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May 24, 2024 76 mins

In this episode of Weirdhouse Cinema, Rob and Joe discuss the 1966 sci-fi adventure film “Evil Brain from Outer Space,” an American release edited together from three late-50s installments of the Japanese “Super Giant” film series. 

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:13):
Hey, welcome to Weird House Cinema. This is Rob Lamb.

Speaker 3 (00:16):
And this is Joe McCormick. And today on Weird House Cinema,
we are going to be talking about the nineteen sixty
six Japanese sci fi adventure Evil Brain from Outer Space,
starring Kin Utsui as the intergalactic superhero Starman, or at
least that's what he's called in the English dub. In
the original, his name translates to super Giant, So Evil

(00:41):
Brain from Outer Space is a type of movie that
I thought would be interesting to talk about because I'm
not sure we have done one like this on Weird
House Cinema before. It is a movie that was made
almost entirely out of repurposed footage, which originally belonged to
several different episodes of a nine part Japanese serial called

(01:03):
Super Giant, which ran from nineteen fifty six to nineteen
fifty nine. I was trying to think if we'd done
another movie like this, and I don't think we have.
We well, the idea of some repurposed footage came up
in a few episodes, like when we covered Queen of Blood,
which was a nineteen sixty six AIP sci fi horror

(01:26):
production directed by Curtis Harrington. That was the one that
had John Saxon, Basil Rathbone, and Dennis Hopper, and it
was like where the plot was like astronauts go to
pick up a green vampire woman alien. I think she
was supposed to be like an ambassador from another alien species.
But they pick her up and bring her aboard the
ship and she just starts drinking their blood, you know,

(01:47):
blood of the crew, one by one.

Speaker 2 (01:49):
Yeah, it's a fun flick. I enjoyed that one.

Speaker 3 (01:51):
So Queen of Blood did have its own original story,
and the majority of the movie was new footage based
on the original script, but efigant chunks of the film,
primarily special effects shots, were just lifted wholesale from two
pre existing Soviet sci fi movies. One was called mechde
NEVSTRETCHU from nineteen sixty three and another was called Battle

(02:13):
Beyond the Sun from fifty nine. So Queen of Blood
was an original story, but they cut costs and padded
the movie out with special effects from other movies. And
I was thinking about it, I wonder if it's notable
that they selected these things from foreign movies, which American
audiences would be less likely to have seen before anyway,

(02:35):
So that was Queen of Blood. Evil Brain from Outer
Space is not like that. It's not like an original
story that just lifts a few special effects shots. Instead
as a movie as a single narrative, it is a
holy synthetic product made by editing together scenes from three
different episodes of the Super Giant TV serial, using voiceover

(02:58):
narration as a kind of duct tape that holds everything
together and tries to make sense of the narrative to
varying degrees of success.

Speaker 2 (03:06):
It's like if you were to take the first three
iron Man movies and then, in order to introduce iron
Man to a market that for some reason had not
experienced iron Man yet, you just take first three movies
and cut them into a single picture.

Speaker 3 (03:23):
Right, and you try to make it feel like it's
all the same story by having a narrator come in
every now and then and like, explain why the villain
you're looking at now looks nothing like the villain from
the previous scene, and they're like, right, they can disguise
themselves in any form, so now they look like this
you know now it's sky Pierce.

Speaker 2 (03:43):
Yeah, but instead of just I guess the idea here
would be too. It's like, imagine this Iron Man scenario,
but you still work things out so that Jeff Bridges
is the villain that he fights at the end of
the overall picture. So it's not just like sequential, like
let's speed it up and do part one, part two
and part three. No, we're gonna mix and match, yeah,
and create this broad sort of a plot that ties

(04:07):
everything together.

Speaker 3 (04:08):
And you know, as a result, I will say that
this movie is a really mixed bag in terms of
quality and how entertaining it is, even within the same
production elements. I don't know if you felt the same way, Rob,
but I felt like some of the sets and costumes
are ten out of ten, like the robot elders of

(04:29):
the Emerald Planet, some of the space monsters, especially the
bat mutant that we'll talk about later, those are awesome.
Other sets in costumes quite terrible. In fact, I'm not
even a big fan of Starman's costume. I could use
some work. It doesn't look the coolest. Same thing with
like some of the fight choreography, like some is incredibly fun. Again,

(04:50):
I think the best stuff is the bat mutant, like
very acrobatic fight scenes that are fun to watch, whereas
in other scenes the fights aren't. Some of the worst
I have seen on film, like the one where Starman
is punching the bandits in the woods.

Speaker 2 (05:07):
Yeah, I mean, it's essential to note that this movie
has very strong vibes of American nineteen thirties and nineteen
forties action serials like the really old Batman, the really
old Superman shorts. These were you know, these have been
riffed by the riff Tracks crew, for example, and they

(05:27):
are a lot of fun, but they are they're slow,
they're terrible there, and they were not intended to be
viewed you know, episode episode like one after another. This
was something you would go and go into the theater
every week. You'd watch a bunch of stuff and you
would watch, Hey, what's happening this week on Batman, what's
happening this week on the Phantom Creeps, that sort.

Speaker 3 (05:49):
Of thing, And so it produces also a sort of
rhythm of plot developments in this movie that's very repetitive. Like,
so some of the best in the movie is just
texture based. It's like, I love this costume. I love
this set. You know, the robot Elders again, the bat mutant.
That's all great stuff. But essentially the movie is just

(06:11):
a long series of seemingly unrelated but thematically repetitive sequences
where like, someone gets in peril, starman appears, starman beats
up the bad guys, bad guy runs away, the person
is saved, and then repeat again and again, with different
types of bad guys and people in peril.

Speaker 2 (06:31):
Yeah, but not significantly different types of bad guys in
some cases, because it's like, again, it's like the serial energy.
You have your mad scientist, you have your villains and hoods.
You know, these are just like staples of the genre
at that time, and these were, for the most part,
effects that were pretty easy to pull off.

Speaker 3 (06:49):
So I was trying to learn more about exactly how
this movie came together, and I was reading about it
in a book called Outer Limits, The Filmgoer's Guide to
the Great Science Fiction Film by a British film critic
named Howard Hughes. He seems to have written a lot
about spaghetti westerns, but this is a book about sci fi,
and I don't know if he's holding this up as

(07:09):
like the titular great science fiction films. It's more sort
of in the context of like great Japanese movies and
Godzilla Toho movies and stuff like that.

Speaker 2 (07:20):
Yeah, it's not understanding super Giant is a key figure
and understanding like the evolution of superhero and superhero type
figures in Japanese culture.

Speaker 3 (07:31):
Yeah. So this book is from twenty fourteen, and according
to Hughes, it goes like this. So, the original Super
Giant serial had nine chapters. It ran from fifty six
to fifty nine, and it was co directed by taruo Ishi,
Akira Mitsua, and kore Yoshi Akasaka. This was all at
the Shintoho studio. This was a studio that worked mid

(07:54):
century in Japan. It produced a number of things you
might have heard of. It made the famous Japanese he
old movie Jigoku in nineteen sixty one, just before it
went bankrupt.

Speaker 2 (08:04):
Yeah, I've seen Shintoho described as like the non union
offshoot of Tote.

Speaker 3 (08:10):
Yeah. So super Giant or Starman in the English version
is kind of like Superman. He wears tights And I
said it originally a cape in the notes here, but
it's not really a cape. He's got like these kind
of flaring things that come off of his sleeves and shoulders.
He has various superpowers. He has bulletproof, he can fly,

(08:30):
and so forth.

Speaker 2 (08:31):
Yeah, he has kind of like underarm wings to a
certain extent. Yes, Yeah, but he's also a robot, right,
so this kind of makes him really more like Marvel's
vision who wouldn't come along till nineteen sixty eight. And incidentally,
there's also a Marvel super villain named super Giant, but
this one is a female character and it's like a

(08:51):
telepathic parasite who serves Thanos.

Speaker 3 (08:54):
Okay, so no relation, unrelated. Yeah, that is a weird
thing that he is a robot, and will come back
to that later. So, this nine episode serial was apparently
purchased for syndication by Walter Manley Enterprises. I think we'll
get into Walter Manley in a bit when we do
the connections where it was re edited into four English

(09:17):
dubbed feature films that were meant to run on US
TV in the mid sixties, and Hughes writes that all
four movies begin the exact same way. We always see
these sort of starfish robots and the High Council of
robot elders of the Emerald Planet deciding that Earth is
in peril, and then they send Starman to Earth to

(09:39):
save it, and according to Hughes, in each case they
specify it's also to quote save Earth from contaminating the
universe with nuclear fallout. Each time we get introduced to
Starman and then we learn about his special gadget that
gives him his powers. It's called the globe Meter, which
it looks like a wristwatch, except instead of a clock
face on it, it has a an image of the Earth.

