Directed by Kazui Nihonmatsu [Other horror films: Konchû daisensô (1968)]
This Japanese film, commonly known as The X from Outer Space, is pretty poor in comparison to both other movies from the same production company (Shochiku) and other movies from the overall decade. This isn’t to say The X from Outer Space is terrible, but it is pretty unremarkable in most ways.
Shochiku isn’t a well-known name, but they made films such as Genocide (Konchû daisensô), The Living Skeleton (Kyûketsu dokuro-sen), and perhaps most famously, Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro). The best of these may well be Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell, but the other two are decent enough also. This one just can’t match any of those others at all. It’s as if they were trying to be Toho, and just failed miserably at it.
I think the first big problem is the fact that, until you get 48 minutes in or so, you can’t even tell this is going to be a giant rampaging monster movie. Personally, I thought the first half was decent (albeit in a rather cheesy, very 60’s type way), but the story of the astronauts going up into space could have been trimmed a bit in places. They could have gotten to the meat of the story quicker. The thing is, I don’t think there was that much meat to get to, which is probably why the first half was so dragged out.
Few of these characters are really worth much. In his own way, I did sort of like Shun’ya Wazaki as the straight-laced captain, and the idea that both Itoko Harada and Peggy Neal’s characters wanted to jump his bones was fine (though the cat fight I was hoping for never happened), but it doesn’t much go anywhere aside from a scene in the finale that was somewhat laughable. Otherwise, the only character in the film worth watching this for was the monster, called Guilala, which was just an overly goofy-looking lizard thing with bouncing antennas.
You get some funky music here rather often, but the first half of The X from Outer Space can come across as particularly dry, the quickness at which they can travel in space seems ridiculous, and the rather silly destruction of models – sorry, Japanese cities and power plants – wasn’t much what I’d call thrilling.
There are some fun space-based movies from the 1960’s, one of them being the Italian Planet of the Vampires (Terrore nello spazio), and there are some fun monster movies, such as Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (Daikyojû Gappa), but this tries to combine the two, and it really doesn’t work out. Stick with the other Shochiku movies instead, and go to this only if all else fails.
2 thoughts on “Uchû daikaijû Girara (1967)”