Thing With Two Heads [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Get ready to laugh your head off at this "fantastic tale" (Leonard Maltin) full of "excellent effects" (Variety) and tongue-in-cheek humor. Oscar winner Pay Milland and former NY Giants football player "Rosey" Grier make one hysterical odd couple in this "sickly imaginative" (Variety) double-header of horror and fun. A bigoted transplant surgeon, Max Kirshner (Milland) never lets anything compromise his work...even his pending death. So when he learns that he is dying, he figures he'll just attach his brilliant head to another man's body. Unfortunately, his search uncovers only one suitable donor, Jack Moss (Grier)...a black convict! Understandably, Moss loses his mind when he learns he's about to lose his head! Now, the con's only hope for survival is to off the racist doctor before he's off'd with his head!
Top customer reviews
It looks like director Lee Frost is challenging Rodger Corman for best director of a cultural movie. He may have a ways to go.
Roosevelt Grier wakes up face to face with Ray Milland who had his head grafted on to Rosey's body. Naturally one is a bigot and the other is a criminal. This looks so real that you would think not that Ray has a plastic head. They must explain this to friends and there is the obligatory chase scene. This is a must for motorcycle enthusiasts.
Lila (Chelsea Brown) wants to know if he has two of anything else.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I didn't exactly enjoy watching Ray Milland play a bigot but that is what he is in this movie. Later in life he played the bad guy in a bunch of movies.
Most people criticize former stars for taking on movies such as these after they are no longer big 'A' list stars and call it 'sad' that they are in these movies. I don't agree. They automatically assume they need the money. Sometimes this might be the case, but certainly not always. It's certainly possible that older actors who are no longer leading men just want to act because they are bored and sometimes even enjoy starring in these types of movies. Charlton Heston is a perfect example. He just didn't want to star in biblical epics and such and later in his career he chose to star in less serious science fiction movies because he wanted to. Other actors may choose to be in lesser movies just to get a chance to direct. There are millions of people in Hollywood who would give anything to have a starring role in a movie such as this one. So there is no need to call it 'sad'.
As far as the movie goes....it is better than The 2 Headed Transplant but that's not saying much.
Positives....the makeup is much better and they fake heads look much better than they did in the previous movie. The ;acting is pretty good with the exception of Rosey Grier, which is understandable since he was a football player looking to cash in on his star power and act. The plot is good in the first half of the movie.
Negatives...the second half of the movie, which I suspect had some rewrites. The police car chase was just ridiculous and way too long and way too over the top for me. A bunch of cops in different cars repainted to look like police cars chase a motorcycle around a field for twenty minutes. This gets quite boring after awhile and the movie turns into a joke after being serious for the first half. They then jump into a motorcycle race and then proceed to go as fast as everyone else despite the massive amount of weight. All the other racers crash upon seeing the two headed man. At this point, the movie might as well just be a comedy.
The movie raises some interesting legal questions. If Ray Milland's head was removed and died, would that be considered murder? What would happen if the only way to keep him alive would be to stay attached to Rosey Grier's body? Could they still execute hime? I didn't like the way the movie ended because Rosey Grier's character just drives off happily even though he is still a convicted killer that is supposed to be put to death. The movie never satisfactorily absolves him of his crimes. All we get is Rosey's claim that he has been blackmailed...the same claim as every other killer on death row. The black doctor is essentially an accomplice at this point. In effect, they are all on the run even though the movie doesn't portray it that way. Also, Ray Milland's head is left alive even though earlier in the movie they clearly said that if the transplant wasn't done immediately he would die. The script was probably rewritten as Rosey Grier wants to donate his body to science and look for the real killer at the same time.
Recommended only for fans of 70's drive in movies, living head movies and blaxploitation films.
