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Uchu Daisenso

Battle in Outer Space

Japan 1959
produced by
Tomoyuki Tanaka for Toho
directed by Ishiro Honda
starring Ryo Ikebe, Kyoko Anzai, Koreya Senda, Minoru Takada, Leonard Stanford, Harold Conway, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Hisaya Ito, Nadao Kirino, Fuyuki Murakami, Malcolm Pearce, Leonard Walsh, Kozo Nomura
story by Jojiro Okami, screenplay by Shinichi Sekizawa, music by Akira Ifukube, special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A space station is destroyed only minutes after registering a trio of UFOs on their screens.

Later, ocean liners and trains are crashed in particularly freaky accidents, and a flash flood destroys Venice (off.screen, unfortunately). The UNO soon comes to the conclusion this must be the work of aliens, and soon enough an all-powerful laser beam is developed, and two laser-armed spaceships are sent to the moon where the aliens are suspected to have their base. Unfortunately, the aliens have succeeded in mind controlling Iwomura (Yoshio Tsuchiya), one of the men en route to moon, and on the journey, he tries to destroy one of the rocketships - but is rendered unconscious and tied up by his crewmates just in time.

On the moon, the crew of the two ships minus Iwomura change into the moonbusses they have brought and go against the aliens' moonbase, which they manage to destroy after a fierce battle. Meanwhile though, Iwomura has blown up one of the ships and is already working on the other, when the mind control seizes thanks to the destruction of the moonbase. Iwomura puts the second spaceship back into working condition, then arms himself to the teeth with rayguns and fends off UFO after UFO to guard the ship until all the others are back on board and take off again. Then he dies a hero's death.

Back on earth, a world gouvernment is quickly formed and a fleet of interceptor spaceships are built to fend off the next UFO attack - which happens before too long, even with the moonbase destroyed. As successful as the interceptor ships are, one of the aliens' motherships gets through to our earth's atmosphere and destroys New York and the Golden Gate Bridge among others before earth defense forces are able to take it down and defeat the aliens for good - for now ...


A man's inner child can't help but somehow love this movie for all its miniature effect that range from the great to the charmingly naive, and in a way, this film has everything, grand scale destruction on earth, space battles, lunar landscapes - you name it.

Apart from all of this though, Battle in Outer Space has rather little to offer. Thing is, I could live with the film's clichéed story, after all this is late 1950's science fiction so I couldn't expect too much, right? but what the movie really lacks is any good characters. Sure, there's Ryo Ikebe and Kyoko Anzai at the center of everything, but they remain disappointingly featureless and do nothing to further the action of the movie on their own account, and apart from them and Yoshio Tsuchiya as Iwomura of course, there are just stiff scientists or military figures who have little more than a machine-like function within the movie. Problem is, with no characters to identify with, the film's plot becomes somewhat bland and empty.

You'll probably still want to see this one for its miniature effects courtesy of Eiji Tsuburaya, but expect little beyond that ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD