The Mysterians (1957) - Ishiro Honda

GOOD SCI-FI B-MOVIE 60/100

Director: Ishirô Honda
Writers: Takeshi Kimura, Jôjirô Okami
Stars: Kenji Sahara, Yumi Shirakawa, Momoko Kôchi
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Gross USA: $975,000
Production Co: Toho Company
Runtime: 89 min
Sound Mix: Perspecta Stereo (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Color: Color (Eastmancolor)

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The Mysterians is a Japanese science-fiction film directed by Ishiro Honda. It was produced and released by Toho Pictures in 1957, following the success of Rodan in ‘56. This is a different type of tokusatsu that touches various elements of the genre, but stays more faithful to traditional sci-fi. Also, this film was made using TohoScope, a derivative of CinemaScope which gave the film a wide and vivid picture.  

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Strange seismic activity, accompanied by random forest fires have been occurring near Mount Fuji. An Astrophysicist named Ryoichi Shiraishi is visiting the area, and begins investigating the strange happenings. After an earthquake devastates a town near Fuji, the government goes into action and begins looking around. This leads to the discovery of a giant killer robot, Moguera. Who is nesting in a nearby mountainside. Also, strange Aliens emerge from outer-space seeking refuge to rebuild their race and breed with our earth women.

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Director Ishiro Honda had wanted to make a movie that ignored the Cold War, which was currently on-going, and focused more on world peace. A film that showed the world fighting back as a whole, against an evil alien force. That message comes through clearly in the film, as the Japanese military wastes no time in attacking the war-mongering extra-terrestrial invaders.

These battles have incredible effects for 1957. Provided by effects coordinator, Eiji Tsuburaya, marking the first collaboration between Honda and himself. I love the use of these incredibly detailed miniatures. I’ve said it in other reviews. Honda does a fantastic job of working with them. His ability to film at that scale is top-tier. And he uses is throughout his career in science-fiction. However, it’s best achieved in his first tokusatsu film, Godzilla.

I really liked The Mysterians, and found that something a little different, feels pretty good. Toho was on a roll with the Godzilla franchise, and Rodan. The Mysterians is clearly something different. Sure, it has the military fighting a giant robot that looks kinda’ like a Godzilla. But this story focuses on the world, coming together to fight a menace that threatens our way of life. The threat feels more grand, more epic. All in a cheap little package that must have wowed audiences back in the fifties. I recommend this movie to fans of the old drive-in type horror movies. The Mysterians has a lot of cheesy moments that you and your friends are guaranteed to get a few chuckles out of.

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