The first thing to do is suspend all faculties of disbelief and critical thinking. This movie is strictly for laughs despite the theme of a bigoted racist getting his just deserts. The plot is perfectly absurd. Other reviewers have given the details, and some have also noted their favorite lines. Out of the many I rather like "You'll get us both killed" shouted out by the terrified Milland head as they race on a motorcycle ahead of the veritable army of cop cars (cleverly staged), and "Maybe when I get used to it" from Rosey's girlfriend when Rosey wants a little cuddling, despite the extra head on his shoulder.
Slapstick and absurdity--well-combined in this movie. Not everyone's cup of tea to be sure, but for those who appreciate such endeavors, this movie is a keeper.
The Thing with Two Heads was directed by Lee Frost, who also gave us such lurid exploitation pictures as The House on Bare Mountain (1962), The Defilers (1965), and Policewomen (1974) and stars Oscar winning actor Ray Milland (no, he didn't win the award for this film, but for the 1945 film The Lost Weekend) and former L.A. Rams football player Roosevelt `Rosey' Grier. With respect to Milland, it certainly is interesting, even a bit sad, to see a once great star wallow uncomfortably in number of trashy 70's B pics like this or Frogs (1972), just to name a few.
As the film starts, we are introduced to Dr. Maxwell Kirshner (Milland), a highly successful surgeon who runs a number of clinics specializing in human transplants. We also learn that Maxwell is terminally ill, and is conducting a secret experiment in his basement, one designed specifically in mind with the possibility of saving his life. If you guess it has something to do with transplanting his head onto another body, you'd be right. The experiment involves grafting a second head onto a gorilla (played by Oscar winning special effects makeup artist Rick Baker), and then removing the original head, seeing if the newly grafted head survives. The process takes about a month, allowing for the second head to grow strong enough assuming control of the host body. There's a pretty funny scene when the gorilla escapes, and terrorizes a convenience store before being recaptured.
Anyway, the gorilla experiment is a success, opening the door for a human head transplant, but Maxwell's condition is deteriorating rapidly, and he soon goes into a coma, but not before instructing his subordinates to follow through with his plans. Only problem is a compatible host/donor body is extremely difficult to come by...until inquires are made with the prison board, and a likely candidate is found in a supposedly wrongfully convicted black man on death row, Jack Moss (Grier), scheduled to be executed. Jack, seeing a chance to prolong his existence for another month, allowing for him to try and find the only man, who went missing at the time of his trial, and could clear him by supplying a credible alibi, accepts the deal. Thing is, Jack has no idea what's in store for him. So what happens when both men realize what has happened? And who gets to keep the body in the end?
The concept here is surely interesting, albeit deeply entrenched in the realm of fantasyland. I know not if this film was meant to be a serious science fiction picture or not, but given the smattering of comedy throughout, I am assuming the latter. Most of the truly funny scenes come from the situations arising after the surgical procedure, and Milland's character's expounding of bigoted statements. Racism in and of itself certainly isn't funny, but the level stupidity within Milland's character and his lack of control over the situation sure is...okay, the scenes where Grier is running around with a plastic head attached to his should did look fake, but I didn't focus on that too much. The scene that really sort of derailed the film from being better than it was, for me, was the extended chase scene on the motorbike. It was funny for like a few minutes, but then, probably due to the skimpiness of the plot, runs for much longer than it should have, lasted well over 15 minutes. My favorite scene was when Jack and Maxwell, on the lamb as Jack is still a convicted criminal, go to Jack's girlfriend's apartment (I love her absolute lack of shock at seeing this strange creature, and her utterance, `You get into more sh$t...'), and Jack tries to initiate intimacy with her, to which she expresses uneasiness with Maxwell's head right there. Jack then turns to Maxwell and states, `Now you know you got to go...'
The print used on this release looks really good, and is in wide screen format. The only special feature available is a theatrical trailer for the film, which is almost as funny as the film. Sure, this cheese may stink, but at least it goes easy, not taking itself too seriously. One thing I did learn from this film is that when one head of a two-headed man smokes a cigarette, the smoke will actually expel from the mouth of the head not smoking...seems logical to me...and pretty funny...
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