The Brain That Wouldn't Die

As the old joke goes, look up the word schlock in the dictionary and you'll see 'The Brain That Wouldn't Die”. The disrespectful out there refer to the film as 'Jan In A Pan', Jan being the name of the woman who loses her head (literally), The movie poster art is to the right. Note that though a brain with an eye is shown, no such thing occurs in the film.

For you camp film fans out there, TBTWD has all one could ask for and more: mad scientists, monsters, decapitations, dismemberment, a stripper cat fight, cheap sets, hammy acting, what more could anyone ask? Although the film was completed in 1959, it wasn't released until 1962 which seems to indicate that even the producers weren't sure what to do with it. Thank goodness for the drive-in circuit where it spent most of its time followed by the Saturday Chillerama slot on late night TV. For a complete synopsis, click here ( You can also watch the entire film on YouTube if you're so inclined. Be warned that the movie isn't that good and the ending leaves more questions than it answers so, for that reason, you may find it to be an unsatisfying experience.

The kit presented here is another of Dimensional Designs resin kits. I actually combined two of their kits, “The Brain That Wouldn't Die” and “The Closet Monster” to depict the final scene in the film.

The 'Closet Monster' kit was a straightforward build that required minimal prep work and went together fairly easily. I focused my efforts on the monster's face (if you can call it that). The movie was in black & white so I had somewhat of a free hand with the color palette but I decided to stay with natural flesh tones and the like. I added some stitches by cutting up very short lengths of black thread and then gluing them in a cross hatch patterns over a few of the many scars. I grudged up his clothes with dried blood color here and there and light, random washes of diluted black paint to give the appearance that he/it was laying in his/its own filth.

The “Brain” kit assembly was another matter entirely. The 'Jan' head casting was excellent and needed very little prep work. The rest of the kit was lacking on many levels IMHO. On the plus side, the instructions were very good because the mad lab set up is fairly complicated. I still had to refer to stills from the film on Google to get a better idea of how things were set up.

Included are many castings of bottles, lab equipment, surgical instruments along with several lengths of cut up coat hanger wire to construct the laboratory framework. Also included were a few pieces of square wood stock and plastic tubing to make the various supports needed to display the lab equipment. DD provided everything you needed, unfortunately the quality just wasn't there.

Instead of using the wood stock to make some of the supports, I ended up using Plastistruck vinyl square rod of the same dimensions simply because it would be much sturdier and easier to work with.

The castings were very disappointing. What were supposed to represent clear glassware ended up being cloudy and bubble ridden. I ended up recasting a few pieces to make acceptable replacements. I pretty much scrapped the rest and went on eBay and found tiny glass vials of varying sizes that were much better all around, primarily because I could actually put colored fluids in them.

The resin oscilloscope had a screen with cast on grid work which really didn't look that hot and would have been a bear to paint if I decided to add any kind of waveform on the surface. I ended up sanding the original screen flat and making my own using black construction paper as a backing with a zig zag wave pattern painted on with iridescent green paint. I finished it off with a clear piece of acetate to resemble a glass screen and then epoxied the whole thing in place.

I 'lost' about two weeks of assembly time on this build because I was waiting for so many replacements parts. I realize that this was my own choice and perhaps I got the one kit that was a lemon. In any case, I spent WAY too much time on this build and heaved a sigh on relief once it was completed. If you like a challenge and are willing to spend an additional thirty bucks or so to make this kit 'right', then you may enjoy building “The Brain That Wouldn't Die”. Otherwise, I'd steer clear of this one.

On the Geof Scale of 1 – 5, I'd give this kit a C minus and I'd give “The Closet Monster” kit an A minus.

This what happens when you try to cut corners and shave with a blender.