Evil Brain from Outer Space (1964):
“THRILL at an hour and eighteen minutes of man junk in leotards!”
February is traditionally a dreary month. The time of year that makes me question whether getting up in the morning is worth it, whether I will ever see the sun again, or why even though it is the shortest month of the year, it seems to drag for an eternity of gray, gloomy, cold hell. This February, I’ve taken a different tack to dealing with the horror that is February. That is, I’ve decided to put it in perspective by watching as many appalling movies as possible. I’m thinking that if I compound the horror I will somehow negate it. It’s like math and adding negative numbers or some bullshit. I have no idea, I promptly forgot math the second someone gave me a calculator. I, however, have not forgotten my duty to CatC and its, perhaps, non-existent audience. Have I driven you all away yet? No. Jesus, you people are almost as masochistic as I am. Well, let’s see if we can fix that with today’s flick, 1964’s Japanese Sci-Fi epic starring the superhero Starman: “Evil Brain from Outer Space.” I’ve had some lovely experiences with Japanese films before, if you’ll recall my past torture sessions: Warning from Space (1956) and Gammera the Invincible (1966). They are about to be added to, with this next addition sure to melt your brains and make your accelerator stick at unsafe speeds!
Oh boy, this is going to be a good one. It’s looking already like it will be The Prince of Space‘s retarded younger brother. If you’ve seen this movie you’ll know exactly what I mean, and are likely in the process of hitting “Home” on your browser. I understand. Fly, you fools, fly! I, however, must do battle with this Balrog of a movie. Also, I promise never to use Lord of the Rings lines ever again to describe my review process. Anyway, the Evil Brain from Outer Space opens up as most films do, with a credits sequence. Of course, this one is narrated, to fill us in on all the complex plot details of the finely-woven tapestry of a movie we are about to witness.
What we get is the story of an assassinated leader who had his brain preserved even though his body died. Using his massive brainpower he managed to save his brain even as he lay dying from wounds inflicted by a “De-regulated robot” he was able to construct a device to save his mind. How he did this without hands, remains a mystery. Bitter and super-intelligent, the brain now wishes to control the galaxy and decides to take over Earth. His council of fellow aliens/robots/shit costumed co-stars meet on the “Emerald Planet in the Marpat Galaxy” to discuss how to best control the Earth. They discuss how to infiltrate Earth using the brain guy and prepare an invasion army to follow. Also, half the council look like Cuisinarts with various attachments for heads.
The aliens are going to use nuclear weapons to destroy the planet and…wait a minute…is that one of the Starmen from Warning from Space lurking among the invasion council? Can it be that every Japanese sci-fi movie is little more than the recycled cobbling together of all its predecessors? Have they no shame? This council in its entirety is little more than an assemblage of stupid costumes recycled from past movies or made from kitchen appliances. Suddenly this movie holds some promise for entertainment. Apparently this council is worried that radiation from the nuclear blasts will spill out into space and…well, I’m not sure what else. It’s not very clear, all we have are a bunch of aliens (or are they robots?) sitting flapping around at a semi-circular table as the camera pans back anf forth over them hypnotically.
So, apparently the alien council are not actually bad guys? Oh, I get it. It’s one of those alien movies where the two different groups of aliens use Earth to wage their proxy wars of oppression against one another under the guise of “Saving Earth” from the other. Honestly, I’d rather just be destroyed by the brain guy than accept help from this alien council. They look like the kind of alien council a kid would invent at age 6. You know, the kind with stupid hats. Also, the number of giant starfish people has jumped from one to four in about three seconds flat. Either they’re breeding, or someone is going around cutting them in half just to be a dick. Whatever it is, this council of starmen, anthropomorphic chess pieces, and toaster ovens with bodies has elected to send to Earth a man armed with a special watch that allows him to do three things: (1) Fly through space. (2) Have super-strength. And…
(3) Have a small, penis-like protrusion coming out of his laytex jumpsuit. Yes, this is the Emerald Council’s awe-inspiring hero! The Starman! He’s basically a proto-teletubby. You know, like the one that also has a penis-like thing on its head. So too does the Starman harness the power of the phallus. Does this mean that the Starwoman has a Georgia O’Keeffe painting on her head? I fear that question will never be answered because, for Evil Brain from Space we are totally and completely focused on one kind of sexual organ and that is the phallus. Unless of course you count the asexual reproduction of the Starfish people.
