The Thing With Two Heads (1972)

‘Two heads are better than one’ is the adage they thrust down your throat on any regular after school special. However, death row inmate Jack Moss (Rosey Grier) would probably disagree in this frothy-Blaxploitation-horror-comedy-type thing.

Set up for a crime he didn’t commit, African-American Moss is given the chance to avoid the chair if he allows himself to be experimented on in the name of science. Maxwell Kirshner (Ray Milland) is a wealthy, racist bigot who is slowly dying and needs a body to use as part of his controversial transplant operation. Can you see where they’re going with this?

Lee Frost’s The Thing With Two Heads is unmitigated nonsense from beginning to end. The problem is it’s not very interesting nonsense. It’s like being presented with a talking dog that only recites his company’s most recent quarterly accounts.

We’re deep into the running time before Kirshner and Moss are joined at the neck and once they are… Well, nothing really happens, despite the film’s insistence that something does. Moss, horrified by what’s happened to him, but seeing an opportunity to clear his name, escapes Kirshner’s lab. Frost runs his audience through the mill by exposing them to endless car chases in the desert. Or a field. Or a desert then a field.

Stitching together a black man and a bigot is fertile ground for an un-pc comedy. Instead, Moss and Kirshner shout at each other with extracts from Love Thy Neighbour castoffs. The only laughs here come from watching Frost trying to hide the fact that the effect of his two-headed thing is achieved by having Milland standing behind Grier.

One for those with a morbid curiosity or at least, an excuse to see makeup artist Rick Baker’s first steps into prosthetics.

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