Captain Invincible helped win World War 2 but couldn’t survive the McCarthy hearings. Angry that his country turned its back on him, he moved to Australia and became a drunk. Thirty years later, Mr. Midnight, his greatest villain, comes back and steals the hypno ray. The U.S. government now needs the Captain back. But is he even interested?
Directed by Philippe Mora (Mad Dog Morgan, The Beast Within, Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf), this Australian superhero comedy musical is a lost film. It never played in U.S. theaters due to Jensen Farley Pictures (who also distributed Chained Heat, Curtains, The Boogens and more) going out of business, but it was released on video. It also bombed really badly in Australia, so it’s not a film that anyone thinks about.
It’s a strange bird, a mix of pathos at times (the idea of superheroes being forced to retire because of the McCarthy hearings was first done in 1979’s JSA stories in Adventure Comics and 1985’s America vs. the Justice Society) and musical scenes, featuring three songs from The Rocky Horror Picture Show team of Richard O’Brien and Richard Hartley,
Starring Alan Arkin as the Captain and Christopher Lee as Mr. Midnight, the film really explores how a superhero would have to relearn his powers after decades of alcohol abuse, as well as how a supervillain would really operate in the modern world. It was written by Andrew Gaty, Peter Smalley (Dead End Drive-In) and Steven de Souza (Commando, Bad Dreams, Die Hard, Hudson Hawk, 48 Hours and many more).
The black and white sequences were my favorite parts of the film, showing how Captain Invincible gave up being a hero and how he got his powers. The music is pretty interesting, particularly Lee’s explanation of how there was evil before there was humanity. Also, I love Mr. Midnight’s sidekick, Julius, who looks like a naked human horse person.
Also of note, there’s a scene where vacuum cleaners attack our hero. The scene made so little sense, the original pick for Captain Invincible, James Coburn (Derek Flint from In Like Flint and Our Man Flint) dropped out of the movie!
I discovered this film via Not Quite Hollywood! and Ozploitation Trailer Explosion, which you can get from the good folks at Severin Films.