Friday, January 16, 2009

When Animals Attack: Space Amoeba(1970)

Many of my favorite Toho kaiju films are those which aren't about Godzilla and one of them, thankfully, was released by Mediablasters(under their "Tokyo Shock" label) back in March, 2006 to quality Region 1 DVD. I'm referring to Space Amoeba, also known as "Yog, Monster From Space". I first saw this movie on television when I was a kid, the AIP(American International Pictures) version with English dubbed language. Ah, the good old days...

The film's story: a rocket sent into space encounters a blue, glowing amoeba-like alien entity. The alien entity engulfs and presumably scans the rocket ship, then turns the vessel about, the Helios 7 returning to Earth and plunging into the ocean near an island. This island is currently being explored by a small group of people who are to assist a developer in turning it into a tourist attraction. The blue and glowing alien entity possesses and considerably enlarges three indigenous members of the local animal life in and around the island: Gezora, a giant squid that can also maneuver itself onto and around land, Ganime, a giant crustacean(lobster?), and Kamoebas, a giant rock turtle. The three kaiju-sized animals hash it out with the group of humans(lead by Akira Kubo), making their lives miserable in the process. Ganime and Kamoebas also battle each other near a volcano on the island. The alien entity finally possesses the seedy "Ogata"(played by Kenji Sahara). Through Ogata the aliens make known to the human cast their plans for world domination. Ogata, to his credit, redeems himself at the end of the film. (no other spoilers)

Observations: I like this movie. While not my favorite non-Godzilla kaiju film it is, I think, a solid entry in the Toho kaju film archives. It is fun and campy. It lacks for monster city destruction scenes but the battles between the humans and the various monster sized critters are entertaining. The score is also very good. Space Amoeba is presented by Mediablasters on DVD in it's original aspect ratio of 2:35.1 widescreen and in English subtitles. The print of the film looks great on this Region 1 disc. This movie should be in every giant monster movie fan's DVD collection.

The original Toho trailer for Space Amoeba:

The AIP trailer for "Yog Monster From Space":