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The Brain That Wouldn't Die

Rated as the 76th worst movie of all time by the Internet Movie Data Base, "The Brain that Wouldn't Die" was released to theatres in 1962. The eight two minute film maintains nearly every element of the crazy scientists found in science fiction. The film was co-written and directed by Joseph Green. Though Green's science fiction film earned a cult following, he only directed one other film during his career, "The Perils of P.K.", which was filmed in 1986 and included Sammy Davis Jr.'s last-ever film appearance.

For "The Brain that Wouldn't Die", Green cast Jason Evers as Dr. Bill Cortner, the scientist whose obsessions for successful transplanting drive him to unnatural experiments. Evers, whose birth name was Herb Evers, made the decision to try acting after seeing stars like John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart. He got his start in the entertainment industry in 1960, when he landed a role in a television series called, "Wrangler". Evers appeared in a number of films until his career began to decline in the early 70s. He acted in a sequel to "Planet of the Apes" with Roddy McDowell, in "Escape from the Planet of the Apes", filmed in 1971. He went back to television in the 70s and did over 60 guest appearances on TV throughout the 80s. Evers finally returned to film in 1990 for "Basket Case 2".

Virginia Leith plays the role of Jan Compton, the fiancée of Dr. Cortner whose head is kept alive after being severed from her body in a car accident. A former model, Leith was put under contract by 20th Century-Fox in the early 50s. Her career started to decline when Fox did not renew her contract in 1956. However, she did achieve cult-status from her role in "The Brain that Wouldn't Die".

Eddie Carmel plays the role of the deformed monster who has been locked away from all human contact. Carmel's role is rather small, as he is locked behind a door for most of the film. At 7'6 ¾", Carmel was hard to miss. The enormous actor reached such a phenomenal height because he suffered from acromegaly, the result of a pituitary gland tumor that was incurable at the time. Carmel participated in the Ringling Brothers and the Barnum and Bailey circuses from 1961-1968, and was presented as "The World's Greatest Giant" and "The Tallest Man on Earth".

Though "The Brain that Wouldn't Die" is an absurd movie, it is fun to watch for a good laugh and a chance to see one of the tallest men in Hollywood.

The Science

Greg Clark

Greg ClarkProfessor Greg Clark of the University of Utah’s Department of Bioengineering discusses the human brain and the film “The Brain That Wouldn't Die.”


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Greg Clark

University of Utah

Biological Scientist

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