The X From Outer Space/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Among the higher intellects of those whose academic field is the study of cinema it's a commonly acknowledged fact that movies whose titles end with the words ‘From Outer Space’ are all great. I would go so far as to suggest that even the most boring film can be improved by having these 3 extra words grafted on to their title. Try it. I wouldn’t dream of sitting through drivel like ‘Pretty Woman’ but I’d be first in line to check out ‘Pretty Woman From Outer Space’.
Which brings us neatly to The X From Outer Space. Nuclear rocketship A.A.B. Gamma launches from the Fuji Astro Flying Centre on a mission to Mars. It appears that a number of rockets have been destroyed by a U.F.O. orbiting the red planet and sure enough as the Gamma crew approach they are intercepted by what looks like a giant flying Dorito. The crew’s Doctor is overcome with some kind of space sickness so they are forced to detour to a lunar base for a bit of R & R and to eat some giant moon apples.
Resuming their flight only to get caught in a sudden meteor shower Captain Sano & hottie blonde biologist Lisa venture outside the ship in their spacesuits to remove debris from the hull. They collect a glowing radioactive sample of space gunk containing a ‘cosmic spore’.
Back on earth the spore hatches releasing the ‘X’ of the title. Rapidly growing to Godzilla-like proportions the creature swiftly sets about doing what all monsters do when visiting Japan for the first time, which is to stomp the shit out of everything in sight. I swear you’ve never seen anything like this critter; he’s a giant scaly chicken-lizard-thing with glowing red eyes and a trumpet and 2 antennae sprouting from its head. Never described as ‘X’, the beast is called Girara in the original Japanese title but is referred to as Guilala in the English dub of the film.
With Guilala busy belching out fireballs and head butting jet planes Lisa has studied the remains of the space spore. She has discovered an element, with a ‘complicated molecular structure’, which she calls Guilalanium and which might work as a weapon against the rampaging space chicken-lizard-thing but by this point all the science talk was making my head hurt.
Even before Guilala makes an appearance on screen ‘The X From Outer Space’ is a pretty juvenile experience but then I’m a juvenile kinda guy so it gets 2 Fonz-style thumbs up from me. Shochiku studios sole contribution to the kaiju eiga genre certainly doesn’t threaten to steal Toho’s monster movie crown however one must give them credit for coming up with a truly unique creature and the all important scenes of mass destruction are very well executed. Although shot in a 2.35:1 scope ratio U.S viewers will have more likely seen the pan n’ scanned version which American International Pictures sold direct to TV.
Imagine if all the Japanese movie monsters gathered in a school playground and Godzilla and Gamera took turns picking who they wanted on their team in the kaiju eiga high school basketball champions league. Guilala would most likely be the nerdy kid left standing at the end that no one wanted to choose. I too was the geek who sucked at sports at school and maybe that’s why I feel the need to show the big rubber schmuck some love. Sure he’s goofy looking (so am I), sure he doesn’t find it easy to make friends (me neither) and sure he knocks stuff over with his big scaly butt (actually I’ve pretty much got my ass under control) but boy does he know how to stomp up a storm.
Narcan is the GCDb's esteemed UK contributor. As a youth his earliest exploitation film experience was a My Bloody Valentine/The Funhouse midnight double bill. Grindhouse icons that he holds in highest regards are Christina Lindberg and Frank Henelotter. Two of his favorite exploitation genres include Nunsploitation and Lucha Libre.