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Evil Brain From Outer Space

Many years spent watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 have taught me just how inept our brothers in the Eastern hemisphere are when it comes to creating good heroes. Invasion of the Neptune Men was saddled with the dope known as Space Chief, and the title character from Prince of Space didn’t exactly inspire hope for the future of mankind. Now, after seeing Evil Brain from Outer Space, I can safely say they are not alone in the Lame Superhero Department.

Meet Starman, a creature who can take on the appearance of an Earthling but is composed entirely of steel (hence the, uh, direct connection to the name Starman). With his Globe Meter, a watch given to him by the high council of the Emerald Planet, he can do one of three things. He can fly through space, detect radioactivity, and speak any and all Earth languages. You’d think this stable of powers would seem pretty puny compared to other heroes, but from what I saw Starman’s practically invincible. Granted, he never has to fight anyone who’s combat skills are above those of a third grader, but for all intensive purposes he’s pretty darn powerful.

So what’s the deal with this evil brain? Well, you see the evil brain of this evil leader named Balazaar had itself protected inside an evil device when its evil body was destroyed by a what I have to assume was a benevolent “decontrolled robot.” Now the evil brain is on Earth, plotting an evil scheme whereby he can destroy mankind via a nuclear war. Only Starman can stop the evil brain and his horde of evil mutants, so he zips to Earth and gets to business.

Evil Brain From Outer Space is a film comprised of three episodes from the 1960s series Super Giant, and as such it feels very episodic. A narrator consistently repeats information we’ve already heard many times over, and plotlines end abruptly so a new one can begin. For example, Starman fights a mutant for ten minutes and then is suddenly pretending to be an Eastern leader in order to trick the minions of the evil brain. There’s also a group of predictably annoying children who keep cycling in and out of the film, who of course are allowed entrance to laboratories, secret meetings, and recently destroyed alien headquarters for no reason other than to stand next to Starman and tell him he’s a great hero.

Though the fighting sequences can get pretty redundant, with Starman and his foes prancing about in stunningly obvious choreography, what makes the film work on a cheesy level are the many zany touches peppered throughout the adventure. One of the main villains is a scientist who always has a goofy, overweight falcon perched on his shoulder, while another has a particularly bad case of Pink Eye.

The evil brain’s army consists of such laughable dopes as foot soldiers who wear spandex pajamas with a skull and malformed bat insignia, men in trench coats whose only odd characteristic is their black eye shadow, and the mutants. The latter are of particular interest because of their giant plastic cat ears, goofy eyeball belts and their very obvious package lines which are clearly visible through their tights. This, coupled with Starman’s gruesomely large bulge, gives the film a not-so-slightly disturbing quality.

I’d recommend this movie based on its zany Japanese sensibility and the other obvious staples of b-cinema, including wooden dubbing performances, bad special effects, and old-school radio drama storytelling. It’s much more entertaining then the likes of Neptune Men, since it for the most part has a good pace and seems to know audiences don’t want to pay to see a boring film. Starman may be a silly hero, but at least his story was odd enough to keep my interest.

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