Saturday Afternoon Kaiju: The X from Outer Space (1967)
This week, I’m highlighting Shochiku’s 1967 entry into the Kaiju ring, The X from Outer Space. This was my first watch of it and it was, well, interesting…
The nuclear powered AAB Gamma (you will remember that name always) spaceship was sent from Japan on a mission to Mars. The crew is to investigate rumors of a UFO hanging out around the planet. The crew consists of four members, three men and one woman. Lisa (Peggy Neal), looking out of place and clearly not speaking a lick of Japanese, is in love with Captain Sano (Shun'ya Wazaki). He is in love with Michiko (Itoko Harada). Michiko works on the moon base that the AAB Gamma crew has to return to when they are hit with all sorts of radiation from the UFO in question. So, yeah, there’s a love triangle but the way it is filmed, it almost looks like Michiko and Lisa are the ones in love with each other. Which would make sense since Sano is as interesting as the sole of my shoe.
Back on track to Mars (with a replacement doctor), the crew encounters the same UFO but this time, they get squirted with all sorts of foamy shit. This foam contains some sort of spores that are blocking their engine from getting any power. In their infinite wisdom, two crew members go out and not only put their hands in the foam, they find and collect a glowing piece of material. They take it into their ship and wait for rescue. I get they needed a sample but, c’mon, show some caution!
Back on Earth, the space agency seems more concerned with partying than they are with this alien blob in their lab. They don’t contain it, lock it up, or anything. It’s just basically sitting there in a lantern. OF COURSE, the thing escapes. No one knows where it went but it did leave a chicken-type looking print behind. Hmmm.
So, yes, this spore is now a huge, giant, green funky chicken looking monster. It’s 200ft tall and as clumsy as hell. As I watched this last night, I kept thinking “Surely, they are making a character choice with this creature being clumsy”. Guilala (yes, that is the creature’s name) just sort of lumbers about Tokyo, seemingly only accidently knocking down buildings and power lines. Honestly, after examining the rather sorry looking suit, what it boils down to is the man in suit is just totally blind. There is a weird patch of cloth at the creature’s neck which I guess was how the guy inside was supposed to see. Whatever it was, it is not pretty to watch. It’s not like Godzilla or Gamera are graceful but they look like professional dancers compared to Guilala.
The authorities can’t figure out how to stop Guilala, who keeps getting larger by eating up yummy nuclear waste. Eventually, they decide they need some of that spoogey stuff they plucked Guilala from in the first place to spray on him and, at least, slow him down. So up to space they go, once again, in search of Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Whip.
Do they manage to get the Stuff? Does the love triangle get resolved? Is Guilala the most silly of all the Kaiju monsters? Does it really matter? You’ll have to watch to find out.
This is probably one of the lesser Kaiju movies in terms of suit and production, for me, anyway. I understand people love it. Toho’s miniature game is top shelf. This movie’s miniatures were lacking in every way. The suit wasn’t great nor were Guilala’s “weapons”. He could burp out fire balls and, really, that’s about it. I guess he could take getting hit in his red glowing eye by several jets, too. The ruffles on the suit looked as though someone had sewn up the suit but forgot to turn it right side in. I appreciate the effort but this is not one of my favorites. I know he isn’t pink nor a monkey but he is bird-like so Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” kept playing in my head whenever Guilala was on screen. I will mention that the music, although seemingly totally out of place, is actually rather groovy and I dug it.
Surprisingly, at least to me, The X from Outer Space is available for streaming right this second on FilmStruck as part of their Eclipse series.