DirectorAnthony M. Lanza
Release Date(s)1971 (November 24, 2015)
Studio(s)American International Pictures/Orion Pictures/MGM/20th Century Fox (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)
- Film/Program Grade: C-
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: C+
- Extras Grade: C+
The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant (not to be confused with The Thing with Two Heads or The Manster) was released by American International Pictures in 1971. Directed by Anthony M. Lanza and written by James Gordon White and James Lawrence, it tells the story of a shunned surgeon (Bruce Dern) who carries out secret experiments on animals in his home, aiming for the ultimate goal of grafting a second head on a human body. Once his goal is eventually reached, his creation (John Bloom and Albert Cole) breaks free, roaming the countryside on a homicidal rampage. It’s up to him to stop this freak of nature before his wife (Pat Priest) or his fellow doctor friend (Casey Kasem) become its next victims.
Truth be told, The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant doesn’t have many positive points to it. It has a mild good/bad kitsch factor going for it, but other than that, it’s pretty much a slog to sit through. It’s poorly acted and cut together in a way where it plays with almost no pace. It carries such an odd cast, as well, and they don’t seem to play off of each other particularly well. They do their jobs, but there’s zero chemistry between them all. It doesn’t help that the movie was somewhat of a thrown together affair to begin with; during a time when, according to James Gordon White, A.I.P. wasn’t interested in making horror movies due to the current popularity of motorcycle movies. Thanks to Easy Rider, everybody was making movies like The Hellcats, The Glory Stompers, and Hells Angels on Wheels instead. Another horror movie seemed like more of an afterthought.
But no matter how you slice it, The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant just isn’t a very good movie. If you’re looking for an exceptionally funny good/bad movie loaded with unintentional yucks, it isn’t that. I truly believe that the movie continues to have a prolonged life due to its confusion with its counterpart The Thing with Two Heads. That movie actually has a little bit more laugh value going for it, especially when you consider that Rosey Grier and Ray Milland portrayed the monster. You can’t really top that in my book. The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant is certainly B grade movie material, but it pales in comparison to its more famous successor.
The Blu-ray transfer for The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant features a substandard HD presentation, the kind that I have a feeling is an older one. Grain is minimal with not very strong detailing, while the color palette is often muted in appearance. Skin tones don’t seem to fare too well either. There are some decent black levels with some shadow detailing, and both brightness and contrast levels are at appropriate levels. There’s also plenty of film debris left behind, particularly in the latter half of the movie during the cave-in sequence when the negative is flat-out scratched down the center of the frame. There’s also only a single audio option: an English 2.0 DTS-HD track. It’s a mostly flat and hiss-filled presentation with soft dialogue, but decent sound effects and score. There’s certainly not much in terms of ambience, nor is there any spatial activity to mention. There are also no subtitle options to choose from.
The extras are actually the best thing about this release. You get a ported-over Rifftrax audio commentary with Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett (which makes the movie a LOT easier to sit through); A Tale of 2 Heads, a brief interview with screenwriter James Gordon White; a radio spot; and the movie’s original theatrical trailer. There’s actually two trailers for the movie out there, but only one of them has been included here.
The bottom line is that Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray of The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant is not a particularly amazing release. The transfer itself has a lot to do with that, but it does feature some decent extras, brief though they may be. It doesn’t help that the movie itself isn’t very good, which is purely an opinion. Many folks seem to dig on it, so if you’re one of those folks and you were looking to upgrade, this isn’t a terrible buy, necessarily. It could just be a bit better.
- Tim Salmons