The H-Man (1958)

THE H-MAN (1958)
Article #950 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-21-2003
Posting Date: 3-19-2004
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Featuring Yumi Shirakawa, Kenji Sahara, Akihiko Hirata

When a suspect in a narcotics case vanishes leaving nothing but his clothes behind, police are baffled. They are unaware that a blob-like creature that dissolves and eats people is on the loose.

There were several blob movies made during the fifties; the surprising thing is that many of them were quite good and that the plots had a fairly decent amount of variety to them. This was Toho’s take on the subject, and it was directed by the man who also handled many of the best Godzilla movies. The attack scenes are very effective, particularly during a sequence aboard a seemingly deserted ship, and they’re as creepy as anything in CALTIKI THE IMMORTAL MONSTER or some of the other blob movies. The movie’s main problem is that the monster footage is surrounded by a rather uninvolving crime story about narcotics dealers. This is acceptable during the first part of the story when the mystery of the left-over clothing drives the mystery, but once the monsters have manifested themselves, it would have been better if the crime subplot had been placed on the back burner. Instead, the focus remains largely on these aspects of the story rather than on the monster hunt. Nonetheless, there are many effective scenes, and the tone is somewhat low-key for a Japanese monster movie. You can even forgive the poor dubbing and the overuse of Paul Frees.

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