(10:01):
It's got a globe with the continents, and it gives
him three special powers, the ability to fly, the ability
to detect radiation, and the ability to speak any language.
Interesting selection of three things. But I guess he already
has some intrinsic powers like the wristwatch. He doesn't need
to make him bullet proof. He's intrinsically bulletproof.

Speaker 2 (10:23):
Right, and he's already an excellent hand to hand combatant.

Speaker 3 (10:27):
Yeah, that's right. So the four films cobbled together out
of the original nine episodes of the series go like this.
Hughes says, One is Atomic Rulers. This is a spy thriller,
in which Starman has to track down a secret nuclear device.
Hughes in the book says that some of the sets
and props in this movie actually anticipate villain layers that

(10:51):
would appear in later James Bond films, so that's kind
of interesting. One is called Invaders from Space. This is
where Starman fights the Salomon men of Koulaman, who exhale
radioactive gas and attack Earth with engineered viruses and sonic weapons.
Hughes mentions about this one that there is one villain

(11:12):
with a horrifying grin that resembles some depictions of the Joker,
and he also mentions there is a scene probably much
too scary for younger viewers, where children are menaced by
a witch from outer space. And he also mentions that
basically all of the Starman stories have children in the plots.
Maybe this is to make the stories more appealing to kids.

(11:34):
I do think about like the later Godzilla or basically
later Kaiju movies of all kinds that are often working
in kids.

Speaker 2 (11:42):
Yeah, yeah, I mean, gotta get some kids in the
adventure and make you feel like kids are interacting with
this wild sci fi world. By the way, I've looked
up Invaders from Space. I had to see what these
creatures look like. And these creatures look pretty awesome as well.
They are. They're hard to describe, a little bit like
an insect, a little bit like a a brain monster.

(12:05):
Ye know, it's a little different from anything I've seen before.

Speaker 3 (12:08):
It's an if they made it of the brain mutant
from This Island Earth and butterball cinobite. Do you see
it the glasses, Yeah, they're exactly the same.

Speaker 2 (12:20):
Yeah, oh man, and I looked up the witch. The
witch from this movie is also indeed quite terrifying and
has the kind of like the weird nose that we'll
get back to, like where it's a very like angular
artificial nose.

Speaker 3 (12:33):
Is it the same witch as the witch in Evil
Brain from Outer Space? Because Evil Brain also has a witch.

Speaker 2 (12:38):
I think they may have repurposed the nose, but otherwise different, different,
different colorization. All right, I just sent you an image
of this shoe. Yeah, different witch, possibly, same nose.

Speaker 3 (12:48):
Interesting, different witch. More, this witch looks like they put
more work into this witch than the witch in Evil Brain.

Speaker 2 (12:57):
I would say kappa esque in many respects.

Speaker 3 (13:00):
Yeah, a little turtally Yeah, Okay, so that's first two movies.
Third movie is called Attack from Space. This is where
some aliens called the Saphurians engage in further menacing of Earth.
You know, this time they're menacing Earth with a big
missile that is going to be launched from a space
station and Starman has to go up to their space
station and beat them all up. And then that gets

(13:23):
us to Evil Brain. So each of the previous three
films was made out of two episodes of Super Giant
edited together. The fourth movie, the one we're talking about today,
Evil Brain from Outer Space, was made from three episodes
of Super Giant, and Hughes says that this is easily
the wackiest of the series.

Speaker 2 (13:43):
This is the.

Speaker 3 (13:44):
One where Earth is menaced yet again, this time by
a brain in a suitcase. As well as radioactive Batman
who attack with weaponized germs. There are these aliens who
use throwing what he was called throwing weapons that resemble
cocktail sticks. They are kind of like toothpick darts. And
Hughes really calls out the overflowing abundance of weird villains

(14:08):
in this one as a special selling point. So I
don't think anybody out there really thinks that the the
Starman movies edited out of the Super Giant cereal are
like some are like the best movies ever made, but
they did kind of lay some groundwork and they they
provide a kind of inspiration for things to come. So

(14:30):
Hughes writes, quote Starman was dubbed in English by Bernard Gordon,
and at the end of Evil Brain, he returns to
the Emerald Planet. The seeds of many cinematropes, from Jharr
to Japanese gangster movies to star Wars can be found
in these refreshingly inventive yarns.

Speaker 2 (14:47):
Yeah, like I said, I think I read that Super
Giant was the first theatrical Japanese superhero. I think there's
some other caveats. There's another Golden Bat may have been
the first, and then there was another air that may
have been on TV but not in cinemas any way
you cut it though, like this is this is an
important figure in Japanese sci fi superhero pop culture, and

(15:09):
a lot of what comes after and is still emerging
ultimately has its roots in this picture, in this era.

Speaker 3 (15:18):
Yeah, so I have not seen the other three movies
cut together from Super Giant, but I will say that
Evil Brain is as wacky as advertised. Overall, it does
not disappoint, but it succeeds largely because of the wackiness
and strength of its best elements. There are parts of
this movie that drag. There are parts that just kind

(15:39):
of get confusing, where they're introducing more and more characters
and situations that don't really go anywhere, and it does
have a kind of repetitive structure of just like Peril
Starman Saves People repeat. And also, as I said earlier,
the element the individual film elements are of I think
widely varying quality, but overall it's a pretty fun ride.

Speaker 2 (16:03):
Yeah. I do want to add a caveat here that
I found it increasingly difficult to try and piece together
what was sourced from which film and which director. And
one of the challenges here is that the original movies,
as far as I can tell, have never been released
at least outside of Japan in their original formats, and

(16:25):
other streaming possibilities were not forthcoming either, So it's hard
to really go back and like sort of cross check
what we have in Evil Brain from outer Space with
actual super giant pictures. But I get the strong sense
that everything they really wanted to put out there for
this movie was in and I believe the seventh Super Giant,

(16:46):
the one with the awesome bat creatures, because these, in
my opinion, are the best parts of Evil Brain from
outer Space. Some of the other inserts really bogged things
down or confused matters. But I also noticed that Super
Giant Part seven only has a forty five minute run time,
And now that run time is certainly aokay with me.
I think we need more forty five minutes. I five films,

(17:08):
But I can see where distributors wanted more for a
you know, full blown theatrical presentation for the US market.

Speaker 3 (17:15):
Yeah, yeah, I as we've said on the show many times,
I embraced the ethic of the drive in movie. You know,
you can make a sixty three minute movie that's okay,
that counts as a movie to me.

Speaker 2 (17:26):
Again, I feel like there's there's a strong feeling of
nineteen thirties and forties action serials to this particular picture.
You know, in the combat and the costumes and even
in the pacings. You can you can play a game
of bingo with it, you know, hooded criminals, mad scientists,
punch ups. I was reminded a lot in a few

(17:49):
different ways. Of the nineteen thirty nine serial The Phantom
Creep starring Bella Lugosi, which is a wonderfully bonker's tale
of a mad scientist with like an invisibility device a big,
weird looking robot that is unfortunately four point five hours long,
spread across twelve chapters. So I've never made it through

(18:09):
all of that, and it's again simply not intended for
viewing outside of a weekly movie theater setting. However, in
a similar exercise to what we're talking about here, it
was later cut into a seventy eight minute film that
was released in nineteen forty nine. So that's one we
may come back to. But it's another case of taking
pre existing releases and then re editing it into a

(18:32):
different cinematic product.

Speaker 3 (18:34):
Oh yeah, so if we cover that on the show,
would be interesting to compare it to Evil Brain here.

Speaker 2 (18:38):
Yeah, Like, it may be silly, but it's also not
going to be four and a half hours long and
kind of drag in these in certain ways, and you know,
always lead up to some sort of cliffhanger, sometimes a
literal cliffhanger. Of course, that in the original format was
supposed to be consumed the next week and not immediately.

Speaker 3 (19:00):
It's interesting that this Phantom Creep said it is seventy
eight minutes, because Evil Brain is also seventy eight minutes.
I wonder if that's a coincidence and may yeah, may
have just been more or less the standard of the day.
I also want to say that it reminds me of
the Phantom Creeps because more than one character in this
film has strong Bello Legosi vibes, including our hero, like

(19:21):
I would see him walking the screen like, oh man,
he's really got He's got like this Bella look going on.
I've got a couple of screenshots in our outline where
he looks a lot like Bela Lagosi, certainly when he
wears like the suit and tie and the bowler hat. Yes, yeah,
and oh here's another selling point of this movie. I
hope you like hearing the word brain because they say

(19:42):
it approximately five to six times per minute of runtime.
There is so much talking about brains.

