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  • Space_Mafune11 May 2003
    THE H-MAN is a fine, and most rare, blend of film noir and 1950s Japanese science fiction. The film is filled with startling visuals from start to finish. It grabs your attention and rarely lets up. Favorite scenes involve the events inside the derelict ghost ship and all the scenes in the nightclub which abound with the right atmosphere. Stylistic and often startling visually, this is a lot of fun to watch and get into. It does require one to suspend their disbelief quite a bit though.
  • I saw this film when I was a child, and never forgot it. While somewhat similar to films such as 'The Blob' and 'Caltiki, The Immortal Monster' (a Spanish/Italian/Mexican rarity), 'The H-Man' is, as others note, a sort of film noir sci-fi/mystery film. Like most Japanese sci-fi & horror films of the 1950s and 60s, there are instances of unintentional humor, over-the-top acting and a fixation on the effects of radioactivity (not surprising). I had almost given up on finding this title, when fortuitously I ran into a really nice Japanese DVD with superb color and in a widescreen format; no English dubbing, but rather subtitles in the bottom black bar. It was as if I was seeing the film for the very first time! While I have no American version to compare it to, I have no doubt that this version has footage edited from the American release. Interestingly (for me, anyway), the title in Japanese is 'Beauty and the Liquid Human', an odd but actually more accurate title. The H-Man provides some very well-done special effects, creepy atmosphere and a decent amount of suspense. Along with 'Rodan' and 'The Mysterians' (and, I guess, Godzilla), this is among the best of early Japanese sci-fi films.
  • As a first grader at age 6, I felt underpriveledged. All my class mates would come to school on Mondays bragging about whatever Saturday movie experience they had. Most of the time it was a Hercules, or Sinbad or other epic tale and their comments were vivid. But when the conversation revolved around a horror movie their version turned out to be a tease. I could tell that the real deal with horror pictures was to experience it personally. Here was the conumdrum, I wasn't allowed to go the the show without an adult and I didn't want to be seen by my friends with a parent. Well finally an aunt stepped up and volunteered to take me. In that darkened theater, finally seeing a horror movie for the first time, my anticipation was peaking: that is until the H Bomb went off and the tale of this insidious monster began. Needless to say my horror fascination came full circle by the end of the first reel, and the experience left me anxious for many, many, months! Thinking back to that screenining I feel that the H man was a landmark movie and probably generated the same type emotional response as the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds had a generation earlier. A remake would be awesome with todays technology, looking forward to it, and even a peak back to the past with the original version would be nice.
  • The early Toho Japanese imports took themselves seriously and so did American kids, who flocked to see THE H-MAN, RODAN, THE MYSTERIANS, and BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (despite the dubbed dialogue) during this period.

    In my town, the first 50 customers at the box office received an "H-Man" premium -- to this day I don't know what that item was -- green Silly Putty?

    An action figure?

    The H-Man "himself" was a green (in some cases blue -- the Eastmancolor prints I've seen to date leave some doubt, but he looked green in the "previews" in 1958) blob that ran under its own power through sewer grates, up walls, and under doors to attack people by running up their bodies and melting them down inside their clothes, leaving nothing but a mystery. In fact, the plot is superficially a mystery/crime drama with some silly and cursory science behind the H-Man, but as these films go, THE H-MAN was a minor sensation -- the movie was not too long, dark and moody, with plenty of reasonably convincing effects to recommend it. This was "The Blob" without the teenagers, and the scenes of people dissolving were fairly sensational and pretty scary for its day -- folks being deflated like balloons and melted into puddles of suds.

    The theater in my town announced the coming attraction in the lobby by featuring an "actual H-Man victim" on display -- which was a toupee lying on top of a crumpled man's suit, with a pair of shoes underneath. Crude, but effective...
  • I saw this when it was first released in 1958 in Sydney. The theatre was a very large and cold cinema. The atmosphere of the environs only added to the atmosphere of the film. I was six at the time but I can still remember it fairly vividly today - nearly forty years later. It gave me nightmares for weeks.

    I always thought this was the movie that the Blob was based on although the release dates seem to be fairly close. This by far was the better movie of the two. I have seen this once again in my older years and it still resurrects memories of those childhood nightmares.

