-to a time when men were men and science fiction movie fans would walk ten miles barefoot (shoes were expensive in those days) to catch a glimpse of special effects on the cinema screen. Here, on the cusp of the 60's, three movies from director Inishiro Honda and special effects maestro Eiji Tsburaya. When American sf movies were timid little black and white affairs, the Japanese were producing these lavish full colour widescreen masterpieces.
Okay, maybe 'masterpieces' isn't quite the right word. Let's have a closer look at them.
I've wanted to see 'The H-Man' ever since a kid at school snuck into see it (Certificate X: no-one under 16 allowed) and gleefully regaled me with tales of its wonders. The reality is a little less wonderful but not without a fair amount of fun. Basically it's a gangster turned into radioactive slime (think the Blob on a small scale) turning his enemies into similar such and absorbing them leaving behind all the clothes and such.
'Battle in Outer Space' does pretty much what it says as long as you are okay with outer space being the Moon and the Earth-Moon orbit. It's fine by me. Aliens (never actually seen except once and they're in spacesuits) attack the earth with flying saucers, space torpedoes, and a mother-ship. Earth unites to fight back and sends a couple of space ships to the Moon where the aliens have made their base. Then the aliens attack Earth full on. Trust me, this is full of special effects because of the numerous battles, space and moon sequences. Ah, in the old days we never noticed all those wires holding up the space craft and flying saucers, being too much in awe of the spectacle in front of us. Sure it's naive and clumsy compared to today's equivalents but it has a charm they lack.
And, finally, Mothra, in her first appearance. Here we have the answer to the oft asked question: what happens when the bad guys kidnap two teeny-tiny singing twins from a radioactive island? Answer: the inhabitants raise a hacky great monster to destroy Tokyo in a rescue attempt. The bad guy is from a country with a long-winded made-up name but where the inhabitants speak English and drive on freeways. I'll leave it to you to work out the not-very subtle allusion. Oh, okay, just one hint: which country was still occupying Japan at the time the movie was made? If you love giant monster movies then you must see Mothra or hand in your giant monster movie lover card.
All three are available in edited English-language versions and the full Japanese originals. Two have commentaries. Order yours now before they're all gone.
on 27 June 2013
The other reviewers are right about the packaging. Although the cover is pretty nice the dvd's themselves are stacked one on top of the other. You'll need to be careful taking them out or they are going to get scratched pretty quickly...
Thankfully the content more than makes up. The picture quality is excellent on each movie. The films come in English and Japanese cuts so you can play the traditional "they cut what?' game. The commentaries provided by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski match the ones they have previously provided for the Classic Media Toho releases. It's a pity their commentaries are only on the English versions but they have included clips from interviews they've done with some of the cast members. There is no commentary on H-Man but...
...but look, these are movies where giant moths save tiny singing twins, where astronauts fight aliens by having huge laser fights in the distant future of 1965, and where blobs of slime eat people. What more do you want?