THE BRAIN; OVER MY DEAD BODY
(Ein Toter Sucht Seinen Moerder)
Vengeance/The Brain is a real oddity. It distorts the original Donovan's Brain story into something completely different to the extent that the theme of a scientist being controlled by the malevolent will of a financiers disembodied brain is now only of secondary importance to the story. It is now more of a mystery story about unraveling who killed Donovan/Holt. It is not even clear that it is Holts brain that is controlling Corrie we only get the sense that Holt is vaguely subconsciously communicating with Corrie in some way. The ultimate measure of the story is that its greatest horror is not the fact that a malevolent brain is controlling minds and killing people, unlike all other versions of the story, but rather that the conspiracy exists among Holts compatriots and family. In fact, at one point, saving the brain from being destroyed is seen as a salutary act. In other film versions, the switching off of the brain has been the denouement of the story, here it is dramatically unremarkable and the solving of the murder is of far greater importance.
The film has been shot with a minimal budget. Freddie Francis shoots in intensive closeups on forelit faces all in black-and-white, which emphasizes a stark naked tension that was characteristic to 1960s thrillers. One of the more unusual parts is the casting of Peter Van Eyck. Van Eycks clipped Germanic directness and single-minded determination gives the film undeniable resonances of WWII German experiments.
Freddie Franciss other genre films are:- Paranoiac (1962), Nightmare (1963), Dr Terrors House of Horrors (1964), The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Hysteria (1965), The Skull (1965), The Psychopath (1966), The Deadly Bees (1967), They Came from Beyond Space (1967), Torture Garden (1967), Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly (1969), Trog (1970), The Vampire Happening (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Tales That Witness Madness (1972), Craze (1973), The Creeping Flesh (1973), Legend of the Werewolf (1974), Son of Dracula (1974), The Ghoul (1975), The Doctor and the Devils (1985) and Dark Tower (1987).
Curt Siodmaks other genre scripts include:- F.P.1 Does Not Answer (1932), Trans-Atlantic Tunnel (1935), The Ape (1940), Black Friday (1940), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Invisible Woman (1940), The Wolf Man (1941), The Invisible Agent (1942), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), I Walked with a Zombie (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), The Climax (1944), House of Frankenstein (1944), The Beast with Five Fingers (1946), Tarzans Magic Fountain (1949), Riders to the Stars (1954), Creature with the Atom Brain (1955) and Earth Vs the Flying Saucers (1956). Siodmak also directed/wrote several films with Bride of the Gorilla (1951), The Magnetic Monster (1953), Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956) and Love Slaves of the Amazon (1957). Siodmaks lesser known novel Hausers Memory (1968) about transplanted memories was also filmed as the tv movie Hausers Memory (1970).
Trailer here (German language only):-
Full film available online here:-