Classically Bad: The Thing With Two Heads
Not sure why, but 70's schmaltz is so much better than schmaltz from today. I guess it's because of the earnestness of the acting, or maybe it's seeing classically trained actors doing such obvious junk. In any case, it's just fun to see these movies today, and think about the 'good old days' when you could head to the drive in (or your local grindhouse) and see these movies on a big screen! Well, I'll stop waxing nostalgic now and tell you what put me in this mood. It's the "excellent" movie, The Thing With Two Heads!
Ray Milland plays an accomplished transplant surgeon with a little problem, he's a huge racist, or, in 70s lingo, biggot. He's working on a process that will allow him to transplant his head onto another body to keep himself alive longer. I guess because biggotry needed to be moved forward or something. Well, when his head winds up on Rosie Greer's body things couldn't go worse...or more hysterically funny! Rosie plays a death row inmate who's innocent and determined to stay alive long enough to prove it, and volunteering for scientific experiments will keep him alive...although with an old, angry, biggoted head on his shoulders! This movie begins as a straight-ahead, sci-fi movie, with a two headed gorilla and a lot of scenes in the operating room. But, once the head is transplanted, it turns into a combination monster movie and Smokey and the Bandit! Yes, the two headed monster steals a car and leads the police on a wild (and really long) car chase, crashing cars and lots of wild 70s music included. Then, after leaving the car, are chased onto the track of a motocross race, where...you guessed it...the monster steals a motorcycle and the chase continues...and continues for a loooooooong time! In the end, a surgeon removes the evil biggot from Rosie and the Rosie, his doctor and his girlfriend drive off into the sunset singing 'Oh Happy Day!'...that's right, after all the lessons that appear to be on the way about race relations, we end with three black people singing an old spiritual. No word on Rosie's innocence and the biggot's head is left alive, so I didn't really feel like I learned anything about race relations...except that old white biggoted surgeons don't like young hip black surgeons....which I probably could have guessed if I'd given it much thought! As a movie, I'd give The Thing With Two Heads 2 out of 4 cigars, but, if you're like me and just enjoy a bit of 70s goofiness, then it gets 4 out of 4, it's weird, it's fun and it's just odd enough to be something you can't take your eyes off of!