There are some movies that are gloriously bad and "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" (a.k.a. "The Head That Wouldn't Die", which is the better title because we are talking an entire head not just a brain) is one of the classics in that particular category. You can get a hold of this film hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, or skewered by the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" crew, but you will have no problem appreciating this example of bad science fiction cinema. This is a movie that should be on every fan's list of the 10 Worst Science Fiction Movies Ever Made.
Dr. Bill Cortner (Jason call me Herb Evers) is unhappy with the outdated surgery practice by his father, Dr. Cortner (Bruce Brighton), who warns him about higher laws and other nonsense. Bill has a fianc?, Jan Compton (Virginia Leith), who keeps talking about how she cannot wait for them to get married. So when they are in a car accident he rescues Jan's head and takes it back to his private laboratory. There his assistant, Kurt (Leslie Daniels), who has a transplanted arm that has not exactly taken from one of Bill's earlier experiments and who also rails against the doctor's plan to find his fianc? (now the infamous "Jan in a Pan") the perfect body. Bill only has 48-50 hours (you have to love the specificity) to come up with a new body and heads for the nearest strip club. When that does not pan out (hehehehe) he starts stalking women on the street and finds his way to a Beautiful Body contest. But Bill will accept nothing less than the best for Jan and that ends up being Playboy Playmate of the Month for June 1959, Marilyn Hanold.
Meanwhile, Jan would rather be dead than be a detached head; besides, she has some questions about the soundness of the whole procedure, which she discusses with Kurt. The rest of the time she carries on a one sided conversation with whatever is on the other side of the bolted door in the basement (Kurt will not let the cat out of the bag, but we know it is pretty bad and that it is another result of Bill's insane desire to play god). In the bloody climax of this film, the situation comes to a head...
Oh, you just cannot have too much fun at the expense of this film. Director Joseph Green and producer Rex Carlton came up with the story, and you have to admit that any movie that combines a talking disembodied head, a monster behind a locked door, and exotic dancers is a movie that is going to be made. Green even gets a bit creative with the camera in the car accident sequence. However, the dialogue and the strong sexual subtext are what really stand out for me in this film. It is amazing that the actors could say some of these lines with straight faces, but it is rather surprising that the sexuality of the film could be so overt. It is very easy to read this film being all about lust: Jan is ready to make Bill very happy and when he is left with just her head he insists on getting what is clearly an even better body so that they can consummate their destiny.
I will go out on a limb...and say that "The Head That Wouldn't Die" is one of the two worst Science Fiction movies that you have to see, along with "Plan 9 From Outer Space." Certainly they are the only 5 star ratings I have ever given to "bad" films.