Speaker 2 (19:50):
I love it all right, Joe, what's your elevator pitch
for Evil Brain? From outer space?

Speaker 3 (19:55):
A brain inside a briefcase threatens Earth. Our only hope
is a man with the wristwatch that allows him to fly,
detect radiation, and speak any language.

Speaker 2 (20:04):
All right, Now, as far as I could tell, I
could not find a trailer for Evil Brain from outer space,
or any kind of a trailer for the super giant
films that are utilized to make it. So I think
instead we're just going to maybe have a little bit
of that opening narration from Evil Brain from outer space.

Speaker 4 (20:28):
All the planet seemar far within the moving galaxy, a
decontrolled robot assassinated the omnipotent Balasar was known to possess
the most brilliant mind in the universe. So powerful was
Balasa's genius that as he lay dying, his brain or
it built a mechanism which would keep it alive even
though his body was destroyed. And now Balazar's brain seeks

(20:49):
universal conquest. But here on the Emerald Planet, the highest
council in the market galaxy considers the terrible immediate menace
to the Solar System of Earth and to the planet Earth.
That'sa Blazar's brain leads the infiltration of Earth, preparing it
for the attack forces which will follow. That attack will
be with nuclear weapons, the flood of radioactivity which inevitably

(21:11):
will spill out into space is what primarily concerns these
Emerald planet creatures. High radioactivity. The Emerald creatures realize we're
poisoning even the distant breaches of outer space. As a result,
it is possible that in time other planets such as
this will become uninhabitable. The Council now is deciding what
must be done.

Speaker 2 (21:34):
Now, if you want to go out and watch Evil
Brain from Outer Space before proceeding with this episode, Luckily
for you, this one is widely available. You can rent
it or buy it on digital platforms. I think I
watched it on Prime. It has come out on disc
a number of times, including as part of Something Weird
videos Starman Volume one, Attack from Space, Evil Brain from

(21:56):
Outer Space, and Allied Vonn's Japanese Superheroes Starman three Pack again.
As far as I know, though, the films, the source films,
the original Super Giant films have never been released in
their original forms outside of Japan. And even then I
did a little bit of looking on Sometimes you can
find evidence of, like, you know, cool Japanese disc releases,

(22:19):
and I nothing was turning up there. So I would
love to hear from anyone out there who's more like
embedded in like the Japanese media world or films from
this era. If you have any additional insight on ways
to enjoy super Giant right.

Speaker 3 (22:33):
In, maybe it's like those Highlander two cuts you can
only get on laser disc.

Speaker 2 (22:38):
Yeah, all right, let's get into some of the people
behind this one. This is gonna be a little different
compared to other connections that we've looked at, because, on
one hand, a lot of the actors don't necessarily have

(22:58):
a lot of like deep connections that are really going
to tie into films that we've talked about, or the
vast majority of listeners would would be familiar with. I'm
gonna but we're gonna cover at least one of the
core actors, and I do want to mention like the
main directors, writer, and so forth. Again with the understanding

(23:19):
that this is a film cobbled together from pre existing films,
so we have like three directors to note here. Okay,
all right, First up, kore Yoshi Akasaka dates unknown, one
of the directors here, Japanese director with limited credits. It
seemed to exclusively work on Super Giant films. According to IMDb,

(23:39):
while TMDb this is the movie database another movie database
that we sometimes cite here. That one includes a TV
series and a couple of other late fifties film credits
he directed. My understanding is he directed Super Giant eight
from nineteen fifty nine. That's about a disfigured mad scientist
who turns his daughter into a witch. And then he

(24:01):
also directed Super Giant nine. This one concerns a Middle
Eastern prince and some sort of a plot regarding this
Middle Eastern prints.

Speaker 3 (24:09):
Oh okay, I recognize both of these plots from elements
within Evil Brain, but they're both sort of secondary elements.

Speaker 2 (24:16):
Next up, director Daruo Ishi born nineteen twenty four died
two thousand and five. Ishi is definitely the better known
of the directors credited here. He directed several Super Giant
films and shorts, and I think he did if I'm
correct on this one. Two three, three seems to have
potentially had bat like aliens in it as well. I

(24:38):
could be wrong on that, and then five and six.
So as for why he's credited here, I'm not entirely certain.
Like I'm not completely sure he directed one of the
core Super Giant films that is listed as being part
of this film.

Speaker 3 (24:54):
Well, wait, have we established which Super Giant films were
made into Evil Brain? Was it seven eight to nine?

Speaker 2 (25:00):
I thought it was seven eight to nine, But then
I'm not sure Ishi is credited on seven eight or nine,
So I'm confused. I will admit to my confusion on this, okay.
But Ishi definitely was involved, heavily involved in the Super
Giant franchise. And he's an interesting character to point out

(25:20):
because he went on to have a long career in
Japanese cinema credits, running from nineteen fifty seven through two
thousand and one, and these include a number of notable
Japanese exploitation films. In fact, he is sometimes known as
the godfather of jay'sploitation. His films include nineteen sixty eight
Showgun's Joy of Torture, sixty nine's Orgies of Edo and

(25:43):
Inferno of Torture, nineteen sixty nine's Horrors of Malformed Men,
and nineteen seventy three's Female Yakuza Tale. Now, not everything
he did seems to have been the kind of thing
you would classify as Jay's floitation, but he certainly made
a name for himself with it.

Speaker 3 (26:00):
Bite that I would be very clear that there's like
nothing in Evil Brain from Outer Space that feels especially
like adult or edgy. This feels like it is a
superhero adventure that is aimed towards like children.

Speaker 2 (26:14):
Yeah, that's absolutely right. There's nothing exploitive going on in
Super Giant, but that is where this director's career would
ultimately take him, at least on a number of his pictures.

Speaker 3 (26:23):
I mean, I guess it does have some kind of
scary themes, a lot of stuff about like germ warfare
and nuclear devices and stuff, but the tone of it
is very much aimed at kids.

Speaker 2 (26:34):
Yeah, I think some I've seen some commentators onlines, you know,
drawing connections saying like, Okay, you can look at it
later Ichi films, and maybe you can look back at
some of these super Giants and see some threads of like,
you know, some of his choices and stylistic choices, you know,
showing up to these earlier pictures. But yeah, all right,

(26:54):
so that's another director. And then we also have Akira Mitsua.
I don't have dates on this guy either, and he
is credited again as Akira Mitsuwa on this film, but
I've also seen him credited as Akira Miwa director of
Super Giant seven, I believe, which is the one with

(27:14):
the bat creatures.

Speaker 3 (27:16):
Okay, so we think maybe super Giant seven were not positive,
but that one is sort of the core of the
evil Brain from outer Space.

Speaker 2 (27:24):
Narrative, I think. So it's only forty five minutes long,
so it's patted out with other stuff. Yeah, definitely patted
out with the Middle Eastern plot. Definitely padded out with
the disfigured mad scientist and witch daughter plot. Yeah. And
this particular director, he seems to have only had a
handful of writing and directing credits from this time period,
but also was involved in some other genres aside from

(27:46):
just superhero fair Okay, okay. Then the writer is Kiro Miyagawa.
Birthdate apparently not public record, but died in two thousand
and eight, Japanese writer best known for krim in Bat,
the Blind Swordswoman from sixty nine, Super Giant fifty seven,
and Odoshi from nineteen sixty six, as well as nineteen

(28:08):
sixties Jigoku The Centers of Hell, which we referenced earlier,
which is probably their best known work internationally. All right, now,
dipping into the cast here, we do have to talk
about our star Ken Utsui playing Starman or super Giant,
whatever you want to call him. He is here to
save the day.

Speaker 3 (28:27):
Now, on one hand, I would say he is not
as expressive as some of the other members of the cast.
He's a little bit stiff. But also I wonder if
that's a deliberate choice. He's like, he's very handsome, and
you know, he looks very heroic in the scenes where
he's supposed to look heroic, but his line deliveries are
almost kind of robotic. But then again, he is a

(28:49):
robot from another alanet, so I guess that's what he's
going for.

