Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Thing With Two Heads (1972)

Directed by Lee Frost. "The Thing With Two Heads" is famously one of the worst movies of all time, though in that way that everyone needs to see it. It is truly awesome. This was my first time, though from now on I will show it to anyone willing to sit still long enough to watch it with me. In fact, I'm pretty sure it should be shown in film school because it's full of good examples of how not to do things. It's just a complete mess.

Ray Milland plays a racist scientist who has figured out how to do brain transplants by grafting the head containing the brain you want to save onto a donor body, whose existing head you don't bother chopping off. There arises a good news/bad news situation for him: the good news is the ultimate test of his technique, the bad news is that the test is on his own head because he's dying and the only body available is a black guy's, and it's Rosey Grier who's an even shittier actor than him.

Thus there arises a good news/bad news situation for the audience: the good news is that all of this is hilarious, the bad news is that it's never clear whether this movie is a comedy or a bleak drama. Also, my description up to this point may or may not account for only act one of the script or act one plus half of act two or both acts one and two.

There's a secondary story about Rosey Grier's character trying to clear his name for a crime he didn't commit but that's sort of let go in favor of him just trying to cut loose from The Man, and by that I mean both society and Ray Milland's head. This is the premise for act three, which consists really only of driving. In circles. Endlessly. In some undeveloped canyon area of California. Film students, please note that car chases need ideas to work.

In the end, the thing referred to in the title of "The Thing With Two Heads" is probably the original theatrical audience for this movie. Class dismissed.

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