Incredible 2-Headed Transplant, The (1971)

Incredible 2-Headed Transplant, The (1971)

“Those experiments — they just mean more to him than I do.”

The friend (Casey Kasem) of a woman (Pat Priest) recently married to a mentally ill surgeon (Bruce Dern) is distressed to learn that Dern and his assistant (Berry Kroeger) are running secret experiments with animals, grafting two heads onto one body. When a psychopath (Albert Cole) escapes from a mental institution and is killed on their property, Dern and Kroeger use this as an excuse to graft his head onto the body of the slow-witted son (John Bloom) of Dern’s murdered caretaker (Larry Vincent). Can Kasem save the day before too many people are killed by the two-headed monstrosity?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Bruce Dern Films
  • Horror Films
  • Mad Doctors and Scientists

The premise of this schlocky sci-fi horror flick is an intriguing if implausible one: what in the world would happen if two heads were suddenly … co-existing on one body? Unfortunately, nothing about this scenario is played for anything but gruesome, cliched shocks. As noted by Graeme Clark in his review for The Spinning Image:

“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.”

Bad-movie fans may get some enjoyment out of hearing Dern mouthing lines such as, “Johnny, this is an axe. It is used for chopping wood, and nothing else.” Also, be on the look-out for the sheer height and double-toned hues of Kasem’s hair-piece; it’s a marvel on its own.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • A ridiculously ludicrous concept

Must See?
Nope; if this is to your liking, you know who you are. Listed as a Camp Classic in the back of Peary’s book.


2 thoughts on “Incredible 2-Headed Transplant, The (1971)

  1. A truly terrible little programer of few merits. Perhaps fun as a beer and pizza film / guilty pleasure but certainly not must see even on that score.

  2. First viewing. Not must-see but, yes, camp / cult fans are likely to get a kick out of it. As per my post in ‘Revival House of Camp and Cult’ (fb):

    “Man! Dr. Girard must have been brewin’ some of that Jekyll-and-Hyde joy juice in here!”

    ‘The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant’: Since he had already worked with Alfred Hitchcock for ‘Marnie’, Robert Aldrich for ‘Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte’ and Sydney Pollack for ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’, Bruce Dern must have concluded that his next logical career move was to work for Anthony M. Lanza for ‘TI2HT’! … To be fair… what Dern probably ‘jumped’ at was the chance to strut his stuff on big screens in a leading role (who knows?; maybe it was this role that led to Dern getting the lead the following year in ‘Silent Running’). With his tendency toward a whispering / mumbling tone that has often served him so well, Dern plays a rich surgeon whose main occupation has been perfecting a two-headed creature (he has already tried with monkeys, rabbit, snakes, etc.). Aside from offering up a bone-headed, non-answer as to why he’s doing all of this, Dern’s Dr. Girard never illuminates why-the-fuck any living creature would need two heads! But *anywho*… that’s the dopey premise: yet another take on the “mad” scientist. If this movie had been made in the ’50s or ’60s, it would now look like a black-and-white quickie in need of restoration ten times over. But this is 1971! By that time, top-drawer CRAP like this was getting RESPECT! Director Lanza (who also edited rather cleverly) took the whole thing *very* seriously. Surprisingly, he was given a decent-enough budget, a reasonably capable DP (who knew a lot about angles and lighting, in order to make the 2-headed guy more believable) – and he even managed to get some depth (not much, but some) out of his actors. It’s still total nonsense but I sure did giggle. Fave sequence: the ‘monster’ meets the bikers! Co-starring Pat Priest (of ‘The Munsters’ fame) and, adding sympathetic support, disc jockey personality Casey Kasem.

Leave a Reply