Thursday, April 02, 2009
The H-Man is a 1958 Japanese sci-fi thriller [of sorts] that pits cops against both Tokyo's underground and mysterious radioactive slime monsters that melt everyone they touch.
Like many Japanese monster films of the period this one deals with the terror that the Atomic age wrought; The film's opening image is a nuclear bomb exploding and the monster [or monsters] are mutants that are believed to have developed due to a Hydrogen bomb test.
The Japanese title translates as "Beauty and the Liquid Men". Beauty in this case is a nightclub singer (Yumi Shirakawa) who is kidnapped by one of the gangsters. And the Liquid Men are, naturally, the slim monsters, which makes you wonder why the film was retitled The H-Man rather than The H-Men. I guess singular is more scary than plural in this case?
On the surface this is a promising film. I mean, you've got your heroin trading gangsters, your scantily clad nightclub dancers and an oozing thing crawling up an down the walls attacking amd melting everyone in its way. And it all marches along to a climax in the Tokyo sewer which the city has decided to firebomb in order to get rid of the menace. Plus, it's directed by Ishiro Honda best known for Godzilla. But The H-Man really doesn't deliver. It's neither scary nor suspenseful nor provocative. Although it is watchable and frequently humorous - especially the English dubbed version Columbia released that shown on TCM the other night.
The DVD for this film is not available through regular commercial channels on R1 but it can be found here.