The Thing with Two Heads (1972)
Starring Rosey Grier, Ray Milland, Don Marshall, Roger Perry, Chelsea Brown, Kathrine Baumann, John Dullaghan
Directed By Lee Frost
I can get behind any film that casts an Academy Award winning actor alongside ex-defensive tackle Rosie Grier as a half bigot, half convict… thing with two heads. In concept alone, this film is a stroke of genius. You can tackle the race issue with slow burning drama ala Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, or dress it up in the guise of a police investigation like they did with In the heat of the Night. But it takes a real visionary to slap a racist-spouting, prosthetic Ray Milland head on Rosie Greer’s shoulder and call it a day.
The Thing with Two Heads could have a brilliant statement, forever ridding the world of racism and making boys and girls of all colors join hands and sing in the streets, but instead it decides that what we really need to mend hate and end injustice are a shitload of car chases and dirtbike races! Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t need no message up in my movies in order for me to appreciate them. I can get along just fine with explosions, dismemberment, or lasers. But this film sets itself up for some very interesting opportunities and chooses not to explore them. Dawn of the Dead is a great film because it has the blood, gore, and head-explosions that we all know and love, but it also mines its own premise to reveal maybe just a little something about human nature and society at large without sacrificing all of that fun stuff.