!"
- The movie first became a stage musical in October 2009 with The Brain That Wouldn't Die: A New Musical, produced at the Overtime Theater in San Antonio, Texas. The world premiere musical comedy was a collaboration between composer Phillip Luna (Fear Snakeface, Royal Punisher, Psychics, Worm, Def Space, and the legendary Taco Land house band, Shit City Dreamgirls) and writer/lyricist Jon Gillespie (Sheer Bloody Lunacy!, D.O.A. a Noir Musical). The show attracted sold-out audiences during its five-week run.
- The movie inspired the musical stage production, The Brain That Wouldn't Die! In 3D!!! by T Sivak and E Gelman, that premiers at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in October 2011.
DVD releases 
- An uncut, 35mm print was used in the Special Edition release by Synapse Films in 2002. Running 85 minutes, this version features more to the stripper cat fight, as well as shocking (for the time) gore.
- The MST3K version of the film (along with the uncut version, included as a bonus feature) was released by Rhino Home Video.
- The Cinema Insomnia version was released on DVD by Apprehensive Films.
See also 
- "The Jewish Giant". SoundPortraits.org. Retrieved 2007-10-26.
- "Cinema Insomnia, with your Horror Host, Mister Lobo! - SHOW INFORMATION". Retrieved 21 November 2010.
- "The Brain That Wouldn't Die on cinemainsomniatv". Livestream. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
- "Black Cards - Club Called Heaven".
- http://www.playbill.com/news/article/154092-Stephen-Buntrock-and-Kathy-Voytko-to-Battle-The-Brain-That-Wouldnt-Die-In-3-D-at-NYMF playbill.com
- "The Ultimate Mr. Lobo DVD Collection!". Retrieved 21 November 2010.
- The Brain That Wouldn't Die at the Internet Movie Database
- The Brain That Wouldn't Die at AllRovi
- The Brain That Wouldn't Die is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more] alternative link
- JAN IN THE PAN: Soliloquies and Dyads in "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" (Essay in PostModernJoan.com: Film History, Theory and Musings)
- http://www.heavy.com/video/9300 Sarcastic mockucommentary by Sasha Tane from Accent On Film.
- The Brain That Wouldn't Die at Google Videos (Adobe Flash video)
- The Brain That Wouldn't Die at Livestream
- The Brain That Wouldn't Die on YouTube
- Monstrous Movie Music, a soundtrack label that released some library music used in "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" in 2008