Today’s selection: Evil Brain from Outer Space (1958/1959/1964, dir. Akira Mitsuwa and Chogi Akasaka)
Subgenre: Henshin hero
The first three American-made “Starman” compilations of Japan’s Super Giants film serials used related stories; Atomic Rulers of the World was made from a two-part film series, Attack from Space was made of a two-part film series, and so was Invaders from Space. However, the remaining three Super Giants movies were unrelated stand-alones (also the only ones not directed by Teruo Ishii), yet somehow their cumulative 159 minutes was cobbled into a single 78-minute feature. The effect is jarring and nonsensical, but such is the American way (Shogun Assassin, anyone?), and depending on whether the heterogeneous plot appeals to you should help to decide whether you want to start here or with one of the less artificially insane Starman features. In an ideal world, the 50’s Japanese superhero movies would be available subtitled, but for the time being stuff like this and Prince of Space are only available in their compiled formats. It’s not that bad a break for someone looking to get a taste of older hero film series.