Speaker 2 (28:53):
Yeah, he's not supposed to behave like a human being.
He's very stoic and also, as we've been referencing, he
gives strong, long Bell Lugosi vibes. I don't know if
I can completely explain it, but I look at him,
especially when he's in like full human costume with a suit,
and all I'm like, oh, it's Bell Agosi, Japanese Bell
Lagosi is here at save us. So Utsui was an

(29:14):
actor of stage, treen and TV who worked from the
nineteen fifties through the twenty tens. If I didn't throw
out his dates already. Sorry, I just blanked on this.
He lived nineteen thirty one through twenty fourteen. His first
credits go back to fifty three, and he actually has
a very small uncredited role in Akira kurosaw was seven
Samurai from nineteen fifty four. He's like apparently like a

(29:36):
samurai wandering through town and like the background in one scene.
He followed all this up with a supporting role in
the nineteen fifties Japanese pro wrestling movie. It would seem
I couldn't find out much about this, but it looked
like a like it's not like a high fantasy sort
of fair it's some sort of like a I guess,
a realistic pro wrestling film in the same way that
you had a lot of, you know, pro wrestling films

(29:59):
in the thirties forties in the US and so forth.
But the Super Giant film seemed to have been an
early big break for him with Shintoho before moving to
another studio and getting into more TV drama work, and
that apparently included a lot of detective genre work, which
makes sense. He looks very sharp in a suit, and
he started in the nineteen sixty three crime drama film

(30:21):
Black Report, and starred in the nineteen seventy five film
The Bullet Train alongside Ken Takakura and Sunny Chiva.

Speaker 3 (30:29):
I can see why they cast him as the bulletproof hero.
He looks like bullets would bounce right off of him.

Speaker 2 (30:34):
Yeah. Absolutely, Now I would just say, yeah, I really
enjoyed the rest of the cast as well. I'm not
going to go into detail about everybody, but just real quick,
I want to call out hiroshiy Asami, who plays Kuwata.
This is a character we encounter early on who's on
the run with a mysterious briefcase. I also liked all
the scientists mad or otherwise that we encounter, including Akira

(30:56):
Nakamura is doctor Sakurai, and then we also have doctor
Okawa played by Tomohiko Otani. But I'm gonna skim over
the rest of them. A lot of them have sort
of like you know, interlocking interconnected credits. Some of the
movies we've already referenced, But for the most part, we're
just gonna move on. I am gonna briefly cover a

(31:18):
couple other folks so we go. We mentioned Walter Manley.
Walter Manley was the Purdue is a producer on this.
He is the one who brought these films to America
and had them cobbled into this current form as Evil
Brain from Outer Space. He lived nineteen eighteen through nineteen
ninety six, and he did a lot of this sort
of thing, beginning with the US release of nineteen fifty

(31:39):
nine's Prince of Space. Ah, this one, Yeah, I don't know.
I don't think we've watched it together for the show,
but this is a super fun slice of Japanese sci
fi serial goodness with a like evil, laughing Birdman as
the villain.

Speaker 3 (31:53):
Yeah, I love Prince of Space.

Speaker 2 (31:55):
Then came the Super Giant Trilogy, if you want to
call it that, as well as a production credit on
the Italian nineteen sixty five film The Embalmer. I believe
this is another case of him involved in international releases
of various pictures. He was then involved in the US
release of Terror Beneath the Sea. He was involved in

(32:15):
the Antonio Margaretti space station films. These were the films
that led up to Kinji Fukusaku's The Green Slime in
nineteen sixty eight, which we have discussed on the show.
We did a whole episode about Green Slime.

Speaker 3 (32:29):
But the Green Slime of course, so that was a
Japanese production, but it was like an English film starring
English speaking actors.

Speaker 2 (32:38):
Right right. And then his last production credit was an
Italian war film, The War Devils in nineteen sixty nine,
And I couldn't find out any real information about what
happened to him after this, But this was this period
of activity in cinema. But it is an interesting scenario
to try and imagine. You know, nowadays, we're sort of

(32:58):
just so accustomed to various international pictures that are picked
up and distributed here in the States or in other
markets with a little or no changes, and we just
accept them for what they are. You know, we enjoy engage,
engaging with international cinema, and there may be some preferences
for you know, for for dub or subtitles and so forth,

(33:22):
but you know, we're all about it. But it's it's
interesting to imagine a time where someone's like, well, well,
we have a Japanese picture, how are we going to
release this to an American audience? Like at this point,
like there is so much loved, enthusiasm and appreciation for
for for Japanese cinema that you know, it's it's its
own product. You know, it's like we mean, it's a
known quantity and we know it's going to be successful.

(33:44):
But imagining a time where it's like, well, how do
we release this? I guess we've got to get an
American actor in there, we need to make King Kong win,
we have to make changes.

Speaker 3 (33:54):
Yeah, it's interesting that they thought that these couldn't just
be released as in their original serial form with like
an English dub. They needed to be edited into synthetic,
composite narratives with a longer run time.

Speaker 2 (34:09):
Yeah. Yeah, And I.

Speaker 3 (34:10):
Wonder if do you I wonder if that's like you
can imagine a lot of different reasonings behind that. And
I don't know what was operative here. Maybe it was
a question of like just pure business considerations about run
time or something. It's like, oh, we've got slots of
this time that we want to fill in TV programming
or something, So it could be something like that, or

(34:31):
or I wonder if it's just beliefs about cultural expectations,
like what kinds of run time and narrative structure and
length audiences would want to see. I don't know.

Speaker 2 (34:43):
Yeah, it does really feel like Green Slime is then
kind of a culmination of this where it's like, Okay,
we love so many of these elements in these Japanese films.
What if one of these Japanese film studios just made
a film for an international audience in an international market
using Western actors, you know. And then eventually, I guess

(35:03):
we get to the place where we realize, oh, you
don't even need that. You can just you can basically
just dub or subtitle the original product and audiences will
want it. Yeah, all right, And then finally I will
mention the music here, though I've also read that much
of the music from the original Super Giant films was
replaced with stock music here, so I'm not sure how

(35:24):
all this pans out. But Chume Watanabi, who lived nineteen
twenty five through two twenty twenty two, is credited. He
had a very long composing career, with such credits as
nineteen fifty eight's Black Cat Mansion, nineteen sixties Jigoku, and
nineteen sixty nine Yokai Monsters Colon along with ghosts. Oh.

Speaker 3 (35:45):
I just had to do a Google search to check
and see if that Yokai Monsters movie is one i'd
seen screenshots before, and I think it is that one
looks worth a look.

Speaker 2 (35:55):
Yeah, I have never seen any of these various older
Yokai film I have. I've seen Takashi Mike's like Later Day,
the Great Yokai War film, which is a reference to
all of those and is also not connected to some
of his more notorious works. So this is like a

(36:16):
family film that he did.

Speaker 3 (36:26):
Okay, you're ready to get into the plot.

Speaker 2 (36:29):
The plot or plots, everyone to look at it. Let's
dive into Evil Brain from outer Space Save Us super Giant.

Speaker 3 (36:35):
I see plots within plots, so the title in opening
credits run over what else shots about her space? And
even though this is probably unrealistic, I do like that
as we travel through space we see nearer stars moving
in the foreground at a different rate than the galaxies
in the background. Actually I say unrealistic, but I don't know.

(36:56):
Maybe that maybe it would work like that if you're
traveling really really fat. So there is a neat three
D effect to the outer space environment. Not always the case, obviously,
Sometimes it's just a two D static image. And I
like the three dnus here. So we see some different
spaceships flying around. I think It's funny that it's never

(37:18):
made clear that these spaceships have any connection to the plot.
But you know, one is like a classic mid century
sci fi rocket with the torpedo shape the aerodynamic fins
on the back end. Another one looks like an attachment
for a garden hose. And then the voice overstarts, and
we better make friends with this voiceover narrator because they're
going to be coming in a lot. In fact, I

(37:39):
will say, once the plot really gets going, you can
know in advance that things are about to like shift
to different subject matter from a different original serial that
is not connected to what you were just looking at.
Whenever the narrator starts talking, because the narration is used
to like patch the apps and say, now the aliens

(38:03):
could look like anyone and began robbing banks in order
to finance their evil. But anyway, here at the beginning,
the narrator is going to set things up for us,
So the narrator says, on the planet Zmar far within
the moving galaxy, a decontrolled robot assassinated the omnipotent Balazar,
who was known to possess the most brilliant mind in

(38:25):
the universe. So powerful was Balasar's genius that as he
lay dying, his brain ordered built a mechanism which would
keep it alive even though his body was destroyed, And
now Balazar's brain seeks universal conquest.

Speaker 2 (38:41):
I love this.

Speaker 3 (38:43):
That's good.

Speaker 2 (38:44):
Balasar's brain sounds like it could be a philosophical thought experiment. Ye,
but I did have Looking back on the plot now,
I am curious, like, why didn't Balisar have like a
robot body built for himself if he's so powerful, we
never see him use something like that. Instead, it's a suitcase.

Speaker 3 (39:02):
That is a good question. I wonder if it is
a suitcase to because they're repurposing shots from the Super
Giant show that were just about a suitcase that originally
had something else in it, or if it actually is
a brain in the suitcase in the original Cereal.

Speaker 2 (39:18):
That's a great point, yeah, because on the other hand,
I guess you could make an argument that, well, he's
trying to work secretly here on Earth, so he just
can't walk around in a giant robot body. He needs
to be inside of a suitcase, which everyone will mostly ignore.