The Starman leaves for Earth, dressed like a complete buffoon in order to “blend in.” In the meantime, we catch up with the universe’s smartest brain as it manages to infiltrate Earth…via suitcase? What is going on here? No, narrator, I heard you when you explained that police chasing the man with the suitcase assumed he was a bank robber, but I’m confused at the part where you said inside the suitcase was the alien bad guy. Is this human helping conquer Earth? Or has he somehow managed to trap the infiltrating brain? And if so, how does he know what the brain is? Is it possible that this unexplained man is actually the Starman? I honestly can’t tell because the film is so grainy and he so unrecognizable without man bits sticking out of his head. I suppose the point becomes moot however, as he is quickly arrested by police and, at the same time, manages to drop the suitcase in a river, shouting “No! The Brain! Someone grab the brain or we’re all doomed!”
Guess who is getting charged with drug possession now too!
Anyway, the assistant gets dragged into Japanese Night Court where no one believes his story of an alien brain monster and how it is controlling the scientist he works for. His boss, apparently controlled by the evil brain calls and tells them to let the boy go as he has quite an imagination and was only stealing diseased guinea pigs. No, I could not make this up. I’m too lazy to make this up. Anyway, the mad doctor looks completely absurd with a goatee and what looks like a GIANT FALCON perched on his shoulder. He convinces the police to let the youth leave, who does so screaming about how we’re all doomed. The police just laugh it off and get back to eating doughnuts and discussing schoolgirl panties.
Of course, the doctor only wanted his assistant to be released so he could send the brain’s evil henchmen (who wear bandannas and fedoras at the same time!) to kill him as he searched frantically for the brain he dropped in the river. Just when it looks like he’s about to get finished a guy in a fedora and suit but no bandanna shows up and starts punching the crap out of the henchmen. He then ducks just out of frame for a half second, popping back up as our penis-clad hero, Starman! He manages to go all Dragonball Z on the henchmen and rescues the young assistant who tells him about the brain and how he was seeking to take it to yet another scientist in order to destroy it. The only problem is, he tells the scientist once Starman teleports him there, or flies him there, or takes him on a superfast bullet train there, that the brain happens to be “indestructible, which will make it very hard to destroy.”
Ok, that’s not how that word works. It either can or cannot be destroyed, there’s no middle ground with indestructible. But I suppose I can’t fault the Japanese for this oversight, the American pigeon dubbing leaves much to be desired.
Oh goddamnit, children. In every single one of these Japanese films there are always children who are obnoxious and overly enthusiastic about the impending apocalypse. It doesn’t help that their dubbing is even more atrocious than that of the adults. Starman, of course, befriends them and encourages their obnoxious enthusiasm for everything. Of course, the children can’t do anything. It’s all too dangerous for them, but Starman understands. Starman, with his extra peen on his head knows what it is like to be social outcasts that are never taken seriously. He tells the children not to worry, that he will save the planet and destroy the evil brain. Then he does his rapid clothes change thing again and flies away like a big nerd.
We then are sent back to the evil scientist’s lab where the over-eager assistant breaks in to try to re-steal the brain and some documents in order to help the good scientist figure out how to destroy it. It’s all very complicated and unnecessary of me to explain this as the plot is really secondary to all the costumed nonsense happening on screen. First off, the assistant gets clubbed by the evil doctor’s henchman and the audience discovers that both main baddies are physically disabled (the doctor in a wheelchair and the henchman on crutches with a missing leg), because what is more scary than the handicapped, right? Anyway, the doctor decides that in order to secure the safety of their brainy leader they must kill the good scientist with one of their…WAIT, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? It’s a mutant, apparently. And it would’ve killed the scientist immediately had Starman not shown up and the two fought like an episode of Power Rangers. Starman eventually chases the mutant away and follows to finish him.
The two fight until Japan’s imaginary Army shows up and starts shooting the mutant which begins to multiply. Starman, in a fit of wisdom, elects to end the battle and “fight it another day” before it turns into many, many mutants. He tells the army to back off, and they have no choice but to address the strangely-dressed man. Why? I suspect it has something to do with the fact that he has what looks like a rather large phallus in his pants as well as dangling from the top of his head. Either that or the mutant kicked him so hard in the crotch that he swelled to the size of grapefruits. The mutant is similarly attired, and its just a really unfortunately addition to the fight scenes. I really don’t need to see laytex codpieces on my poorly-costumed super heroes/mutants. Japan, Note to Self: No more spandex-clad heroes with stuffed undies.
