Both movies are definitely fun for fans of old monster/creature movies, especially the old Universal monster movies.
The Invisible Man appears in the story:
Two scientists work on different invisibility serums while competing for the hand of the daughter of a prominent scientist, resulting in a contest of the worst kind that ends in crime and tragedy.
A famous scientist named Dr. Nakazato (Ryunosuke Tsukigata) has invented an invisible serum that his two assistants Segi (Daijiro Natsukawa) and Kurokawa (Kanji Kashiba) are unaware of. They try to impress their boss so he can ask the good doctor for permission to marry his daughter Machiko (Chizuru Kitagawa). Nakazato’s serum is stolen by a shady businessman who tests it on a second-rate thief hoping to steal a gemstone necklace from him, which is a big mistake because the serum – once ingested – is irreversible. An invisible thief commits a crime and terrorizes the area, and the serum slowly but surely makes everyone who takes it unstable and crazy. A manhunt has begun, but how do you catch the Invisible Man (who usually walks around like a coated mummy wrapped in a trench)?
A clear, open riff on Universal Monster featuring Claude Rain’s The Invisible Man uses some of the techniques to convey the effect of an invisible character. It feels like a spin-off or sequel to an American film. The film is therefore extremely interesting, despite the somewhat shaky direction. It’s pretty fun, and if you like the old Universal monster movies, you should like this Japanese version from director Nobuo Adachi.
The Invisible Man’s Conspiracy Against Human Flight (1957):
A killer shrunk to the size of a fly wants to kill, and an invisible scientist may be the only one who can stop him.
A businessman who has long held a grudge against those who have wronged him in his life makes a deal with a killer: He will reduce the man’s height and weight to the size of a fly (and be able to fly!) and give him a drug he will become addicted to in exchange for a series of murders. The businessman has a criminal record for war crimes and has spent time in a remote penal colony. Now in control of his diabolical experiments, he sets his sights on elaborate revenge, but that was without regard to the unstable assassin’s personal vendetta against anyone who catches the eye of the dashing cabaret dancer he’s been watching. Panic quickly took hold as residents reported hearing buzzing sounds just before the victims died. Then one suspects that killers are at large, but that the murders were committed with a knife. Meanwhile, scientist Song has perfected the use of the invisibility ray, hoping to use it for police purposes (for an ambush), and the police can’t catch the human fly killer unless they get creative, which is a coincidence since there’s also an invisible man.
The intersection between creatures and monsters keeps Invisible Man vs Human Fly interesting, but the logic is for the birds. Sometimes a human fly is as big and tall as a fire hydrant, sometimes it is a small insect, and then again it can grow big, seemingly at will. He doesn’t fly either, but he hovers and can control his flight maneuvers. Invisible Man’s humanity is marginalized, with some strange explanations (his flesh is visible but his clothes are not, making him invisible), but it’s still pretty entertaining. If you’re a fan of invisibility (and who isn’t?!), this is a must-have. From director Mitsuo Murayama.
Arrow Video has just released these two titles on a single disc as a double feature, and while both transfers are the best, they may retain some of the cracks of their age due to the fragility of the negatives. These films have never been available in the U.S. before, so it’s a pleasure to see them for the first time. Special features include a new interview with a film critic, an art gallery, a trailer, and newly commissioned reverb artwork for both films by artist Graham Humphries.
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