It was upon one evening after a three-mile run that I sat on the couch and was scrolling through the Netflix “New Releases” that I saw the cover art for a film that made me laugh uncontrollably and out loud. It was the outrageous cover art to the film “The Thing with Two Heads” and on it depicts a picture of a person with two heads, one white and one black, riding on a motorcycle looking like it was out of control. That, and the unforgettable tagline (They transplanted a white bigot’s head onto a soul brother’s body) definitely had my interest. The idea of such a premise was so ridiculous, in an instant, I knew, that I had to watch this film. I was ready for some good ol’ early 70’s exploitation entertainment. Fortunately, the laughs did not stop at only the cover art once I hit the play button. Unfortunately, however, all logic went out the window and the cheese started to ooze out of the film as soon as the opening credits began.
Streaming on: Netflix
Directed by: Lee Frost
Starring: Ray Miland, Rosey Grier, Chelsey Brown, Don Marshall
Tagline: They transplanted a white bigot’s head on a soul brother’s body!
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 0%
Number of times the term black bastard is used: 4
Dr. Kirschner is an accomplished transplant surgeon, and bigot, has successfully performed the transplant of a head onto another live body to keep the latter alive. His experiment has been proven successful with the creation of a two-headed gorilla. When Kirschner learns that he has been stricken with an inoperable cancer, he demands that his assistant, Dr. Desmond to find him a body and perform the transplant to prolong his life. The “donor” comes in the form of a convicted murderer on death row, Jack Moss, who also happens to be a large black man. With time running out for Dr. Kirschner, the transplant is made on Jack. When they both come to and Jack realizes what has happened, he uses the opportunity to escape and find a way to clear his name , not to mention rid himself of the extra head he’s acquired. As the police set chase, hilarity and stupidity take over in a bumbling game of cat and two-headed mouse.
Things you won’t want to miss:
- First time you’ll ever see the title of a movie grow a head; and with interesting “boner” sound.
- Two, two, two gorillas in one!
- I feel sorry for any child that these doctors give a shot to.
- Clean up on aisle five!
- Colored toilet paper and Tab? Definitely the 70s. Whatever happened to that colored toilet paper anyway? Answer
- How many bananas can one ape shovel into its second lifeless mouth anyway?
- Rejection specialist? Poor doctors only makes $500 per week, how much rejection can one person handle?
- Exits to hospital surgical rooms lead to complete and total darkness.
- Terminal chest cancer is a pretty broad diagnosis, but inoperable all the same.
- Poor gorilla lost his head over this whole scientific experiment.
- Any volunteers to give your body and your life up for the purposes of science?
- Opening and closing the basement windows tends to make the walls shake.
- Bulldog clamp, mosquito clamp, gorilla clamp, nipple clamp
- Wait, I thought the whole success of the transplant was depended on the spinal column.
- Hey Doc, got head?
- One would think that goatee would be a bit scratchy.
- You’re late for the injection nurse, now Shoo bitch, shoo.
- Thus begins the game of: Which head is the real one?
- Jack, your jacket isn’t the most comfortable fit.
- The term “backseat driver” will never mean the same again.
- The scenes with both live heads must be the most uncomfortable contraption for both actors.
- And the escapees pull “a-head” of the pack. If they end up winning…
- Two guys on the phone while 50+people eavesdrop.
- It’s clear that policemen find it impossible to avoid random ravines in an open field.
- Haven’t we seen those crashes before?
- It’s evident that more of the film’s budget was spent on destroying police vehicles than on any special effect work whatsoever.
- Oh come on, just give him a kiss. Don’t mind the extra head attached to his shoulders.
- Hey Doc, you might want to look at the size of the body your sharing before you do any racial stereotyping. Now shut up and eat your soul food.
- Rosie Grier should be given credit for his coordination and balance while his eyes are closed. Pretty impressive.
- Oh my, this soundtrack is absolutely terrible.
- Removal of a spare head seems to be simple outpatient surgery.
“Hey doc, is this going to hurt?”
“Cut down the dosage of Barbital to the black head.”
“You soul brother, you got a car?”
“I’ve committed political suicide and you say, “It’s not as bad as it sounds.”
“Jack, you get into more shit.”
“What’s a matter baby, don’t dig soul food?” – “What do you got for dessert, watermelon?”
“Phillip, get me another body, please.”
The Final Word:
Two heads aren’t always better than one, especially in this case. However, the interaction and constant bickering between the two heads is quite enjoyable to watch. Rosie Grier wasn’t the best actor, but you could tell that he was at least having fun with the role he was given despite having a grumpy old white guy strapped to his back at various times throughout the movie. He’s by far not great, but has a bit of charm and although being a convicted felon on the run from the police, one almost considers him the hero that has had this horrible tragedy thrust upon him. Ray Milland plays the bigoted old doctor well and actually had some of the funnier lines in the film. The two actors play really well off of one another. The filmmakers carefully walk the line making the underlying theme of racism stand out without making it do so offensively. The special effects aren’t the greatest and are quite cheesy. Throughout the film, the “monster” switches from a person with an obviously fake head bobbing on it’s shoulder, to two men forced together by what must have been a very uncomfortable contraption. The transplant scene itself is quite laughable too. By far the best scene in the film however, is the police chase through the countryside while on a motorcycle. The dim-wittedness and stupidity of the police force reminded me of a whole squadron of Rosco P. Coltrane type of officers. Their driving skills left a little to be desired. The dinner scene with Moss and his girlfriend is quite humorous as well. While the plot is obviously contrived and doesn’t live up to it’s full potential, the actors themselves are enough to make up for it. While, this corniness is not for everyone, it is rather entertaining and is definitely worth at least one viewing. Based on the entertainment value alone, and despite the cheese factor, I am giving this film four out of five turds.