Invaders from Space (1965)
Directed by Koreyoshi Akasaka, Teruo Ishii and Akira Mitsuwa
Featuring Ken Utsui, Minako Yamada, Junko Ikeuchi
Country: Japan / USA
What it is: Japanese superhero mayhem
The great superhero from space Starman (aka The Padded One) takes on a nasty group of salamander aliens.
I’ve already covered the other three Starman movies edited out of a series of shorts for American consumption, but most of my sources seem to omit this one for some reason. That’s a bit of a shame, as this one is the most entertaining of the batch. Not that it’s the most thrilling and exciting, mind you; it’s that it’s the most hilarious one of the bunch. What does it say about the salamander aliens that they have two forms (a salamander form and a human disguise form) in which the human disguise form requires that they wear face masks to hide the fact that they don’t look human at all? Or that there modus operandi requires that they infiltrate the earth as an avant-garde dance troupe? The salamander aliens also have the ability to make beakers float in the air and to run footage backwards, so you know they’re a real threat. Starman does his usual athletic battle routine with the aliens, and you’ll probably figure out how it will all turn out; still, there’s plenty of surreal laughs in this one.