Film #39: THE X FROM OUTER SPACE
The X from Outer Space
2 out of 5 stars
Considered by many to be Shochiku Studio’s first “monster movie” (which is debatable), THE X FROM OUTER SPACE is a perfect Saturday afternoon’s viewing with the kids. The tone of the film is kept light and beautiful miniature sets, goofy science (and the requisite goofy scientific instruments), refurbished TVs as intergalactic space monitors, and trampolines (to replicate the weightlessness of space). The script is more than a little dorky and the sets are straight out of early DR WHO or SPACE 1999. The score is a mind-bending mix of tangos, 60’s Euro-pop, and super groovy instrumental rock music. The set-up is similar to dozens of sci-fi movies of its time (particularly FANTASTIC VOYAGE or FORBIDDEN PLANET). And the monster… it looks like a reject from Godzilla’s Rogue’s Gallery. There are also a surprising number of Occidentals (aka White people) in the film. Fun and utterly goofy, THE X FROM OUTER SPACE could easily serve as an introduction to Japanese cinema and “Kaiju” (especially for kids). Interestingly, the director, Kazu Nihonmatsu, made only two films (this one and the “insect invasion” flick GENOCIDE aka WAR OF THE INSECTS. Further, Nihonmatsu served as an Assistant Director to the visionary director, Masaki Kobayashi who did such masterpieces of KWAIDAN and HARA-KIRI… which is crazy when you think about it. One word of warning though… by the third act, the film pretty much devolves into a straight-up Kaiju, so fans of that sub-genre will be pleased. Fun, dorky, and a little bit silly, THE X FROM OUTER SPACE won’t change your life, but it is sure to put a smile on your face.