Friday, January 08, 2016


Karl Brussard is a rich older man dying of a brain tumor who doesn't want to leave this mortal coil yet, and so is sent to Europe to see Dr. Merritt, who has been experimenting with brain transplantation—this is mentioned as casually as if he'd been experimenting in, oh, trying out different parking spots at work. The doc has transplanted the brain of a monkey that had been dead for six years into the head of another monkey and kept it alive and breathing by artificial means. Through silly oddball circumstances, Karl decides to go to France, steal the head of the prophet Nostradamus (dead for almost 400 years), and have Merritt and his assistant Lew bring it back to life so Karl can then (get this) talk the brain into thinking that it's not Nostradamus but is actually Karl Brussard. That way, when Nostradamus's brain gets into Karl's head, he'll still be Karl.  But of course when you're mucking about in God's domain, things rarely work out so well. 

As a B-horror film, this looks and feels like what you would expect, but the laughably bizarre script drops it down a notch (or amps it up a bit, depending on your view). Old pro George Coulouris tries his best as Karl, but the character is not presented consistently; in the beginning, he has several spells of physical and mental weakness, but later in the film, these seem to vanish altogether for the sake of the plot. Robert Hutton is undistinguished as the doctor. There is an equally poorly-written subplot involving a young woman named Odette who, in the beginning, seems like Karl's gold-digging wife, but is actually a ward or a patient or something. She hits it off with Lew (Sheldon Lawrence), causing jealousy to rear its ugly head.  The climax has Nostradamus's head (pictured) grafted onto the body of Lew, and a dying Karl chasing it/him through the streets of London. The head effect is at times unintentionally comical, which does not do wonders for the attempted atmosphere of doom and gloom. And don't get me started about the ridiculous set that is supposed to be Madam Tussaud’s wax museum. [Netflix]

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