The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971)

Article 2191 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-16-2007
Posting Date: 8-12-2007
Directed by Anthony M. Lanza
Featuring Bruce Dern, Pat Priest, Casey Kasem

A scientist grafts the head of a homicidal maniac onto a very strong but brain-damaged man. The two-headed creature gets loose and…


1) The movie has an interesting cast, to begin with. Bruce Dern surprisingly plays the mad scientist rather than the homicidal maniac, former Marilyn Munster Pat Priest plays the mad scientist’s wife, DJ and voice actor (he was Shaggy’s voice in the various incarnations of Scooby-Doo) Casey Kasem plays the mad scientist’s best friend, and Horror Host Seymour aka Larry Vincent plays the caretaker.

2) The cast may be interesting, but the performances are uneven. Bruce Dern never really looks comfortable in his role and Albert Cole plays his homicidal maniac like a grinning, cackling, lip-smacking parody, but John Bloom does a decent job of physicalizing his role of the big but simple man whose body is being taken over by the homicidal maniac’s head grafter to it. Priest, Kasem, Vincent and Barry Kroeger are all passable.

3) I remember the ads for this one when it came to my home town when I was a kid. “One Wants to Love, One Wants to Kill”, screamed the ads. I think this ad helped me to differentiate it from the similarly-themed THE THING WITH TWO HEADS.

4) Still, the ad points up the basic split-personality of this movie, as does the line the policeman says when he sees the wrecked lab (“Gerard must have been brewing up some of the Jekyll-and-Hyde joy juice in here.”). The movie never manages to find a balance between the sadistic violence (the vicious murders and the blood) and the pathos it tries to conjure up for Bloom’s character. That godawful theme song just makes things worse.

5) Apparently, the scientist is grafting two heads on the same body in the hope that he can then graduate to head transplants. Now I’m no medical expert, but it seems to me that grafting a second head that can think and control the body it is grafted to would be a lot more difficult a job than a simple transplant, but what do I know about such things?

6) According to IMDB, this movie is a comedy. It also has “chase” as one of its plot keywords. It’s not a comedy and there’s really not much of a chase scene. However, THE THING WITH TWO HEADS is clearly a comedy and definitely features chase scenes. Did I mention that these two movies get confused?

7) On a parting note, I just read an IMDB user comment from someone who considers this movie the equal of THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN. Personally, that comment is the most incredible experience I’ve had with this movie.


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