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Bijo to Ekitainingen

The H-Man

Japan 1958
produced by
Tomoyuki Tanaka for Toho
directed by Inoshiro Honda
starring Yumi Shirakawa, Kenji Sahara, Akihiko Hirata, Koreya Senda, Makoto Sato, Yoshifumi Tajima, Eitaro Ozawa, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Kamayuki Tsubono, Tadao Nakamaru, Nadao Kirino, Jun Fujio, Hisaya Ito, Toku Ihara, Haruya Kato, Shigeo Kato, Senkichi Omura, Haruo Nakajima, Yasuhiro Shigenobu, Ayumi Sonoda, Martha Miyake (singing voice)
story by Hideo Unagami, screenplay by Takeshi Kimura, music by Masaru Sato, special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Gangster Misaki (Hisaya Ito) disappears into thin air right after being run over by a car, and now police turn to his girlfriend, nightclub singer Chikako (Yumi Shirakawa, singing voice by Martha Miyake) to help them track him down ... but she claims she can't. There is something peculiar about his disappearance though, because he has left all of his cloths and belongings behind in the middle of the street and must have made his escape naked - yet while there are several witneses who confirm they have seen him being hit by the car, there is noone having seen a naked guy run away ...

While the cops, led by Tominaga (Akihiko Hirata), concentrate their investigations on Chikako, Tominaga's best friend, scientist Masada (Kenji Sahara) comes up with another theory, that Misaki has somehow melted as an after-effect of some nuclear testing. When a second gangster disappears just the way Misaki did, Masada sees his theory confirmed, but Tominaga thinks he has gone off the hook and refuses to involve his theories in his investigations, even if Masada is able to bring more and more evidence to strengthen his theory. With the police unwilling to help him, Masada turns to Chikako ...

The truth is of course quite a bit more disturbing than even Masada's wildest theories, it turns out that some nuclear test has created a living liquid that doesn't melt people but transform them into liquid consciousness. And this living liquid has actually come to Japan from a testing site in the South Pacific because it has taken over a bunch of Japanese sailors who as a collective consciousness just wanted to go home. Chaos breaks out when the living liquid shows up at Chikako's club, liquifying guests and personnel, cops and gangsters alike. Keiko is only just saved by Masada.

Tominaga and the police force have finally come to the conclusion that Masada's wild theories are right after all, and they make up plans to lure the living liquid into the sewers, fill the sewers with oil and then set everything on fire, this way burning the living liquid. Good plan, but in the meantime, Uchida (Makoto Sato), a gangster friend of Misaki who has used the confusion in the night club to fake his own death, has kidnapped Chikako and taken her down to the sewers ... and only by chance, Masada learns about it just in time to save her from the gangster as well as from both the fire used to kill the living liquid and the living liquid itself - and successfully so, the gangster becomes the living liquid's last victim while the living liquid breathes its last (so to speak) in a fire that devours all of Tokyo's sewers and waterways ...

 

A theoretically interesting blend of crime drama and science fiction, The H-Man unfortunately doesn't really work, mainly because too little effort is made until late to properly cross the three genres, too much of botht he gangster and the sci-fi action is presented low key, and too much running time of the film is wasted to set up the actual plot of the film. And above that, the finale in the sewers is a little too reminiscentof the US-American classic Them!. At least the nightclub massacre is fun though, but hardly enough to save the film.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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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
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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD