Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: Invaders from Space (1965)

A bunch of salamander men from the planet Kulimon in the Moffit Galaxy plan on taking over Earth by unleashing a lethal plague on mankind (maybe not what you want to watch right now). It’s up to Starman from the Emerald Planet to save the human race.

I always wondered why these movies didn’t make any sense when I was a kid. 

That’s because they were all part of a much larger story that we had no idea about. We’re coming into the middle of a movie serial called Kōtetsu no Kyojin (Giant of Steel). To be more exact, we’re watching episodes 3 and 4, which were called The Mysterious Spacemen’s Demonic Castle and Earth on the Verge of Destruction

That’s because Walter Manley Enterprises and Medallion Films bought these movies from Japan and then did pretty much whatever they wanted with them. While the original films are 48 and 39 minutes long, they jammed them together, took out 9 minutes and used library music and dubbed dialogue.

While the American version refers to the bad guys as salamanders, those that love Japanese crytozology will recognize them as kappas, the dreaded frog-like beasts that haunt rivers and lakes. They also have a doctor who can hypnotize people, a witch and their leader, who is able to change the rotation of the planet.

Starman predates both Ultraman and the sendai ranger shows, but he’s very similar. He tends yo leap off things and do tons of backflips. A lesser hero would get dizzy and puke from the acrobatics that he does, but that’s why he’s such a winner, I guess.

Walter Manley Enterprises also brought the Jayne Mansfield-starring The Loves of HerculesInvasion of the Neptune MenCurse of the Blood GhoulsGiants of RomeCavalier in Devil’s Castle and Revenge of the Black Eagle to America, amongst other films. 

They also made three more Starman movies. It all begins in Atomic Rulers of the World, which is Super Giant and Super Giant ContinuesAttack from Space which is The Artificial Satellite and the Destruction of Humanity and The Spaceship and the Clash of the Artificial Satellite; and finally Evil Brain from Outer Space, which took the full color films The Space Mutant AppearsThe Devil’s Incarnation and Kingdom of the Poison Moth and made them black and white. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

Director Teruo Ishii, known as “The King of Cult,” made tons of movies. He directed 10 of the 18 A Man from Abashiri Prison films, all eight of the Joys of Torture series, Horrors of Malformed Men, Sonny Chiba’s The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge, some Pinky violence films, a few biker movies, two Yoshiharu Tsuge manga adaptions (Master of the Gensenkan Inn and Wind-Up Type) and so many more. In all, he made 83 films and numerous shows for TV.

Ishii left the series after the sixth movie, as he learned that a child had imitated Super Giant, dressing up like the hero and jumping out of a window to the street below. This is why Japanese superhero shows began airing a disclaimer before every show, warning kids to not imitate the things they saw on screen. 

I would hope that no one copied any of the Yakuza and erotic torture that he’d be in charge of in his later films.

Seriously, I love this movie. It’s kind of goofy looking compared to the CGI superheroics that we have today, but it has a charm that none of them do.

You can watch this on YouTube and download it for free on the Internet Archive.

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