Sixty years ago today the film The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (also known as The Head That Wouldn’t Die or The Brain That Couldn’t Die) premiered on a double bill with Invasion of the Star Creatures. The film was in the public domain in the United States from the day of its release due to a flawed copyright notice, so enjoy the entire film below.
Title: The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
Directed by: Joseph Green
Written by: Rex Carlton and Joseph Green
Produced by: Rex Carlton and Mort Landberg
Jason Evers as Dr. Bill Cortner
Virginia Leith as Jan Compton
Leslie Daniel as Kurt
Adele Lamont as Doris Powell
Bonnie Sharie as blonde stripper
Paula Maurice as brunette stripper
Marilyn Hanold as Peggy Howard
Bruce Brighton as Dr. Cortner
Arny Freeman as photographer
Fred Martin as medical assistant
Lola Mason as Donna Williams
Doris Brent as nurse
Bruce Kerr as beauty contest M.C.
Audrey Devereal as Jeannie Reynolds
Eddie Carmel as monster
Sammy Petrillo as Art
Cinematography: Stephen Hajnal
Edited by: Leonard Anderson and Marc Anderson
Music by: Abe Baker and Tony Restaino
Production Company: Sterling Productions
Distributed by: American International Pictures
Release date: May 3, 1962
Running time: 82 minutes
Country: United States
Dr. Bill Cortner saves a patient who had been pronounced dead, but the senior surgeon, Cortner’s father, condemns his son’s unorthodox methods and transplant theories.
While driving to his family’s country house, Cortner and his beautiful fiancée Jan Compton become involved in a car accident that decapitates her. Cortner recovers her severed head and rushes to his country house basement laboratory. He and his crippled assistant Kurt revive the head in a liquid-filled tray. But Jan’s new existence is agony, and she begs Cortner to let her die. He ignores her pleas, and she grows to resent him.
Cortner decides to commit murder to obtain a body for Jan. He hunts for a suitable specimen at a burlesque nightclub, on the streets, and at a beauty contest. Jan begins communicating telepathically with a hideous mutant, an experiment gone wrong, locked in a laboratory cell. When Kurt leaves a hatch in the cell door unlocked, the monster grabs and tears off Kurt’s arm. Kurt dies from his injuries.
Cortner lures an old girlfriend, figure model Doris Powell, to his house, promising to study her scarred face for plastic surgery. He drugs her and carries her to the laboratory. Jan protests Cortner’s plan to transplant her head onto Doris’s body. He tapes Jan’s mouth shut.
When Cortner goes to quiet the monster, it grabs Cortner through the hatch and breaks the door from its hinges. Their struggles set the laboratory ablaze. The monster, a seven-foot giant with a horribly deformed head, bites a chunk from Cortner’s neck. Cortner dies, and the monster carries the unconscious Doris to safety. As the lab goes up in flames, Jan says, “I told you to let me die.” The screen goes black, followed by a maniacal cackle.