(Bijo to Ekitainingen)
At the point that they made The H-Man, Toho and Ishiro Honda were still experimenting with ideas. As per the opening stock footage shot, the shadow of the atomic bomb is again present, it hanging over much Japanese cinema of this period. The H-Man came out the same year as The Blob (1958) but a few months earlier otherwise I would have said that it was a Japanese attempt to copy the American film.
For the first thirty minutes, The H-Man does not even seem as though it is a monster movie it seems more like a Japanese attempt to copy a hard-boiled American crime drama. This is not particularly well written it is exceedingly difficult to follow some of the logic that the police investigation follows you are not even sure why they are investigating the nightclub and how this ties to the ghost ship at sea and the H-Man causing the disappearance of people. Nor, beyond her boyfriend being one of the victims, is it clear why singer Yumi Shirakawa is involved in everything or why the H-Man invades the nightclub at one point. The problem with the story is that the H-Man lacks a personality it is suggested that it is intelligent but there is no indication of any personality or even that it used to be human. Thus its actions in coming after the nightclub singer seem oddly unmotivated. Ishiro Honda was never a people director and when his films focused on human scenes, these tended to the stolid the attempts to add a car chase here, which all takes place under the speed limit, are woefully banal.
The film perks up with the sporadic appearances of the H-Man. There is an eeriness to its appearances, particularly the initial scenes aboard the darkened ship where it manifests as a glowing transparent green shape advancing on people and with bodies half-seen collapsing into piles of empty clothes. The film is less effective when Ishiro Honda and his effects department rely on animation to show the blob particularly a shot of a bikinied dancer being devoured where the H-Man is simply represented by a crude animated shape covering her. Even so the routine crime drama policier dominates the show and the appearances of the H-Man are infrequent such that we are constantly sitting waiting through the dull drama for the effects sequences to come and perk the show up.
Ishiro Hondas other genre films include:- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954), Gigantis the Fire Monster/Godzilla Raids Again/The Return of Godzilla (1955), Rodan the Flying Monster (1956), The Mysterians (1957), the Yeti film Half-Human (1958), Varan the Unbelievable (1958), Battle in Outer Space (1961), Gorath (1962) about a rogue planet, King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1962), Mothra (1962), Atragon (1963) about a super-submarine, Attack of the Mushroom People/Matango, Fungus of Terror (1963), Godzilla vs the Thing/Mothra vs Godzilla (1964), Dagora the Space Monster (1964), The Human Vapor (1964) about a gaseous villain, Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Monster Zero/Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965), War of the Gargantuas (1966), King Kong Escapes (1967), Destroy All Monsters (1968), Godzillas Revenge (1969), the submarine adventure Latitude Zero (1969), Yog The Monster from Outer Space (1970) and Terror of Mechagodzilla/Monsters from an Unknown Planet (1976).