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  Incredible Two-Headed Transplant, The Better Than One
Year: 1971
Director: Anthony M. Lanza
Stars: Bruce Dern, Pat Priest, Casey Kasem, Albert Cole, John Bloom, Berry Kroeger, Larry Vincent, Jack Lester
Genre: Horror, Trash, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: After suffering a breakdown, scientist and surgeon Roger Girard (Bruce Dern) loses his job at the hospital and instead devotes his time to his head transplant experiments. He has successfully created two-headed animals, but his next step is to create a two headed human; as Roger ponders this, a homicidal maniac has escaped from a mental asylum and is heading his way...

When one considers the great American two-headed person movies of the early seventies, there are only two choices: The Thing with Two Heads and this film, which both featured some of the same team. Written by John Lawrence and James Gordon White, it takes an idea that wouldn't have looked out of place in a 1940s mad scientist horror flick but, rather than set it in gloomy alleys and shadowy rooms, it takes the story to the sunny Californian countryside.

One thing The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant does share with those old horrors is mistrust of science: as ever, the doctor may consider himself a pioneer, but he lacks any common sense whatsoever. When the psychopath attacks Roger's wife (Pat Priest) and murders his handyman, the good doctor compassionately sews the murderer's head onto the mentally-retarded son of the handyman and is genuinely surprised when the result embarks on a rampage.

You can count off the clich├ęs as you watch: the twisted lab assistant; the woman in peril; monster threatening kissing teens in car; sheriff who won't believe the outrageous story; you know the type of thing. To call the special effects unconvincing would be an understatement, as they largely consist of the taller actor either wearing an additional plastic head, or - for those tricky closeups - the cackling smaller actor resting his head on the shoulder of the taller.

This film may be absolutely ridiculous, but... well, that's all you can say, it's absolutely ridiculous. What else can be said about a film where Casey Kasem saves the day? If you ever wondered what would happen if Lenny from Of Mice and Men had a deranged killer's head sharing his shoulders, then this is the film for you. Watch for: the director's unusual editing technique. Over-enthusiastic music by John Barber; listen for the moving theme song.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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