Speaker 3 (39:31):
But they don't ignore it the only times we see
the suitcase in the movie. If people like chasing around
trying to get the suitcase.

Speaker 2 (39:37):
Right right, but it draws less attention compared to like
giant robot body.

Speaker 3 (39:41):
You're right about that, But I love how dentse The
details in this opening narration are we got the moving galaxy,
decontrolled robot assassination of omnipotent ballas, are as he lays
dying brain, genius brain ordered, built a mechanism keeps it
alive even though the body destroyed now wants to conquer
the universe. That's a lot.

Speaker 2 (40:03):
I love it.

Speaker 3 (40:04):
Then things get really good. We dissolve to the surface
of a planet which is studded with jagged triangular rocks,
and we zoom in on a meeting of beings, and
I love these beings so much. It sounds kind of
like a let down to say. My favorite part of
the movie is the introduction right here at the beginning,
but it is this is the best part of the

(40:26):
film to me. So it starts with these swaying bipedal
robots starfish in black, but then you also see robots
that look like Lord Bucket heead, but with like giant
light up eyeballs on the outside of their cranial cylinders.
There are some basic humanoid robots with other head shapes.
There's like a spike head, a dome head, a globe

(40:47):
lamp head, a miniature sombrero head, an insect obelisk with
a beak head, and others in similar variations. There's one
robot I really liked that it's in the back that
has like a charcoal starter chimney for a head, but
is wearing a bikini bottom on its body. It's like
its whole body is covered in what looked like striped

(41:08):
tights and then it's just got like a white bikini
bottom on. But also it has silver shoulder pads.

Speaker 2 (41:15):
Yeah. I love this sequence because despite obvious, you know, limitations,
they do create something that feels wonderfully and charmingly sci
fi Like. It has all the energy and charm of
like nineteen oh two is a trip to the moon,
but also it's kind of like that Star Wars Cantena
feel to everything. You know.

Speaker 3 (41:32):
Yeah, the variety of the forms.

Speaker 2 (41:34):
And I distinctly remember shots from this sequence in the
nineteen eighty two film. It came from Hollywood, which, if
you're not familiar with it, came from Hollywood. This was
made almost completely of old film clips, classic Hollywood and
also you know films like this that that were international.

(41:55):
We have narration skits and riffing, you know, kind of
like pre Mst three K movie riffing by Dan Aykroyd,
John Candy, Gilda Radner and Cheech and Chong, And it's
generally hard to find a physical release of it. Came
from Hollywood due to various licensing issues with the clip,
because sometimes it's trailer stuff, but other times it's clips.
I think the version I watched as a kid had

(42:16):
been taped off of an NBC broadcast, but it definitely
had multiple clips from Evil Brain from Outer Space.

Speaker 3 (42:23):
I think it came from Hollywood. As the source of
the joke about another brain movie, we watched the uh oh,
what's it called? The ones with the invisible brains attacking people,
and there's a scene where they become visible and one
out a face fiend without a face, yes, and one
of them says, we just sprayed for brains last week. Yeah,
but yeah, so it's funny. We didn't even think about

(42:46):
Evil Brain from Outer Space as being also another brain movie.
We've covered several brain movies, including the Canadian I Think
movie the Brain, in which a giant alien brain like
captures people like it brainwashes people through a TV program.
Then there was a Fiend Without a Face where just
like disembodied invisible brains attack a military installation. And yeah,

(43:09):
here's another one. This time it's a brain in a suitcase.

Speaker 2 (43:12):
Yeah, once again the brain is the threat, and this film,
the brain is like the ultimate organic enemy.

Speaker 3 (43:19):
So the narration continues. But here on the Emerald Planet,
the Highest Council in the Marquette Galaxy considers the terrible
immediate menace to the Solar System of Earth and to
the planet Earth itself. And we pan over and see
all of these beings the High Council, and then they're
sort of flanked by just other similar robots standing around.

(43:40):
And there's something I really want to convey about the
movement in this scene. Rob I think you'll know what
I'm talking about. There is this general pattern of slow,
rhythmic churning movements shared by most of the robots in
the High Council. So some of the elder robots at
the table are just pumping their arms alternately up and
down in this gentle, slow pattern, like they're being operated

(44:04):
by a common gear. You know, they're just going up
and down and up and down. And some of the robots,
like the the bipedal starfish robots, but the cone heads
are just swaying or softly twisting their bodies back and
forth like they are very very kind of softly dancing
along with a rhythm. And it creates this almost undersea

(44:27):
feeling to the scene, you know, like it's like you're
watching under sea footage of a fish just slowly moving
their pectoral fins or slowly flaring their gills in a rhythm.

Speaker 2 (44:38):
Yeah, it reminds me of some of these Silent era
pictures where we journey to the bottom of the ocean
and we see this kind of movement going on.

Speaker 3 (44:45):
So the narrator continues. Balazar's brain leads the infiltration of Earth,
preparing it for the attack forces which will follow, and
that attack will be with nuclear weapons. The flood of
radioactivity which inevi will spill out into space is what
primarily concerns these Emerald planet creatures. High radioactivity, the Emerald

(45:07):
creatures realize will soon poison even the distant reaches of
outer space. I think they're probably bigger radiation concerns when
it comes to space. You know, I think like stars
probably release more radiation than a planet that's contaminated would,
but I don't know.

Speaker 2 (45:25):
Still, the idea is there is already this feeling that
it's like flesh is the enemy. Yeah, flesh leads to warfare,
leads to radiation in nuclear war, and the answer is robots.
The answer is machines. We need like the emotionless serenity

(45:46):
and calm of machines to save us from ourselves.

Speaker 3 (45:49):
I want to come back to that in a minute.
So the narrator goes on to tell us that basically
they're running out of time and the High Council of
Elder Robots here is going to decide what must be done.
So they've learned that Balazar's brain is already on Earth
in secret, and it's commanding the Zimarian spies and saboteurs,
and the universe will not be safe unless they stop it.

(46:12):
So they agree on that there's only one way that
they can stop the brain, and the robots when they agree,
they all start raising their arms up in unison. So
instead of the swimming and alternate pumping of their arms
and swaying like before, now they're all like raising the roof,
and the narrator tells us the scientists of the Emerald

(46:33):
planet have invented one of the most ingenious mechanisms our
universe has ever seen, called a globe meter. It is
carried on the wrist. It enables the wearer to do
three things. To fly through space, to detect radioactivity, and
to speak and understand every language on planet Earth. And
then we get a real good shot of sort of

(46:55):
the chairperson or the chair Bot of the Council of
Robot Elders, who has this conical hit with scary looking
like eye holes in the head, almost like it's a helmet.
But I think this is supposed to be a robot
of some sort, I think. And then it's got a
crown on top with a globe light inside, and the
narrator says, finally, the Great Forum of the Emerald Hierarchy

(47:18):
reaches a decision. In order to save Earth from the
mass attack by the Zumerians, the Emerald men must once
more present their globe meter to one of their fellow
creatures and send him to Earth. And here we get
our first shot of Starman, standing posed ready among the
spires of rock. He's almost in one of those t
poses you see when like a video game character has

(47:40):
not started their animation yet. He's just standing there like
he's yet to be activated, and I guess that is
what's going on, So they activate him. We're told that
Starman is made of the strongest steel in the galaxy,
but he has the ability to disguise himself as an Earthling.
And then we see him like leap up into space
and to Earth like Superman body horizontal arms out ahead.

(48:04):
And here I want to come back to that theme
that we brought up about the Savior being machines. So
the Earth is threatened by an evil organic brain, literally
a disembodied mass of fatty neural tissue in a suitcase.
It wants to destroy the Earth and contaminate the universe
with radiation. And our only hope lies with this council

(48:27):
of benevolent swaying fish like robots who live on another
planet far away, and they must send us a defender.
But this defender is also a robot made out of steel,
which must hide its true steel form behind an organic
meat mask in order to be accepted as our defender.

Speaker 2 (48:47):
There's probably something to be said for the idea of
like salvation through industry here, but it does seem to
be the subtext here to the extent that Super Giant
has a subtext.

Speaker 3 (48:57):
So next we cut to Earth into the street of
a modern city in Japan, and we see a man
running for his life, clutching a suitcase, pursued by police.
And I don't know if this is even intentional, but
there is this kind of dystopian film noir energy to
the very first sets we see. This character running through
the city is dark and filled with shadows and crevices,

(49:19):
and they're interesting plays on like levels under levels, like
there are these pedestrian tunnels with shafts of light bisecting them,
elevated walkways over train tracks, you get canals of rushing
water cutting through the city in the dark. I would
not say in general that this movie it has very
like emotionally expressive sets, but these very first shots we

(49:43):
get of Earth kind of are that way. Interestingly.

