One of these “B-movies” that hit the drive-in circuit in 1972 was Lee Frost’s The Thing with Two Heads, which can merely be described as Archie Bunker and George Jefferson meets the Blue’s Brothers. The film stars Ray Milland as Maxwell Kirshner a brain surgeon who is forced to come up with a new medical breakthrough after suffering a disease that only gives him a few weeks to live. The breakthrough that Kirshner comes up with is a complex surgery that allows a single body to house two heads, in more basic terms, a head transplant. There is a couple of problems though for Kirshner, the most significant is finding the correct body for his head to be transferred over to. This would be hard as it is but there is one other issue that is presented here, Kirshner is EXTREMELY racist and completely hates African-Americans. You can most likely guess what happens to Kirshner as he soon wakes up from the surgery with his head stuck to Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier’s character Jack Moss, who is a death-row convict who decides to give up his body for medical science.
It is from this moment that the two characters wake up from the surgery that hilarity pursues. The hatred that both these characters have towards each other can only be described as insane. You can see on their faces how much they wish that they were not in this circumstance, and they are going to do anything to get out of this situation. It reminds me of a Tales from the Crypt episode from Season 2 titled Cutting Cards as we see a similar hatred between two characters. If the actors have a level of chemistry that they are able to pull-off a strong passion of hatred towards each other, then the results are often very stellar. Milland and Grier absolutely have this working in their favor in full-force as the audience is able to notice how much these two individuals hate each other.
As Moss makes his escape the film shifts moods from a horror film to a car-chase action film as we are presented with a twenty-minute car chase that could only be described as epic. If you are familiar with the ending car-chase in the Blues Brothers then think of that. It is not as mind-blowing, but it can hold its ground with multiple cars flipping over and crashing into each other. It is this section of the film that brought the biggest smile to my face. It was so much fun. The film is not going to win awards or anything, but it shows in this sequence that it is able to achieve what a lot of “B-movies” were trying to do.
The film then comes to its conclusion which I feel is the weakest part to the film. While it is trying to wrap-up the storylines that were presented throughout the film it just does not live up to the standards. The film just ends and does not explain a lot of things that were still left on the table. I wish that Frost just spent a few extra minutes wrapping all these things up I think the film would have been a lot stronger if it did so. Overall, The Things with Two Heads is not going to blow your mind away because of its narrative or filmmaking techniques, but if you are into drive-in’s and “B-Movies,” then check the film out because I think you are going to have a lot of fun with it.
I have to say that the picture quality that is presented in the new Olive Films release is not anything mind-blowing. The transfer still shows a lot of grain and dirt. The film just does not pop-off the screen like other films from the time period and I feel that the transfer has a lot to be desired. I understand that the film is coming from a period that often did not care about film preservation but I still wish that the transfer had a little-bit more to be desired.
The audio here is fine, you are able to understand what the characters are trying to say and the dialogue comes out clear. The soundtrack pops off the mix and sounds really good which is a must because the film has a killer drive-in soundtrack. There is a little bit of crackling throughout but nothing that kills the experience.
The film does not come with any special features, not even a trailer. I understand that the film is more than 40 years old and most likely does not have many people who worked on the film still around but I would have loved to see at least something… I can’t give the film a 0/5 though simply because of the fact there is no features so I am just going to give this section a N/A.