Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The H Man/ Battle in Outer Space Sci-Fi Double Feature Mill Creek Entertainment

The H Man/Battle in Outer Space Mill Creek Entertainment June 9th 2020

The H-Man (1958)

Directed By: Ishiro Honda

Starring: Yumi Shirakawa, Kenji Sahara, Akihiko Hirata

The H Man is interesting as it blends '50's science run amok with a crime element.  I think off the bat my biggest issue with this movie is its terrible pace. The film should have dropped the crime sub plot and got straight into the thrust of the film. Its a good thirty minutes into we actually get any ooze action. The film gets going but then gets into boring sitting and talking exposition scenes. This seems to be the un-doing of a lot of cheesy sci-fi films not only in Japan but America as well. Now compare this to The Blob (1958) released the same year. Both feature a oozing, well blob, that has the ability to kill. But in that film we dont spend a lot of time talking about the why's and wherefores rather we get right into the action.I also feel like H-Man suffers from very flat characters. A movie shouldn't feel like a choir and H-Man very much felt like one. It slogs through bad sub plotting and forgets to just be a fun monster movie. When it does get into monster territory is when I started getting interested again. H-Man also feels like it may have partly inspired the melt masterpiece Street Trash (1987). This films seems to have a cult following but, for me it felt like a Blob rip-off but forgets to actually just be a fun cheesy monster movie.

Battle in Outer Space (1959)

Directed By:Ishiro Honda

Starring: Ryo Ikebe, Kyoko Anzai, Leonard Stanford, Harold Conway

The film starts out promising with a nice albeit cheesy space battle. But, I thought to myself, Oh good at least this film is going to be fun with more action rather than talking. Like H-Man the film drags its run time with committee meetings and boring characters. Honda tries to build action but then it goes right back to more UN meetings. Snore.  The film tries hard to bring a romance sub-plot into the film but honestly, who cares? I came here for stupid cheesy fun battles in outer space. Its beyond me why these films are padded within an inch of their lives with talking, boring characters and more talking and meetings. Your mileage my vary but even with some fun battle scenes I found this movie to be more of a choir than the previous film.

Picture/Sound: Both H Man and Battle have been sourced from very nice restorations done by Columbia. Colors are vivid with all artifacts and dirt scrubbed clean. I really am pleasantly surprised how nice both of these films look, especially given their age. Creek has been sourcing a lot of their older films were decent to great prints, so it always varies but both of these releases are home runs for the label. Sound wise both films aren't perfect but they feature little hiss or distortion.

The only extras are a feature length commentary for Battle in Outer Space. The track features Sci-Fi historians Steve Ryfle & Ed Godziszewski. Both experts share plenty of great information on the film and it makes for an entertaining listen.

Both films include the English and Japanese versions of the film.

Value: If you love cheesy late 50's  Japanese sci-fi Mill Creek has got you covered! Both films look great and at just under 15 for 2 discs its a hell of a great deal. As always there are no frills but bottom is you get two movies looking great and at the end of the day thats all that really matters.

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