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Monday, December 17, 2012

From Beyond Television: Ultraseven Episode #2

Episode two: THE GREEN TERROR **1/2

Dubbed title: SHRUBS FROM SPACE 

A strange metallic rock lands outside the home of Agent Ishuguro, one of the Ultra Garrison members. Having spent six months in solitude aboard Space Station V3, Ishuguro returns to Earth for vacation. Escorting him home, Moroboshi spies the large, peculiar space rock. Using his telepathic powers, he recognizes it as being from another planet. Later that night, agent Ishuguro transforms into a blood-drinking plant creature. He roams the street killing passersby who eventually come back to life as plant monsters who likewise spread the contagion.

This bizarre episode is an intriguing take on vampirism, this time from an interplanetary virus seemingly controlled by a hunk of rock from outer space. Unfortunately, the origin of this virus is never fully explained. 

A peculiar postman delivers a box to the Ishuguro household that contains a smaller metal rock (Moroboshi identifies this space metal as Chillsonite 808 from the planet YR), but we never learn just who he is. He's obviously connected, but the script never gives an explanation. 

This second episode, despite having an idea of great interest to play around with (shades of THE LAST MAN ON EARTH from 1964 starring Vincent Price and particularly INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS), has enough plot holes for a full length feature. Who is the weird delivery man? What sort of aliens are these? Why is the host being kept comatose within a large metal rock? Why does the alien creature imitating the body of the host need a smaller rock with a hidden transmitter? The answers to those questions won't be found here.

Even with its murky plot details, this 25 minute take on INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) told via Japanese Tokusatsu conventions is a fun programmer benefiting from some choice effects work.

Ultraseven gets to "grow" this time unlike the first episode where he remains normal size. He briefly battles this likewise gigantic plant monster from another world (not referred to by name; at least not in the subtitles). It's also the first of many times Seven is seen using his Emerium Beam. 

Agent Anne gets to partake in the action (she doesn't do much the rest of the time leaving the sandbox for the guys) in a scene where she incapacitates one of the beasts (with the hand laser called The Paralyzer) after it transforms while the Ultra Guard study the body of a victim.

MONSTERS: Wyarr; Wyaan (blood drinking alien plant creature from planet YR)

WEAPONS: The Paralyzer (laser pistol that neutralizes a potential threat), Ultra Hawk 1 (cameo at end)

To be continued in Episode Three: SECRET FROM THE LAKE!!!

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