• Das Grauen Schleicht Durch Tokio (The H-Man)



    Released by: Anolis Entertainment
    Released on: March 17th, 2017.
    Director: Inoshiro Honda
    Cast: Yumi Shirakawa, Kenji Sahara, Akihiko Hirata
    Year: 1958

    The Movie:

    Directed by Inoshiro Honda, the man behind the original Godzilla, The H-Man is an interesting monster movie in which some nefarious drug dealers. Led by Uchida (Makato Sato), are turning up dead in the most unusual of ways: their bodies basically disintegrate, leaving behind a pile of gooey clothes! Top cop Inspector Tominaga (Akihiko Hirata) starts digging about to try and sort all of this out. Dr. Masada (Kenji Sahara), however, figures that this strange phenomena must have something to do with an accident in which a half dozen sailors were exposed to radiation and turned into liquid monster men whose very touch turns the living into the aforementioned pile of gooey clothes.

    Meanwhile, super foxy lounge singer Chikako Arai (Yumi Shirakawa) is wondering what has happened to her gangster boyfriend. The cops learn more about a few sailors who encountered these weird liquid men, lending credence to Masada’s theory, but they don’t it much mind until a raid on the nightclub where Chikako croons the night away brings them face to face with… something glowing and green!

    This one isn’t too concerned with logic, but when the movie is as entertaining as The H-Man then logic doesn’t really matter that much. There are a few lengthy talky stretches that slow down the pace a little bit but for the most part, Honda keeps things going at a nice click. When the cops and scientists aren’t espousing theories or doing strange experiments on unfortunate frogs, we’re treated to a nice mix of monster mash action and quirky late fifties nightclub nonsense.

    The cast are good here. Yumi Shirakawa shines as the beautiful but troubled chanteuse. She’s always framed and lit beautifully and the camera loves her. Makato Sato makes a good heavy and plays the villainous role quite well, while Akihiko Hirata and Kenji Sahara are a lot of fun to watch as the lead cop and scientist respectively.

    The effects pieces are what makes the movie as memorable as it is, however. The sequences in which the radiated men appear like glowing green ghosts out of the darkness as great – plenty of contrast and just eerie enough to work. The disintegration scenes aren’t necessarily convincing but they are fun to watch as the various victims bubble and foam. Some optical effects that show certain characters getting ‘slimed’ are definitely a product of their time and not all that effective, but again, in the context of an old sci-fi movie like this they just add to the fun. Throw in some surprisingly effective miniature work and some solid sets and stylish set dressings and this one remains a whole lot of fun.

    There are two versions of the movie included here, one running 1:25:29 and the other 1:18:55. The longer cut of the movie features the more graphic demise of the dancer that is trimmed from the shorter U.S. cut as well as some other extensions.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Both cuts of The H-Man arrive on Blu-ray framed at 2.35.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer that looks quite good on a 50GB disc. There’s some minor print damage here and there but it’s small stuff, white speckles and what not, rather than large distracting scratches. Colors are generally reproduced quite nicely and black levels are solid. Detail and texture are quite good and there are no problems with any obvious compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction.

    For the longer cut of the film German and Japanese language tracks are provided in DTS-HD 2.0 Mono with subtitles provided in German only. There are no English audio or subtitles options available for the longer cut of the film. The shorter version, however, includes German and English language DTS-HD Mono tracks with optional German subtitles. The English track is clean, clear and properly balanced and the film’s score and unusual selection of sound effects come through nicely here.

    Extras on the Blu-ray disc include two audio commentary tracks, the first with Dr. Rolf Giesen and Jörg M. Jedner and the second with Jörg Buttgereit, Bodo Traber and Alexander Iffländer. Both tracks are in German with no subtitles. Also included on the Blu-ray disc is a German theatrical trailer, three seperate still galleries, menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release, a DVD version containing both cuts (and the same language options) and the extras from the Blu-ray disc is also included.

    Also packaged with the two discs is a sixteen page color insert booklet containing a German language essay on the film by Jörg M. Jedner.

    The Final Word:

    The H-Man is a kick. It’s quirky, weird and chock full of some pretty memorable set pieces. Anaolis’ Blu-ray release is clearly geared for the German market and those that speak the label’s native tongue will get more out of it than those who do not, but the presentation here is quite nice and it’s great having both cuts of the movie in high definition (even if the longer cut lacks an English friendly option).


    Click on the image below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!