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A scientist has been experimenting with head transplantation. So when a psycho-killer invades his home and is shot, he grafts his head onto the body of his caretaker's son, a man with a child's mentality. Then the two-headed creation escapes.
Psychopath Emanuel Cass is apprehended while slashing the throat of a mother and father and attempting to rape their grown daughter, after which the judge finds him insane and sentences him to life imprisonment at the state hospital. Some time later, Ken, a physician, arrives at the home of his best friend, Dr. Roger Gerard. Roger's wife Linda has invited Ken in the hope that he can convince her husband to spend less time in his at-home laboratory, which he keeps locked to all visitors. Linda is worried that Roger is working so hard he will suffer a second mental breakdown, the first of which resulted in his dismissal from the hospital surgical team. Roger allows Ken into the lab and explains to Ken that neither he nor his handicapped assistant, Dr. Max Kroeger, can leave the lab because they must constantly tend to his latest experiment, a monkey onto which he has grafted a second head. He then reveals cages full of other two-headed animals and states that the next step is to switch one animal head with another. Ken questions the ethical implications of the breakthrough, but admires Roger's work. Outside, Ken sees the Gerards' caretaker, Andrew Norton, whose dim-witted, hulking son Danny regularly performs amazing feats of strength. That night, before Ken leaves, the Gerards explain to him that as a child, Danny was trapped in a cave-in and suffered brain damage from the lack of oxygen. One month later, the monkey continues to thrive and Max encourages Roger to take the next step in the experiments and thus reach his goals of regaining his past acclaim and providing Max with a new body so he can once again have full use of his hands, which have been badly burned. That day, Linda asks Roger if they can plan a trip together, but he responds that he cannot leave his work. Just then, Max reports that the monkey has died, and although they worry about their transplant process, an autopsy reveals prior heart damage unrelated to the surgery. Meanwhile, at the mental hospital, Cass kills an orderly and escapes, while Danny returns to the cave in which he was trapped as a child, but remembering the accident, flees in fear. Cass has stolen a car and now, growing tired, turns into the Gerards' driveway and attacks Linda. As he chases her through the house, Roger hears her screams and attacks, but Cass knocks him out. While he ties up Roger, Linda breaks free and runs into the yard. Andrew sees Cass and strikes him, but Cass pummels him with his hoe, killing him, then forces Linda into his car. As Roger revives, Danny returns home, but upon spotting his father's body is too grief-stricken to respond to Roger's pleas for help. Cass is driving away with Linda as Max arrives, and after he unties Roger, the two men race out with rifles to track Cass. He has stopped by the side of the road and is using a broken bottle to threaten Linda as he rapes her. She manages to pull away and run just as Roger's car drives by, and as she falls into the road, he spots her in his rearview mirror. Roger and Max shoot Cass and drag him back to the house, where Roger administers a tranquilizer to Linda. He then tries to convince Danny to leave his father's side, but Danny refuses, prompting Roger to chloroform him. Informing Roger that Cass will soon die, Max urges him to graft Cass's head onto Danny's body, calling it an amazing opportunity to continue their experiments with two useless people. Although Roger is reluctant, when Cass dies, he realizes he must act quickly. The doctors then remove Cass's head and graft it onto Danny's body. Hours later, while the patient sleeps deeply, they bury Cass's and Andrew's bodies and dump Cass's car over a cliff. When Linda awakens, Roger lies to her that he has informed the sheriff that Danny has run away. Days later, the two-headed creature awakens, but Roger reassures it and administers more tranquilizers. That night, upon rousing, Cass discerns his predicament and convinces Danny that they are now "brothers" and must break free. In the bedroom, Linda hears the noise and explores, but upon entering the lab and spotting the creature, she faints. Max and Roger run to the lab, where the creature knocks out Max and flees outside as Roger attends to Linda. He and Max lock Linda in the lab to keep her from calling the sheriff, then track the creature, which has spotted a young couple embracing in a car. Cass gleefully persuades Danny to attack, although Danny cries as they kill the teenagers, whose screams awaken another couple in a car nearby. The next day, the couple tell the police what they saw, but the police disbelieve them and assume Danny is to blame. As a traumatized Danny takes Cass to the cave, the police visit Roger, who tells them that Danny and Andrew left the previous week and Linda is vacationing. Ken then arrives at Roger's for a planned outing, and grows concerned when Roger tries to spurn him. Roger and Max again go in search of the creature, which is attacking a biker couple nearby. The man brandishes a knife and stabs the creature in the arm, but is soon overcome. Another biker arrives and brutally attacks the creature with a chain, but the creature defeats him and drowns the girl in a lake. Ken has left the Gerards' but while stopping at a gas station hears about a two-headed murderer, so rushes to inform the sheriff. The sheriff, who is leaving to investigate the biker murders, asks Ken to accompany him. After examining the bodies, Ken notes that the murderer had fantastic strength. While the police form a posse, led by dogs, to track down the killer, Roger tells Max that they must find the creature before the pain of the operation drives it completely insane. Just after they leave, Ken knocks on the door, and when Linda overturns a lamp to alert him, Ken breaks in and finds her. Roger returns to find Ken there, but will not listen to his friend's attempts to reason with him until Ken informs him that the creature has killed five people. Horrified, Roger locks Linda in a cage in the lab and takes Max and Ken to find the creature. The creature returns to the lab, and when it sees Linda, Cass commands Danny to attack, but Danny struggles to resist. As Linda faints, Roger, Max and Ken track the creature back to house, followed at a distance by the police. Escaping out the back, the creature carries Linda to the cave, where Linda revives and begs Danny for help. Roger, Ken and Max sneak in to the cave, but when Ken urges Roger to shoot, Max holds Roger at gunpoint, insisting that they capture it alive instead. They throw a net over the creature, and after it knocks out Max, Roger shoots a tranquilizer at it. The activity, however, has triggered a cave-in, which completely unbalances Danny's mind. Ken grabs Linda and runs out, but the others are trapped inside as the entrance is sealed off. As the police arrive, Linda convinces Ken to tell the police that Danny was the killer in order to protect Roger's memory.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||GP||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles opening: 14 Apr 1971|
|Release Date:||1971||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Color (DeLuxe)||Distributions Co:||American International Pictures|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Mutual General Corporation, John Lawrence Productions|
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