Dr. Roger Girard (played by Bruce Dern) wants to change the world. The medical world rejected him, so now he does his research in the old family home out in the country. He has successfully transplanted heads in the lab, creating 2-headed snakes, rabbits and monkeys.
Assisting Roger is Max (Berry Kroeger), an older man with damaged hands who hopes someday to benefit from head-transplant surgery.
Roger is newly married to Linda (Pat Priest, best known as Marilyn Munster), but since he spends all his time in the lab, she is about to leave him.
Fortunately, Linda calls mutual friend Ken (Casey Kasem), who is also a doctor. He persuades Roger to spend more time with his wife, and gets a tour of the lab and its experimental subjects. He warns Roger about ethical concerns.
The old family home is cared for by Andrew (Larry Vincent, fondly remembered as 'Sinister Seymour' from Fright Night) and his son Danny (John Bloom), who has the mental capacity of an eight year old but stands 7 feet tall.
Meanwhile, there is also a maniac (Albert Cole) in the area, raping and murdering innocent people.
As you can probably guess by now, all of this is going to end up with a 2-headed human transplant terrorizing the countryside!
The special effects are primitive but surprisingly effective (yes, they just strap one guy on the back of the other!). Sadly, the mine scene is poorly done and so murky it's not clear what's going on.
Bruce Dern and Berry Kroeger perform well. Pat Priest also performs well, while also scenically lounging around the pool and being tied up in bed! (She never runs around in her underwear – the movie poster exaggerates…) Albert Cole as the maniac is out of step with the rest of the movie, being campy (though some of the dialogue between the heads is pretty comic!). But the heart of the movie is in John Bloom's performance as Danny, providing the sadness and horror to this movie.
Note that the movie deals with the topic of mental handicaps. As portrayed, Danny is hard-working, kind and loved. Dr. Girard fails to see the value of the handicapped, and convinces himself that experimental surgery would 'improve' Danny. The plot makes sure that Dr. Girard pays the price for such terrible thinking.
The movie was filmed in six days. Bruce Dern was never paid (the check bounced!). There are apparently two versions available today: the 'cheap' low-quality version mastered from VHS tapes; and the nicer MGM product, which includes violence and gore cut from the original release.
Can you game it? You could come up with rules for hunting down the escaped 'monster', while the 'monster' keeps finding more victims – could the scientists recover their experimental subject before the police close in? There could also be rules for fighting in the mine and the worsening state of collapse.
I'm told this is a 'cult classic' film. I thought it was slowly paced, more sad than fun, and came to a predictable conclusion.