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X From Outer Space

A space-exploration organization called the FAFC (quasi-governmental? - they're based in Japan and seem to have some Caucasian officers) launches yet another expedition toward Mars; the previous few have been impeded by some sort of alien force. This latest one has an encounter with a UFO, but is able to make it back to Earth after another rocket is sent up to bring a spare fuel supply. The crew brings back a small egg-like crystal with a flashing light in it, which had been one of many stuck to the hull of the ship during a pass through a radiation storm (or something).

X From Outer Space The egg turns into a giant monster - after all, this is a Japanese sci-fi film - and begins tearing up the countryside. It appears to be absorbing different kinds of energy as it rampages, and soon the government figures out that if they can synthesize the stuff the creature came in, and then cover him over again with it, he'll be without a source of power. After some hair-raising hijinx, the
Japanese air force drops the stuff (which looks like shaving cream) over the monster and he shrinks back to his original egg form. The scientist/astronauts scoop him back up and send him on a one-way trip to orbit the Sun forever, out of Earth's way.

X From Outer Space is a nice, cheesy, goofy Japanese sci-fi film, exactly what you'd want such a film to be if you were to put one together from scratch. It has all the elements that make a great example from this genre: lots of retro-futuristic hardware, exemplified by plenty of miniatures; not-quite-convincing special effects; a kick-ass, jazzy, retro-lounge soundtrack; a cast composed of actors who are either (a) not quite competent or (b) take the whole thing way too seriously; and, most of all, a monster that looks positively wackier than most - and for a daikaiju film, that's really saying something.

The quasi-government scientist people dub the monster 'Guilala.' Well, I can see the - huh?!! Riiight. A bunch of Japanese come up with a name for a creature that has two L's in it. But, whatever. (It sounded throughout the film like they were sayiing 'ooh la la' anyway - which is what I said when the American woman and the Japanese woman were in the communal shower together at the same time. Ba-zing!) Early on, Guilala is referred to as a giant space chicken. Plus, the substance that the scientists use to neutralize the monster is called 'Guilalanium.' Seriously - I'm not making any of this up.

Like Destroy All Monsters, X From Outer Space presents us with a shiny, hopeful, technologically cool future - the kind of future we could have had, maybe, if the human race had played our cards right. (At least, the space-technology stuff looks ultra-cool; probably due to budget constraints, mundane vehicles like automobiles and helicopters look the same, unfortunately.)

X From Outer Space (in Japanese, Uchu daikaiju Girara, or 'Great Space Monster Girara') was produced by Shochiku (which is why it sports a lower budget and no actors I recognize); it was released on March 25, 1967, in Japan. It did not get an American theatrical release, but was brought to television in 1968 by American International Pictures.

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