You know, you’d think you could make a pretty good category out of “best disembodied, talking head”, but if you have to struggle to come up with ten films to fit the category, it’s not that good.
I came up with: They Saved Hitler’s Brain, The Thing That Couldn’t Die, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die and Re-Animator. I’m on the fence as to whether Wizard of Oz would count (I think not, since it’s not a real head), and also disinclined to count Jason X and Alien, which both feature severed talking heads, but robotic heads. Oh, an Hayao Miyazaki uses a lot of floating heads, but that’s animation and they’re spirits so I don’t count those either.
Re-Animator wins this hands down, as the severed head is not just talky, it’s in control of its own destiny, and is a pervert.
Second place goes to They Saved Hitler’s Brain, just because they don’t just save his brain, they save his entire head, and a darling head it is. It sneers, glowers, wiggles its moustache, and also seems entirely in control of its own destiny, which is pretty impressive for, you know, a head in a jar.
On the TV show “Futurama”, they have guest stars (and generate other plot devices) by storing everyone’s head in a jar. All the US Presidents, for example, are in jars. The entire cast of the original “Star Trek” (and John Frakes of TNG) are in jars, Pamela Anderson’s head is in a jar, Claudia Schiffer, Lucy Liu, Al Gore, etc.
On the commentary for the DVD, someone asks him where he got the idea and he said something to the effect that “it’s a common sci-fi device.”
If it’s so common, I ask, where are all the disembodied head movies? The only actual head-in-a-jar movie I can think of is They Saved Hitler’s Brain, and I never once read any SF with that as a premise.
Anyway, Trooper York is already hard at work, I suspect, creating more good movie categories.
We shall see who walks away from this battle with his head in a jar.