Space Amoeba (1970)
Aka: Yog, the Monster from Space
Directed by Ishirō Honda
Produced by Fumio Tanaka, Tomoyuki Tanaka
Music by Akira Ifukube
Here’s a lighter styled Toho Kaiju film concerning an undeveloped island in the So. Pacific. It’s one that borrows a bit from Japanese mythology using some common archetypes, the Squid or Cuttlefish, the Crab and the Turtle. It also grabs a little from the many Toho films that came before it and sloshes them around for a new tale.
When Japan’s Jupiter explorer crashes back to earth it brings back a space amoeba which takes over a Cuttlefish and causes Gigantism in the local creatures. A group of investigators which includes, a vacation resort developer, the comrade of a different missing developer, and a pro-photographer looking for the crashed Jupiter ship, land on the native island. The island natives warn that outsiders not paying homage to the Gods and using the island for their own gain will be responsible for the punishment.
The strangers enter the village and are immediately surrounded. They meet the tribal shaman, a friendly chap who greets them with, “Die! Friends of the devil!” Soon the giant cuttlefish attacks the village and kills (Mr. friendly) the Shaman. The village natives now want to help the strangers, offering them guns and gasoline. What a great place! They must’ve thought the intruders were Americans, lol. So, they figure out the amoeba uses radar waves to control the giant creatures. They block the signal and the creatures fight each other until a volcano erupts and swallows them in lava. Now they can open the resort and the natives can work for the man!
This film is nothing more than silly fun. Gezora, the cuttlefish/squid looking creature is an amusing muppet-ish thing to look at. The monsters smash some village huts and do some light battle. Yukiko Kobayashi runs around in native wear for some eye candy and there’s some hokey science explanations to amuse those with a sense of humor. I wouldn’t go out of your way to see this, but if you have nothing to watch on a lazy afternoon it could be entertaining. The music is kinda’ funky, 60’s, cool and the sunshine and flowery island scenery is a change from the gloomy world of Godzilla films. It almost seemed like they made this film just to send the crew and actors on a semi-vacation to a nice island habitat with sun-shining atmosphere.
A silly disjointed Toho Kaiju film probably only enjoyable to completists in the genre.
I give it 2.2 floppy fish cakes on the giant monster mash-up fish-food pate’ scale.