Speaker 2 (49:46):
Yeah, yeah, there are strong noir vibes to the scene,
And honestly, this is one of the best sequences in
the film that doesn't have some sort of crazy sci
fi action going on.

Speaker 3 (49:55):
I agree because the actor who plays Kawada, the character
we see running here is quite good, like he's you know,
he really conveys the desperation of trying to save the
earth from the brain. So he's on the run from police,
and we're told by the narrator that the police believe
he is a bank robber, but in reality, what is
within the suitcase is the living brain of Balazar. And

(50:18):
the chase takes several minutes. He keeps like cleverly evading
the cops, but eventually he is cornered on some kind
of platform underneath a bridge and the police they go
to arrest him, and as they're arresting him, he drops
the suitcase into the river below and he's screaming, the brain.
If we don't catch it, we will all die. And
so the police haul him back to the station. They

(50:39):
discover he is not the bank robber, because the actual
bank robber was caught somewhere else with the money he stole.
But they can't let this guy go because, you know,
he ran from the police, so he must have done
something wrong. And he continues to insist that what was
in the suitcase was not stolen jewels, but a brain,
and they must go get the brain. At once. They

(51:00):
all perish and he insists it is not an animal brain.
It is a brain of a creature from outer space,
a creature that will rule the universe. And he tells
the whole story. He says, you know, I was working
as an assistant to doctor Kura Kawa, and the brain
appeared one day, brought from the planet Zemar. I don't
know exactly, like if it appeared in the mail or what.

(51:21):
But somehow doctor Kura Kawa received this brain. And he
says that doctor Courrikawa has been working under the brain's
evil power. So Kawa to here, just decided one day
to grab the brain and run and that's how we
got here. So he, you know, he's ranting about how
the brain must be destroyed or the earth is doomed.
But then the detective here at the police station gets

(51:42):
a phone call from doctor Courrikawa and he's like, oh, yes,
is my assistant ranting about brains again. Don't listen to anything,
he says, he's always making up things about brains. Please
just release him to me. And then we see on
the other side of the phone doctor Courakawa, who looks
pretty cool. He's an evil looking scientist with with like
a goateee and or I guess just the beard part

(52:05):
of a goateee. Uh, and and glasses and he uses
a wheelchair, and he has a giant bird of prey
that sits on his shoulder. Looks like a cross between
a hawk and an owl.

Speaker 2 (52:18):
Yeah, also kind of a cross between Dracula and Colonel Sanders.

Speaker 4 (52:22):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (52:23):
Yeah, yeah, because he's wearing this white suit. So it's
it's it's interating you instantly see this guy. You know
this is a villain. There's no question about this anyway.

Speaker 3 (52:31):
The police let Kaweda, the assistant, go free, and he
starts running around looking for the brain in a suitcase,
but he is quickly ambushed by brain goons and uh
so the narrator tells us as Kawalaa searches for the
precious suitcase and Balazar's brain orders his men to kill
the youth. Uh and these guys come out. You know,
they're menacing him again. There's so much menacing in this movie.

(52:53):
They menace him, and they're all wearing bandanas over the
lower half of their face like a you know, like
a cowboy, like a train robber, and they're coming at him.
But I was also thinking, wait, the brain can give
orders from the confines of a lost suitcase.

Speaker 2 (53:10):
The brain is super powerful. I mean we're gonna learn
in a bit the brain's like basically indestructible, right, So
it's like it's indestructible, it could command wherever it is.
So I guess that's why when we just saw the
suitcase fall in the river, it wasn't like, yes, maybe
the brain will die in the river. It's like, no,
the brain is free.

Speaker 3 (53:29):
Yeah, so the brain henchman. They attack Kwada. They drag
him out to the forest and then they start kicking
him on the ground, but like very listlessly. This is
not great fight choreography. It's almost like they're just nudging
him with their feet.

Speaker 2 (53:44):
It's gonna take a while, but yeah, but Kalada is
saved because here comes our heroes.

Speaker 3 (53:50):
Starman. Now, when he first shows up, he is not
in his Starman outfit. He just walks out of the
woods in a suit and tie and a bowler hat
looking yes you said this earlier, Rob but yes, he
looks like Bela Lugosi. Yeah, he's doing that kind of
intense face that like Legosi does when he's like, you know,
the do as I command you mode, and so Starman

(54:13):
starts beating up the bad guys and then at one
point does a little trick that will happen several times
in the movie where he ducks out of frame and
then immediately stands back up again into frame, and he
is suddenly in his Starman outfit. The bad guys shoot
him with guns, but the bullets bounce right off, and
then he beats them up and they run away into
the woods.

Speaker 2 (54:32):
Now, in general, throughout the film, and which is to say,
across at least three pictures, Starman's offense tends to include
a lot of chops, some hip tosses, a little sort
of Judo esque action there. Sometimes they'll do some backflips.
But I loved it because, as we've discussed before, you
can really date a film based on the contents of
the fight choreography. And while there's a broad evolution in

(54:55):
this area of filmmaking, it's often refreshing to go back
and experience the old trends and standards. So I love
a good karate chop, I love a good punch onto
a collapsing table and a bar. I'm a little tired
of NNA style takedowns and arm bars. So I'm all
for let's let's bring back more karate chops. Oh.

Speaker 3 (55:13):
Also we see another guy looking on, like we get
a view of him even though the characters don't see him.
There's some kind of hinchmen for the evil doctor Kurakawa
who's walking around on crutches, but we see later that
he also hits people with his crutches.

Speaker 2 (55:28):
Yeah, this is a credited at least in Evil Brain
from Outer Space as one legged man played by Shuji Kuwabi.

Speaker 3 (55:35):
For some reason, both of our main human villains here
are depicted with physical disabilities.

Speaker 2 (55:40):
Yeah, and they won't be the last. Just kind of
standard for the day.

Speaker 3 (55:45):
So Starman goes to help Kawada, and Kawada is like
the brain it will destroy earth unless we can use
science to stop it. And this is a theme that
you know, Starman can. He can do a beat down,
he can defend us from the bad guy's hinchman, but
our Man himself cannot defeat the brain. Only science can
defeat it.

Speaker 2 (56:04):
Hm.

Speaker 3 (56:05):
And after this there's some sort of debrief scene involving
characters who must pre exist from other Starman adventures or something.
It's like we're already supposed to know them. So Starman
is hanging out with Kawada, who seems to maybe be
new but also a kindly wise old scientist and named Sakarai.
And also a family. There's like a mother and a

(56:28):
couple of children, and again it's like it's like, we're
supposed to know who these people are. Did you get
that same feeling.

Speaker 2 (56:34):
Yeah, it really kind of felt like, Oh, we're going
to have a debriefing about a secret, deadly alien plot.
Let's let the kids set in. They need to hear this.

Speaker 3 (56:41):
There's a lot of just kids being in places in
this movie. Ye, there's a scene later where it's like
spy kids, like the kids infiltrate the bat the evil
bat Dude's base, not the bat mutants, but the guys
in the Batman suits.

Speaker 2 (56:54):
Yeah, they're like bat cultists that serve the aliens. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (56:58):
So in the scene, we learned that it was trying
to bring the brain to doctor Soakarai, and we learn
that it is indestructible and impervious to all poisons, and
if you blow it up, its cells will regenerate and
the brain will survive.

Speaker 2 (57:14):
So again, this is why you can't just let the
brain fall into the river, and your problems are going
to be sold.

Speaker 3 (57:18):
Yeah, that's right. So doctor Soakarai is the only man
who can save the earth. Kawada says, only you can
kill the brain, and then one of the children says,
that's right.

Speaker 2 (57:28):
It's like, doctor, you're always talking about your various ideas
for killing indestructible alien brains. We know you can do it.

Speaker 3 (57:35):
Also in the scene, we learn that mutations created by
the evil scientists of Ziemar have been attacking Earth. It's
already happening, and sometimes they can be disguised to look
exactly like humans. That's quite convenient, especially if you're editing
in episodes of a show where just humans are doing things.
But Starman explains that mutations can dig other forms. He says,

(57:57):
quote a lot of them can be invisible and take
forms we can't even imagine. They await orders from the brain.
By the way, Starman is back in suit and time mode.
Now he's just sitting with the family here in their
living room wearing a suit and tie, and before Starman leaves,
he gives the two children his signaler and says that
if they throw it, he will appear to help them,

(58:18):
and then he says, well, children, now I'll try to
stop the brain. So we're off to the races. This
is sort of the setup of the movie. Starman has
promised to stop the brain. Sakarai and his lab will
be hard at work studying ways to destroy the brain
with science, and the Xi Mariyans will be trying out
various ways to attack Earth with mutations. Now I figure

(58:40):
at this point I'm going to stop doing a scene
by scene recap because some parts of this movie, as
we've said, just really get They really become water logged
with new characters and locations and premises that don't always
really go anywhere. So from here I think maybe we
should just focus on some of the highlights. And for me,
one of the main highlights of the movie is the

(59:03):
bat Mutants. The bat mutant attacks.