In the meantime, the brain’s absurd alien henchmen, who dress like a combination of Batman and…well, a shitty Batman impersonator, are all lurking in their underground base. They all give each other the fascist salute, in a pair of scenes that are more than a little uncomfortable before they start whining about Starman and how he’s threatening their whole plans. Dudes, listen to me. If your plans didn’t account for a bozo in a stupid leotard with a dick on his head that is no cause to whine. No one can anticipate that shit. It’s like predicting the end of the world. Or just how obnoxious Tim Tebow is. It can’t be done. But this shouldn’t cause panic, I mean look at the guy. HE HAS A DICK ON HIS HEAD. Granted, you guys look like rejects from a terrible episode of Flash Gordon, so I suppose silly, outrageous costumes wouldn’t seem so ridiculous to you.
And we get some more quality time with those stupid kids. Apparently they fancy themselves to be detectives now and the young boy manages to find one of the secret entrances to the brain henchmen underground lair. His sister, worried at his disappearance, calls on Starman. She thinks that the hospital her brother was staying at (for reasons unexplained) is suspicious. Starman thinks so too. And so does the narrator who tells us point blank as the screen zooms in on the hospital’s doctor: “This is no doctor, this is an alien!” I love how un-subtle the American voice-over narration is. It was like they realized how shit-tastic their translated dubbings were and how confusing the plot, characters, locations, and basically everything else had become as a result of it. so they stuck in this clunky, overly-dramatic narration to fill in the gaps in an overbearing American accent.
Starman manages to find the underground base and (unfortunately) save the stupid kid. It takes about ten minutes of non-stop fight scenes that look like they were choreographed by someone who had never seen an actual fight before. In the process of defeating this contingent of the brain’s minions, Starman learns that they plan to start killing world leaders to begin their invasion, beginning with one from “the Far East” who comes dressed like a sheik and followed by a retinue of turban-wearing bodyguards. As they land in Japan at the airport, they are assailed by the evil Doctor from the hospital (not the evil scientist, I have no idea what happened to him) who begins shooting the Sheik, only to discover that it has no effect!
Why, it’s Starman! Playing the old switcheroo, Starman turns their ambush against them, which makes them momentarily shit their pants. The Doctor, however, quickly recovers, even in the face of Starman’s cocky rejoinders. He pulls a cylinder out of his pocket and tells Starman that if he does not back away he will throw “this nuclear grenade!” First off, if I were Starman I’d call bullshit. Second off, I’d never, ever, ever want to be Starman. Unfortunately, Starman believes the doctor and he also happens to be Starman. He didn’t follow my advice on two counts. Also, apparently that nuclear grenade happens to be a legit explosive, and it blows up before the screen fades to black!
But lo! Starman is not dead! He chases them down and fights them all in a long, drawn out fight sequence reminiscent of those that happen all the time in the Japanese Parliament. With the help of the police he captures the evil doctor. In the meantime, the narrator tells us that the mutants have begun killing humans indiscriminately. We are then treated to a five minute montage of happy children at an amusement park. Where is my in-discriminant human killing? I feel mislead! But wait! Finally a mutant shows up and kills…one woman. The same, female mutant shows up in a ballet school and kills…another lone woman. Ok, mutants, I know you may be new to this and all, and that you may have more chromosomes than you need, but you cannot take over a whole planet by killing one person at a time. Seriously, get some efficiency.
And the alien brain’s plans are drawing to a close, even though we have yet to even see the brain. Instead we get yet another evil scientist to add to this film’s maddeningly large collection of white-coated arch-villains. So, too, is this one disfigured in some way. Do these Japanese scientists have a bad union or something? What is with all the injuries? This time it looks like the scientist may have lost a fight with a waffle iron, or its one massively large birthmark. Whatever it is, it has clearly addled his brain as he chews through the scenery, croaking like a frog man and muttering to the germ mutants he’s created about how they owe everything to him, including their obedience. Science and germ warfare: you are doing it wrong. He also has a secret underground lair, because apparently Japan is secretly North Korea…or inhabited by mole people.
