Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, DVD, Horror

Cult: Horror, ‘Shochiku’ style

When Horror Came To Shochiku (Eclipse Series 37) (Criterion) collects a quartet of late 1960s sci-fi/horror oddities from the Japanese film studio Shochiku, which jumped into the genre late and produced insane movies on threadbare budgets and incoherent scripts seemingly tossed together on the fly.

The bright, bizarre pulp fictions begin with the alien giant monster mash The X from Outer Space (1967), which opens on a Mars mission beset by a glowing UFO (that incredibly doesn’t even phase the crew) and a meteor shower that punctures the ship and (after awkward narrative complications and half-hearted romantic yearnings) ends with the goofiest suitmation monster I’ve ever seen in a serious Japanese movie. Waddling through sun-Goddzilla miniatures like a toddler on a sugar high, this beaky thing (arbitrarily named Guilala by the scientists) looks more like a Mystery Science Theater 3000 robot in a Halloween costume than an extraterrestrial, at least before it evolves into a floating blob of energy.

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