Speaker 2 (59:06):
Absolutely, these this guy or these guys are amazing.

Speaker 3 (59:10):
Yes, it starts, I think as one guy or I
don't know, it's unclear how many of them there are
at first, I guess, but we get that classic editing
style of like showing a disaster that's just like cutting
together different images, so we see like a train chugging
along the tracks, and then a flash of some kind
of monster mask we will see in more detail later,

(59:31):
and then a human face going like ah, And then
we see a model train derailing, and then repeat this
with other boats and vehicles and infrastructure, and then we
see like people in hospital beds saying like the mutant,
the monster somewhere. Also in this section with the bat
mutant attacks, Kawaeda tracks down the bad scientists Cora Kawa

(59:54):
and his Hinchman, and they go into a secret base
full of zee maarians. Except this is where they're all
dres like Batman. You know, they don't have like the
bat ears on their hoods, but otherwise they're pretty close.
They've got black tights, hoods, utility belts, and a light
colored symbol on their chest that does look vaguely bat like.
It's basically like a bat wing shape with a skull

(01:00:17):
on top.

Speaker 2 (01:00:17):
Yeah, and they definitely have cowls going on here. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:00:20):
Yeah. Anyway, later we're with Sakarai. He's working late at
night in his office on the formula to kill the brain,
when suddenly he senses a being, a presence, and there's
actually a shot here that's kind of spooky. It's like
you see darkness and then suddenly just eyes appear. To
quote Rocky ericson eyes stare through the darkness with no form,

(01:00:41):
and then the form materializes, and here it is, in
its full glory, the bat mutation. And I love this creature.
So it's a bipedal figure with its skin covered in
branching exposed veins and arteries, with three large clawed fingers
on each hand breathing out visible clouds of radioactive gas.

(01:01:05):
The crown of its skull is just a wrinkly exposed cerebrum,
so it's just brain head. And then behind the cerebrum
it has kind of a halo, like a golden halo
in the shape of bat ears pasted to its head.
It has a bat like face, pointed ears and huge fangs.
And then also it has a giant eyeball covering its

(01:01:28):
lower stomach. I love this mutation. My heart beats for him.

Speaker 2 (01:01:32):
Yeah. Words cannot express how wonderful every detail of this
creature is. So it's it's like a cross between slim
good body and a Buddhist grimlin, you know, like there's
like it has this kind of crown that looks like
you see in Buddhist iconography. Yeah, but Yeah, I love
everything about this costume, right down to the tights. The
radioactive gas is amazing. The creature also moves in a

(01:01:54):
fashion that feels very fluid and dance like, which can
certainly generate laughs. But also it does give the Bat
Mutant a distinct physical language in and out of these
fight sequences. The encounter with this creature was prominently featured
in it came from Hollywood.

Speaker 3 (01:02:10):
I yeah, and I can see why I love this creature.
It looks great. It's I mean, it looks funny, but
it also is just an impressive costume. It's so good,
and it tries to attack Saker. I of course, you know,
it's got to stop him from creating the formula to
kill the brain. But what happens. Of course Starman intervenes

(01:02:31):
to save the scientist, and this leads to a big
fight slash chase sequence where Starman and the Bat Mutant
are running all over the place fighting. They eventually end
up on a bridge at a seaport, and at the
end of this whole fight, the mutation seemingly like grows
larger and then divides in half into two mutations and
flies away.

Speaker 2 (01:02:52):
Yeah. I love the part where they both dive out
the window. Especially the whole sequence here is just evil
brain from outer space that it's absolute best know if
you're watching it for yourself and at least pressed through
this sequence because it's worth it.

Speaker 3 (01:03:06):
There's one part in here where they tell us that
one slash of the mutant's solid cobalt nails could be
the end of Starman, which is funny because it's that's
really the only time I recall, we get an indication
that Starman is in danger, and it still doesn't feel
like he's in danger. I would offer this as a
major criticism of the Starman stories. Here, it never feels

(01:03:29):
like Starman is in danger. There's never any moment where
you're like, oh no, will he win. It's just like
his he is indestructible, and his victory feels absolutely inevitable.

Speaker 2 (01:03:40):
Yeah, And I guess we have to remind ourselves that again,
this is for kids. You know, this is maybe a
film where you don't want it to seem like your
hero is in doubt because that's not what the kids want.
And I guess so, you know, I mean, when my
son was younger, I remember that was a real challenge
to getting him into films and TV shows that were

(01:04:01):
very much age appropriate but had that kind of risk
involved in them, like, oh no, something bad might happen,
And he wasn't at the point yet where he understood
that those kind of things are not going to happen
in a children's movie. You know that it's gonna be okay,
because that's how stories like this work. So yeah, that

(01:04:21):
might have been part of the design of it. But
I also really like the idea that these are cobalt
nails and that's what makes them dead.

Speaker 3 (01:04:36):
Let's see, now, there's another sequence that spans a while
in the middle of the movie that are like the
cocktail stick murders as Hughes was talking about, or I
was thinking of them as like thinking of them as
toothpick darts. So the narrator tells us that the multiplying
zi Marian mutations come in from all parts of the world,

(01:04:57):
and doctor Sakarai and his assistants are there's still work
round the clock to find the formula that can destroy
the brain. We see them doing science, fiddling with tubes
and all that. But then the narrator says, already many
of the mutants disguised as human beings walk the streets
of earth cities to pay for their food and clothing.
They frequently conduct daring robberies, such as the one now

(01:05:20):
being carried out.

Speaker 2 (01:05:21):
Yeah, I legit, laughed out loud at this, imagining these
naked alien mutants whose first order of business is just
to steal food and clothing.

Speaker 4 (01:05:30):
You know.

Speaker 2 (01:05:30):
It's like they're walking into business and saying, I need
you close your boots and your bentle box.

Speaker 3 (01:05:36):
Yeah. Yeah, we see them robbing a jewelry store and
there are kids in the jewelry store for some reason.

Speaker 2 (01:05:43):
Why are they there? I get for mom? I don't know.

Speaker 3 (01:05:46):
Yeah, but these like shady looking guys in trench coats
come in, so I guess they've already acquired clothing. They're
just like, yeah, they're kind of creepy looking. They got
the trench coats and the hats, and they throw some
kind of dart at the shopkeeper and she collapses on
the floor, and then the creeps run out with a
bunch of jewels and so the there's Oh and I

(01:06:07):
also laughed out loud at the police meeting after this,
where they discuss how the thieves cannot be stopped with weapons,
so they need to capture one and study it. And
they say, so, let's watch all the big jewelry stores.
And so later we see more of the aliens with
the darts doing things like they throw a dart at
an Earth scientist who's carrying defense plans and they use

(01:06:29):
that to steal the defense plans. And then the children
are in peril for some reason, Like we see children
coming home from a neighbor's birthday party. The narrator tells
us and they cross paths with the trench coat mutants
in disguise.

Speaker 2 (01:06:43):
Yeah, but they have their papers in order. Though. The
children are like, we don't trust you, your sus and
they're like, but look at our documentation and they're like, oh, okay, okay.

Speaker 3 (01:06:52):
And then the detective at this there's this whole weird
subplot with like a fake hospital that is actually run
by a aliens and like humans get sent to the
fake hospital and then they disappear.

Speaker 2 (01:07:05):
Yeah, this is the whole section that I struggled to
pay attention to, Like where are the bat mutants? Where
you just had this awesome sequence and now we're just
robbing jewelry stores.

Speaker 3 (01:07:17):
Yeah, robbing jewelry stores, going to a fake alien hospital.
I mean that sounds like actually, now that I say it,
like that, the fake alien.

Speaker 2 (01:07:25):
Hospital, it sounds neat.

Speaker 3 (01:07:26):
Yeah, it sounds like it could be cool. But I
thought this part was fairly boring. But it does involve
a kid, Like a kid going to the hospital and
then infiltrating a secret mutant bass Like, the kid sneaks
in and starts like looking at the guys. I've got
a screenshot actually for you here Rob where he's like

(01:07:47):
looking in on this meeting of all the guys in
the Batman suits. And then the kid is caught. They're like, look,
it's an Earthling and the z Marians threaten him. But
then of course Starman comes to the rescue. The narrator
kind of has to tell us what's going on here
because it's like, what is this base again? But Starman
saves the day, drives away all the Batman Again. These

(01:08:09):
are different from the Batan mutants. These are just the
dudes in the suits.

