In all my years watching Gamera and Godzilla films, I thought I had seen all the possible Japanese monster movie variants, but, somehow, this little film slid by my attention. First, while this is technically a review of a DVD, the fact is that I watched this 1956 black and white film on one of those cheapo 50-movie packs from Mill Creek Entertainment, so there was absolutely nothing in terms of extra features. Yet, so what? If one were to expect features for a film that was clearly made for a 1950 television Captain Video And His Video Rangers knockoff for Japan, well, one would be silly.
In fact, even saying this was a 1950s Captain Video knockoff is wrong. It is closer to the old Buster Crabbe serials from America, in the 1930s; as this film was compiled from three episodes (seven, eight, and nine) of a film serial called Super Giant. At a mere 78 minutes (less than half the length of the three-episode arc), it’s rather brisk, and the editing obviously knocks a great deal out, as characters appears and disappear as if never even there. The only constant is the hero- a superhero named Starman, played by a not so buff Ken Utsui, who wears a helmet with a bent antenna (yes, just one), and undies that reveal his nipples and a big lump in his pants that I never saw in the George Reeves version of Superman. Oh yes, the film’s title, Evil Brain From Outer Space, had me thinking this film would be akin to the American sci fi camp classic from that same decade, The Brain From Planet Arous, which was made a year later. No such luck, and, of course, no John Agar, either!
Basically, Starman battles the mutants sent by a race of creatures who seek to take over the Earth. They are called Zimarians, as they come from Planet Zimar. Their leader is the brain of a creature called Balazar. Why? Why not? The video is awful, the editing choppy, and in a full screen 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The dubbing is sub-Godzilla films level. It was directed Koreyoshi Akasaka, for what it’s worth. That stated, the film is clearly aimed at kids, and as such, succeeds as well as Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. The effects are cheap, yet oddly effective — as when Starman and a clawed mutant just jump up, there is a quick jump cut, and then they jump down in a different place. Not high tech, but much more effective than the scenes of Starman in flight, which make the Superman flights of George Reeves seem CGI-induced, by comparison.