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Sekai Daisenso

The Last War
The Great World War / Todesstrahlen aus dem Weltall

Japan 1961
produced by
Tomiyuki Tanaka, Sanezumi Fuijimoto for Toho
directed by Shue Matsubayashi
starring Frankie Sakai, Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi, Nobuko Otowa, Yumi Shirakawa, Chieko Nakakita, Shinpei Tsuchiya, Eijiro Tono, Ken Uehara, Koji Uno, Tazue Ichimanji, So Yamamura
written by Takeshi Kimura, Toshio Yasumi, music by Ikuma Dan, special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Sometime in the 21st century: The Cold War has reached its peak, and even the smallest mistakes from one of the opponents is likely to set off a nuclear war that will eventually annihilate the whole human civilisation. Of course, this mistake is eventually made, and we see all major capitals go up in atomic mushrooms ...

This is the backdrop of the lovestory of a young woman from a traditional happy family and a naval radio operator who's also the lodger at her parents' house. It takes the two of them forever to ask her father to give him her daughter's hand in marriage, but once dad has done so, the radio operator is called back to the sea - while on land, everything is blown to Kingdom Come, and thus humjankind is almost erradicated, and the young radio operator can never hope to find his bride-to-be again.


There are two sides to this film: On one hand it's a pacifist statement that tries to get across its anti-war message via a story of the fate of the little people - but while an anti-war message is always a good message as such in not only my eyes, its delivery leaves much to be desired: The whole love story of the radio operator and his girl is never properly married to the matter-of-fact style of the war story, which in turn fails to serve as its broader context.

On the other hand though, if you're into detailed miniature sets being blown up and destroyed, this is totally a film for you as this is somethinjg special effects man Eiji Tsuburaya simply excels in, and he seems to have a fascination for it to that's somehow infectuous.

Now of course, explosions don't make a movie, and to get to them you even have to sit through a whole lot of ill-conceived plot that's somehow on the boring side, but at least the effects are indeed worth a look.


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