Also known as War of the Insects, this is a real sci-fi horror oddity from Criterion’s Eclipse series, When Horror Came to Shochiku, about a swarm of marauding bugs capable of downing jet fighters and devouring humans. Bizarre in the extreme, but certainly worth a watch.
The second title from Criterion’s Eclipse series When Horror Came to Shochiku is a step up from the first film in the four-disc set, but not by much. A plane filled with a variety of duplicitous businessmen, shifty individuals and heroic flight crew hits a blood red storm and crashes in the mountains. With suspicions flying around that there may be a terrorist on board, a political assassin and lord knows what else, tensions are already high. They soon discover that there’s also a UFO hiding out just behind the next mountain, from where a gooey blue alien lifeform emerges and forces its way into the body by creating a vaginal slit in their forehard. Then, they seem to either kill other humans by caressing their necks, or spreading the blue goo and very slowly taking over the human race.
The film has a nicely nihilistic approach and refuses to let its tiny budget get in the way of its ambitious story, but with the entire film taking place either within the plane or what looks to be a quarry somewhere outside Tokyo, the production remains somewhat limited. Characters are contradictory and the plot rarely makes much sense. It’s two parts Invasion of the Body Snatchers and one part The Blob in a Lord of the Flies scenario that never quite gets off the ground. The promising set-up really should have resulted in something more entertaining, or just out-there than what we get here.
The first film from Criterion’s Eclipse series, When Horror Came To Shochiku, is a retro sci-fi 60s adventure following an international crew who venture to Mars, only to bring back an extra-terrestrial space spore that quickly mutates into a giant, city-flattening chicken monster. Every bit as bad as it sounds, this low grade Godzilla rip-off is made borderline unwatchable by moronic writing that sees the Earth’s “best and brightest” scientific minds behave moronically throughout. I have it on good authority that this is by far the weakest of the four films in the DVD set, which is reassuring, as this is almost entirely without merit, ironic or otherwise.