The Thing with Two Heads
Directed By Lee Frost
Starring: Ray Milland, “Rosey” Grier
American International Pictures
There just aren’t enough movies that involve a two-headed gorilla.
The thing with two heads is a delightfully goofy romp and a reminder that the 70’s must have been crazy. Ray Milland plays a racist transplant surgeon who is secretly dying of some disease. Oh the tragedy. He has been experimenting with a head transplant on a gorilla that he keeps in his basement. Milland attaches a second head to the gorilla and then, after a few weeks, removes the original head of the gorilla and all works perfectly, of course. Does he just throw the gorilla head in the garbage? These are the things that I wonder about. Milland is ready to try transplanting his head onto another’s body but wants a specific type of donor, someone with brain cancer that has a good working body. Rosey Grier just happens to be a convicted killer on death row who claims he is innocent and we know a convict in prison would never lie about that, or something. Plot machinations, I won’t bother you with too many details, ensue that lead to Milland’s head being put on Grier’s body which leads to a large black guy with his own head and a spare old guy’s white head on his left shoulder. Grier escapes his confinement to get out and try and prove his innocence. Milland is just along for the ride, making racist remarks and not liking soul food. Crazy things happen – police chases, meeting Grier’s girlfriend, a classic dick joke but you’ll have to watch it to see those.
Ray Milland was a serious actor and appeared in Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder (which I have seen) and a bunch of other serious movies (which I have not). Supposedly he had an affair with Grace Kelly, so he gets my respect. I guess this was something of a paycheck movie for him. Rosey Grier was a former professional football player who was mostly known to me as the guy who grabbed Sirhan Sirhan’s gun after Sirhan shot Robert Kennedy – I’m not making that up. The movie is wonderfully ridiculous, but that’s what makes it entertaining. Try not to pay too much attention to the precise details – “Where did that second spine come from in the X-ray?” – like I said, try not to pay too much attention to those little details. It’s wonderfully goofy. The special effects are silly bad which adds to the goofiness. I love the classic 70’s look in old movies, from the clothes to the décor to the colors of the cars so that adds a couple bonus points for me. Goofy, silly, fun to watch.
Entertaining – 3.5, Seriousness – 1, Goofy/Campy/Silly – 5
Available on Netflix.