But his underground lair cannot protect him from Starman and his oddly lumpy body structure. Flying through the air at an improbable angle, our hero finds a dying worker on the hillside who was exposed to some of the doctor’s crazy germs. He dies, but Starman is able to figure out that the hideout must be close. When the doctor hears Starman’s approach (a sort of silly, tinkling, farting sound) he immediately asks his assistant if he’s betrayed their hideout. The assistant says no, but that he did test one of the germs on a worker. The doctor gets all “You fool!” up in his face, realizing that Starman and his dual packages are streaking towards him at improbable angles. He’s right and Starman bursts in for another poorly choreographed scene of fighting that is boring and formulaic, much like every other movie I’ve watched for this blog.
Honestly, what am I doing with my life?
The latest mad scientist decides to unlesh the most powerful mutant ever to stop Starman, who is now destroying their hordes and hordes of, I’ll call them, leotarded minions. Apparently they’ve decided to give an unstable mutant a nuclear weapon. This seems like a bad idea, almost as bad as a nuclear grenade. Oh, wait. In the meantime, the doctor’s assistant, who is responsible for this whole catastrophe, goes and tries to fight Starman with his…hook for a hand. Seriously? Does Japan not have any labor laws for its scientific workers? Or do they just make them work long hours with cotton gins, huge mechanical presses, and dangerous chemical solvents? Every. Single. Scientist. Every single one is somehow deformed or injured. Man, there have got to be some potential lawsuits there.
Anyway, Starman fights the nuclear mutant in one of the dumbest fight scenes of all time. The mutant is dressed like a gypsy, can shoot flames from her hands, and makes cat noises every time she swipes at Starman. He finally manages to defeat her, but its not clear how, she just sort of…blows up. Starman once again has to fight that other mutant thing that he let get away and he also dispatches it with confusing ease. It sort of just shrivels up like a snail in salt. Maybe something was lost in translation. Or maybe in Japan, mutants just sort of up and die at random moments. Or perhaps Starman’s massive crotchal region is responsible.
That is a mystery I do not want to solve.
With all the mutants inexplicably dead, the disabled scientists now officially disabled, and the stupid henchmen arrested, Starman and his good scientist cohorts are able to find the Evil Brain from Space–the terrifying namesake of this film is about to be revealed. And…its a shriveled, veiny ball of what could be crumpled tin foil. It beats feebly like a heart in its little glass jar. Starman and the scientists, flush with triumph, use their special formula to dissolve and kill the indestructible brain. It looks like they pour a combination of dry ice and milk on it, which causes it to fog (though I assume they were going for more of a steam look) and stop beating. It is pronounced dead and the bad guy of the whole movie is dead. By warm milk.
Of course, Starman must now return to the Emerald Planet, now that Earth is, at last, safe. He floats away, lazily, waving down from space in one of the strangest scenes yet (which is saying something). He offers Earth one last glimpse of his package and silly flying squirrel-like wings before departing for deep space to…do whatever it is Starman does when he’s not being a huge, sanctimonious ass with a stuffed crotch. If I had to guess, I’d say he watched a lot of Two and a Half Men while waiting for stupid giant brains to attack planets and get melted by baby formula. Screw this movie man. I’m through with it.
Best Sexual Healing Moment:
Best Tie-In To Real Events:
With these Japanese movies I always have to wonder if Japan is really like this. Perhaps their movies are, in fact, hyper-realistic.
Best Un-Real Event:
I’m going to go with there being anyone insane enough to use a NUCLEAR HAND GRENADE. Seriously?
Best Plot Twist:
ALL SCIENTISTS ARE BAD! EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE. BUT ALL THE OTHERS, BAD!
Best Family Moment:
I friggin’ hate when they cram kids into these types of movies. Mostly because dubbed kids are even more obnoxious than dubbed adults. Also, they are almost always stupid.
Whoever the hell decided a narration was called for. Seriously, this movie was confusing enough without adding another layer of bullshit to sift through.
Lab Assistant: The Brain is indestructible, which means it will be virtually impossible to destroy it!
I dunno what to say after this one. While it made no sense, had shitty narration, and tread the dangerous line of the Toschio Factor, it was also hilarious. It’s one of those movies that makes me wonder if, perhaps, the writer and director had such a mind-blowing, paradigm-altering vision that the rest of us simply couldn’t understand it. Or maybe, even they couldn’t understand it. I just want to know what directorial vision was behind such a mess of bad dialogue, massive plot holes, and just outright absurdity. For all that, I have to admit it was entertaining, and blessedly short at a little over an hour. In the end, I’ll give it a 5.5/10 for sheer hilarity. It at least kept me entertained, which is something with a lot of these flicks.