This woman has lost her head. Well, to be accurate, her head has lost her body and she is in desperate need of a new one. Real scientists have enjoyed only limited success in performing head transplants on dogs and monkeys, but fortunately she doesn’t live in the real world. She's in the scifi universe, where she can find plenty of cranial transplant technicians able to equip her with brand new body. In fact, we've got a whole list of places she can go to get them. Nazi conspiracies, two-headed buddy comedies, and spoilers ahead.
Gorilla-Man of the Headmen: Dr. Arthur Nagan is a skilled surgeon who experimented with transplanting gorilla organs into humans. But the gorillas took their revenge, transplanting Nagan’s head onto a gorilla’s body. As a member of the villainous team the Headmen, he continued to use his surgical skills, transplanting Chondu the Mystic’s brain into Nighthawk’s body. The Head (1959): Also known by its German title Die Nackte und der Satan, The Head features both a disembodied head and a pair of head transplants. Professor Abel, who is dying of a heart condition, has developed the miraculous Serum Z, which can keep disembodied heads alive indefinitely. When Abel’s willing body donor dies in the middle of the operation, his lab assistant, the nefarious Dr. Ood, uses the serum to keep Abel’s now-disembodied head alive. Ood is in love with the beautiful but hunchbacked nurse Irene Sanders, and wants Abel’s help in transplanting her head on a stripper’s body. Unfortunately for Ood, it all goes to pot when Irene falls for the murdered stripper’s boyfriend and Ood finds himself on the operating table.
The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962): Dr. Bill Cortner is a successful mad scientist who already has a mutant creature to his name. When his fiancée Jan is decapitated in a car accident, Cortner manages to get her head back to his lab in time to keep it alive. Like Ood, his plan is to commit murder to procure a new body for his beloved. But Jan doesn’t want a new body; she just wants to die.
The Day They Put Humpty Together Again by Margaret Jones (1968): Jones’ book explores the possible consequences of radical surgery on personal identity. After doctors perform the first head transplant, the recipient suffers a severe identity crisis. Is he the person he was? Is he the person whose body he possesses? Or is he someone else entirely? The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant (1971): This is one of two bizarre tales of mismatched heads occupying the same body to come out of the 70s. After a homicidal maniac breaks into a scientist’s home, kills the caretaker, and is himself mortally wounded, the scientist inexplicably decides to transplant the killer’s head onto the body of the dead caretaker’s mentally challenged son. Predictably, it’s the maniac who asserts control over their shared body and they begin terrorizing the countryside.
The Thing with Two Heads (1972): This second double-header moves into the territory of buddy comedy. A wealthy white racist tries to cheat death by having his head transplanted onto a healthy body. But after going under the knife, he wakes to find himself sharing shoulders with Jack Moss, a black death row inmate. The two end up on the run, with Jack hoping to find the evidence the evidence that will clear his name.
The Thing with Two Heads has frequently been cited as one of the worst movies of all time. But, on the plus side, it features a young Rick Baker as a two-headed gorilla and inspired a classic moment of Simpsons goodness:
Professor Dowell’s Testament (1984): After murdering the body of his lab partner, Professor Dowell, Professor Kern continues to keep Dowell’s disembodied head alive in his office. The head continues its previous research, the revival of human organs, and Kern takes the credit for Dowell’s disembodied breakthroughs. But when a young woman’s head ends up on the body of Dowell’s son’s girlfriend, Dowell is compelled to reveal himself and the nature of Kern’s crimes. Professor Dowell's Head the original novel by Alexander Beliaev, was inspired by real-life scientist Sergei Bryukhonenko, who famously developed a method of keeping a severed dog’s head alive.
The Chief of Doom Patrol: An entity called the Candlemaker decapitates the Doom Patrol’s disgraced Chief, Niles Caulder, but Doctor Will Magnus of the Metal Men builds a new body for the mad genius. The transplant is short-lived, however, as the guilt-ridden Chief tears his head clear off his new body and lives his life as a head in a bucket of ice. The Day After Tomorrow by Allan Folsom (1994): A far cry from the eco-apocalyptic film of the same name, this book features a young doctor who discovers that his late father was involved in a conspiracy to continue the Nazi’s head transplant program. The ultimate goal: to place Hitler’s preserved head on a fresh, living body. Mars Attacks! (1996): When the Martians land on Earth, their main interest is in dealing out death by ray gun. But they occasionally take time out to stage medical experiments on Pierce Brosnan and Sarah Jessica Parker.
The Russian from the Punisher: The Russian suffers an ignoble end when Frank Castle suffocates him beneath the body his obese friend. But even after his head gets chopped off, he makes a comeback. Granted his head is reattached to his original skeleton, but his body is so altered as to be positively new. The resurrected Russian gets a metal-coated skeleton, super strength, and a great rack. Futurama “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” (2000): The 31st century is lousy with heads in jars, but when Fry’s body is demolished in an off-world car accident, he isn’t doomed to a life in preserving fluid. Instead it gets temporarily sewn onto the shoulder of his coworker-with-benefits, Amy Wong. And, ever the master of social timing, Fry decides this is a good time to break it off with his gracious host. The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008): What could an organ transporter with a dying husband possibly need with a healthy young girl? Mulder and Scully follow a fallen priest's psychic visions to a lab equipped with ice baths, surgical tools, and a two headed dog.