Wednesday, August 26, 2020

This Monster's Rage is a Party!

There never was a Kaiju like Guilala. Japanese and German astronauts bring him back to Earth and, boy, is he agitated to be here in 1967's The X from Outer Space (宇宙大怪獣ギララ "Giant Space Monster Guilala"). This film is vigorously silly and filled with admirable energy.

The first half of the film concerns a mission to Mars in a rocket crewed by Japanese men and one beautiful blonde German woman referred to only as "Lisa" (Peggy Neal) or "Dr. Lisa". Wikipedia gives her last name as Schneider but if it's used during the film I didn't hear it. Instead, the use of her first name became particularly noticeable when she seemed to become the only scientist in the world capable of stopping Guilala. I should note that, in Japanese, "Mr/Dr/Miss" equivalents like "-san/-sensei" can be applied to first as well as last names.

Will it be Lisa or Michiko (Itoko Harada) who wins the love of handsome Captain Sano (Toshiya Wazaki)? The tension between the two women is kept simmering below the surface even when they shower together on the moon with artificial water.

After some rest, another German, Dr. Stein (Mike Daneen), joins the crew but our adventurers are waylaid by flying radioactive dots. From one of these, Lisa harvests the glowing orb that will erupt with fury to become Guilala back on Earth.

Kaiju knock down buildings and generally rampage, it's what they do, and yet there seems something extraordinary about Guilala's anger. He moves really fast and his reflexes are pretty good when he swats missiles or pukes a fireball at a passing jet. This late into the genre, it's interesting to get a kaiju with no apparent motivation.

Meanwhile, Lisa is trapped beneath rumble and is forced to scream orgasmically as a team of men try to lever the debris off of her. Her leg is caught but she has no trouble running on it a few minutes later. Maybe it was psychosomatic.

The X from Outer Space is available on The Criterion Channel.

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