Speaker 2 (01:08:12):
Right, These are just henchmen. So a big old battle
with henchmen, lots of chops, lots of hyptos, is that
sort of thing.

Speaker 3 (01:08:19):
There's a whole other plot in the middle where the
Zi Mariians want to kill Earth leaders, so they stage
an attack on a prince who's getting off a plane.
But then the attack is foiled because the prince is
not the prince. It's actually it's actually Starman in disguise,
and he takes off his disguise and he's like haha,
and then the bad guys are like, if you stop me,

(01:08:41):
I will throw this nuclear grenade, and then he does,
but then Starman just beats up the bad guys.

Speaker 2 (01:08:47):
Yeah. I think all of this is from that Super
Giant film with the Middle Eastern prince plot, and it
does not seem at all interesting.

Speaker 3 (01:08:55):
Then there's the thing about how the z Mariians attack
people indiscriminately. There's a scene where we see kids at
a carnival with a witch and the kids are well,
not the kids, actually the like kid's mother I think,
is threatened by the witch. And then the witch like
the witch goes around appearing randomly in places and scaring people,
like ladies look at her and they faint.

Speaker 2 (01:09:16):
Yeah, this is another witch character with that nice prominent
like Japanese witch nose or Kappa nose. She's very suspicious looking,
but is also also feels like a step down from
awesome bat mutants.

Speaker 3 (01:09:31):
Yeah, and then we so then we go to another
plot where there's like an Earth scientist who is betraying
our planet, who is delivering secrets to doctor Kurakawa, and
we learn he is creating germs to attack Earth with.
And he like goes and looks at this glass, you know,
bell jar thing, and inside it is this throbbing mass

(01:09:51):
of tissue, and he says, you are the original germ.
All the others are from you. You are the one
that made them. It's kind of cool, but it doesn't
that also doesn't really go anywhere.

Speaker 2 (01:10:03):
I think it would make a great Valentine's Stay card though,
even the original germ, all the others made are made
from you. You are the one that made them.

Speaker 3 (01:10:10):
So Starman's got to find and destroy the laboratories that
make the mutants and the evil germs. You know, he does.
At some point somehow the germ turns into the Witch.
Wasn't sure exactly what was going on there, but like
the evil scientist stares at this throbbing mass of the
original germ in the jar, and then it turns into
the witch we saw from earlier. And then the scientist

(01:10:32):
sends the Witch to kill Starman, and she like tries
to scratch him with her nails and they have a
fight scene, but Starman is stronger. Starman does a chop
on the Witch and like hits her in the back
with his chop and then she explodes, and then the
original germ evaporates from its jar, and then we come
to sort of the final showdown part. There's the return

(01:10:52):
of the Bat Mutant where world leaders are attacked yet again.
They're like just gathered in a kind of living room
somewhere and the Bat Mutant shows up and starts attacking them,
slashing at cops with his cobalt cobalt nails, and then
Starman shows up to save the day. There is another
fight scene. Starman follows the mutant to the headquarters of

(01:11:15):
the zie Maarians on the Earth and beats all those
guys up, fights the bat Mutant once again, and oh no,
our beloved Bat Mutant is defeated. It lies down on
the ground and then melts and what's left behind is
some kind of like slime mold looking massive tissue.

Speaker 2 (01:11:32):
It's a solid I would say Grimlins esque melt scene,
you know that kind of like everything's reduced to kind
of a slightly like pulpating mass of slimy tissue.

Speaker 3 (01:11:42):
Yeah, and then I have a laugh out loud moment
here where after the villain is defeated, all of the
heroes and the good characters like run into the room
at the same time, and they find Balazar's brain. It
is a brain and a jar. In fact, it looks
a lot like the massive tissue that we were told
earlier was the original germ.

Speaker 2 (01:12:03):
Yeah, confusingly so.

Speaker 3 (01:12:04):
Yeah. But they go up to it and I guess
this is supposed to be the evil brain from outer space.
And doctor Soakarai has figured out the formula to kill
the brain, so he goes up and he pours acid
over Balazar's brain and they're like, uh, it's dead. Success.

Speaker 2 (01:12:20):
Yeah, but the poor red bull on the brain destroy
it and save the.

Speaker 3 (01:12:24):
World, and Starman says, you'll be safe, children z Marians
will never come here again, and then he flies back
to the Emerald planet and that's just the end.

Speaker 2 (01:12:34):
There you go, World saved. Thank you, super Giant aka Starman,
thank you for saving our world again.

Speaker 3 (01:12:41):
It's interesting to imagine, like the the editing and adaptation process,
like when you look at the final product here, Why
did people think that this would be a better thing
to release than just like Super Giant episode seven with
English stubbing.

Speaker 2 (01:12:57):
Yeah, like the whole the whole mission is weird here, right, Like,
or if you were gonna there are other ways you
could have potentially paded out the bat Mutant episode, you know,
get it up to a solid hour, But I don't know,
maybe those weren't cheap enough, and they're like, well, we
have the rights to all of them, let's you use them.
But then you also have this weird scenario, and I
guess you see this like literally all the time in film,

(01:13:21):
where on one hand, there is a business decision that
has been made, all right, cobble these together into one film,
But then that leaves you with the creative mission make
something watchable by combining three different films together. And they
clearly put some work into it. It's not, you know,
completely sloppy. Somebody had to figure out how to piece
these together, what kind of narration to stitch everything together with,

(01:13:43):
And it's admirable that it makes as much sense as
it does. Again, coming back imagining ourselves having to potentially
carry out the same exercise using like the first three
Iron Man films, or the first three Alien movies or something.

Speaker 3 (01:13:57):
I can just imagine. Whoever it was, came up with
the idea that the narrator should say, now, remember, the
aliens can look like anything and anyone. Yeah, so it's
not a problem that these are just earthlings doing these crimes. Yeah, okay,
does that wrap it up for Evil Brain from Outer Space?

Speaker 2 (01:14:16):
I think it does. Yeah. Like I say, I part
of me would really love to see that at least
one of these super giant films in its original format.
I don't know, maybe I'm i'm my eyes are bigger
than my stomach on this this uh this request, but
I would I would be interested to see one in
its original format.

Speaker 3 (01:14:33):
Definitely, the Bat Mutant. I would also be interested to
see the original arc of the Witch.

Speaker 2 (01:14:38):
Yeah, yeah, what's she up to? Or well, you know
some of these other ones that weren't directly covered in
Evil Brain from Outer Space that also had some neat creatures.

Speaker 3 (01:14:46):
Yeah, less so the tooth pick guys and the.

Speaker 2 (01:14:50):
The nudging in the woods Yeah yeah, and all that.
But yeah, there's a lot of great creativity thrown into this.
It's it's worth it's worth checking out. This is one
that you can set down and pay those attention to,
or just have on in the background. There's a lot
of cool stuff. Throw some music on top of it
and have a good time.

Speaker 3 (01:15:06):
Agree.

Speaker 2 (01:15:06):
Yeah, all right, Well, we're going to close the book
here on Evil Brain from Outer Space. But we'd love
to hear from you if you have thoughts on this
particular film, other exercises in editing and stitching together pre
existing cinematic properties. If you can think of other great examples,
write in. We would love to hear from you. We'd

(01:15:27):
love to discuss these and we may end up discussing
them on future episodes of Listener Mail, which airs on Mondays.
Our core science and culture episodes of Stuff to Blow
your Mind here on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wednesdays is a
short form episode, and on Fridays we do Weird House Cinema.
That's our time to set aside most serious concerns and
just talk about a weird film. If you want to
see a list of all the movies we've covered so far,

(01:15:48):
and sometimes a peek ahead at what's next, go to
letterbox dot com. It's l E T T E R
B O x D dot com. You'll find our username
there we are Weird House, and there is the list
look at all movies. It's a site to behold and
if you want to help out the show, We'll just
always remind you. One of the best things you can do.
Rate and review wherever you can do it, and make

(01:16:09):
sure that you are subscribed and receiving your downloads, especially
if you use Apple, if you use Apple Podcasts and
so forth, but wherever you go, yeah, just make sure
that you're signed up receiving those downloads. That helps keep
the show alive.

Speaker 3 (01:16:21):
Huge thanks as always to our excellent audio producer JJ Posway.
If you would like to get in touch with us
with feedback on this episode or any other, to suggest
a topic for the future, or just to say hello,
you can email us at contact at stuff to Blow
your Mind dot com.

Speaker 1 (01:16:44):
Stuff to Blow Your Mind is production of iHeartRadio. For
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