Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant" (1971) d/ Anthony M. Lanza

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Back in 2011, I mentioned tonight's review in passing while covering the other 70's double domed horror flick of note, The Thing With Two Heads (1972). Though that particular interracial pair up of Rosey Grier and Ray Milland was certainly a fucking scream, by anybody's standards, tonight's is a polycephalic drive-in style punch up par excellence, with a cast headed up by cult fave Bruce Dern as Roger, the scientist with a Frankenstein complex-come-lately, and Pat Priest of The Munsters fame as his neglected wife. If that's not enough for you, how about the late, great Casey Kasem, dressed like he lost a bet, as Roger's smooth-voiced pal, Ken. Still not convinced?

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"Look at these balls...where's those bananas you told me about...who the hell is this guy on my shoulder?"
Roger Girard (Dern) is a scientist that's been honing his head transplant skills in a private home laboratory with the assistance of  the wheelchair-bound Dr. Max (Berry Kroeger). He shows his progress to his pal and fellow doctor, Ken (Kasem), and by "progress", we of course mean two-headed rabbits, snakes, foxes, and monkeys. Roger fully expresses his intent and purpose to expand his addahedtomy("add-a-head-to-me") experiments to human subjects, and none of this flusters Ken one bit. He is alarmed when Roger's caretaker's son, Danny (John Bloom), a giant hillbilly simp with brute strength, nearly cleaves his head off on the porch. "This is an axe, Danny. It's used to chop wood and nothing else.", states Roger, matter-of-factly. Yeah, there are gonna be some problems down the road with this big lug, I can see it.

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"....Giant two headed hillbilly strangling two people to death at once...You don't see that every day."
Cass (Albert Cole) is a bug-eyed, lip-licking, rapist/murderer on the loose, and when he finds himself terrorizing the folks at Dr. Girard's spot, killing Danny's father, and nearly adding Roger's wife to his growing list of victims, he's rewarded with fatal gunshots for his psychotic anarchy.With Danny in shock over his father's death, and the unhinged killer dying, Roger does what any man of science would do, in his stead: why, graft the disturbed dome onto the hulking hayseed's shoulder, of course! With Danny's retard strength at his command, Cass shows his gratitude for the new lease on life by rampaging through the countryside, smashing in biker's heads with rocks, strangling hormonal teens at makeout point, by the two's, that sort of thing. Such ludicrous goings on call for a suitably ridiculous and entertaining finale, and this one delivers.

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Just five years later, and it looks like Marilyn Munster (Pat Priest) is out of her monster phase.
Director Lanza also helmed 1967's The Glory Stompers, while also having edited two Arch Hall, Jr. vehicles, Wild Guitar (1962) and Nasty Rabbit (1964). Give me some vintage exploitative Bruce Dern like Psych-Out or Hang 'Em High(both 1968), and you'll hear no complaints from me. Big John Bloom would go on to appear as "Gor" in Brain of Blood, Frankenstein's monster in Dracula vs. Frankenstein (both 1971), as well as the murderous alien-in-a-flannel-shirt in The Dark (1979). He also scored  genre credits in Al Adamson's Angel's Wild Women (1972), and The Hills Have Eyes Pt II (1984). A lot of people prefer Thing over Transplant, but I'm not one of them. This drive-in classic merits three exploitative Wops, and is recommended.

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"Danny doan' wanna keyull nobodah! Danny wanna lookit Hee-Haw!"
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