    I would love to be able to obtain a copy of the film but it seems these days no-one seems to know of it.
  • Although THE H MAN doesn't feature any city stomping monsters, this is one of the best sci fi's from Japan's Toho studios. THE H MAN is an eerie thriller about a mutant blob creature lurking around Tokyo's sewer system and devouring people, leaving only their clothes behind.The blob creature, apparently a mutated human, seems to be out for revenge against a group of Japanese gangsters. It seems to always be lurking around a seedy gangster owned Tokyo strip club and devouring the mobsters. I have heard that the in Japanese version, the H MAN was a gangster exposed to an atomic bomb blast and returns as an H man to get revenge, but this is unclear in the English language version. I also found the films subplot involving Tokyo gangsters interesting in that it shows to westerners the seedier side of Tokyo's night life scene.

    The film has one scene that I found pretty rough when I first saw this film as a kid. A scientist explains his theory that atomic radiation can mutate people in H men. In his lab he exposes a frog to radiation and the frog turns into a blob and then proceeds to devour another frog. The process is shown in a clinical and matter-of-fact fashion that I still find disturbing today.

    Note: When this film was first released in the USA by Columbia, it was paired with the mostly dull British import THE WOMAN EATER, a film about a woman eating tree. Since both films deal with people being devoured in a rather gross manner, I wonder what effect the films had on the theaters/drive-ins concession stands.
  • Like many other posters, I saw this film as a young boy and it gave me nightmares for weeks (maybe even months)! Luckily, my older brother finally convinced me that the "liquid creature" would not survive a swim from Japan to the United States and I was able to sleep again.

    I suspect that the modern age's Freddies, Jasons and Leatherfaces would not hold a candle to the effect that this film had on an impressionable youth back then. Perhaps the very fact that the monster had no tangible qualities and could theoretically be any puddle of water you came across was what gave it its fright value.

    It would certainly be interesting to see how a remake of this would play today.
  • One of my favorite films from Toho, a story about the city of Tokyo being terrorized by a transparent, liquid, radiated being called the H-Man. One-by-one, people start to disappear and it's up to the policeman and scientists to crack the case. This movie combines pure sci-fi and film-noir, giving us tense and non-stop thrills. Just the plot of policemen investigating drug dealers and scientists investigating the H-Man effects, with a beautiful nightclub singer mixed in, are pure excitement. A good, dramatic, but hopeful story from Takeshi Kimura and good directing from Ishiro Honda. A strong message of the consequences of misusing the hydrogen bomb is delivered in this film. I've only seen the English-dubbed version so far, but the dubbing was very good. Even the nightclub songs sang by Yumi Shirakawa fit the English dubbing. The nightclub scenes are a real treat. This movie ranges as one of the best non-Godzilla films from Toho.

    Grade A
  • Alien is suppose to now be the most terrifying Sci-Fi/Horror put out, but for those of us who saw The H-Man as young baby-boomers this one should get first prize.

    The comments by others who were in elementary school at the time, pretty much says it all about being almost terrorized for weeks by nightmares and parents trying to sooth you before you could fall asleep at night. I still have an occasional dream about being tracked by one of these "liquid creatures". I would hope to see the movie again sometime to "embrace my fear" as an adult. Somethings in the psyche of a young child can hang around for decades, and for movies... this is one of them.

    If Sony decides to buy up the rights on this one from Toho Productions for a Region 1 DVD release, they would do well to bundle it with the other early and under-rated classics like Rodan and The Mysterians. Unfortunately, as classic as Godzilla releases have been (more than my mind can count), it is time for something more unique and rare which has been passed over. I hope it happens.
  • Having been A-bombed, Japan became obsessed with the nuclear-weapon nightmare. When the Matsusei Maru got caught on the fringes of an American H-bomb test and its crew irradiated, it must've triggered archetypal Japanese fears, so Ishiro Honda created this creepy movie in which people get dissolved by radioactive blob-beings, and there's an edge to it along with a campy atmosphere that comes from the over-the-top acting.

    There's one of the absolute worst chase scenes in history, but the scenes where the gangster is dragging the beautiful, innocent Chitako through the sewer while being stalked by the H-man blobs is frightening. The '50s Japanese nightclub jazz is awful, and there are all the typical Japanese monster-movie clichés, which gives the movie a lot of unintentional comic relief. The Japanese Jimmy Cagney-like gangster that threatens Chitako is hilarious. The pomposity of Dr. Maki and the police-military characters is wonderful.

    I saw this movie the year after I immigrated to the U.S., in Chicago, and it terrified me. If you like a great mix of creative multi-plotting, campy '50s Japanese sci-fi, and something to watch on a weekend night with popcorn and soda, this is it. Unfortunately, the video I have isn't closed-captioned, though the dialogue dubbing is very well done.
  • There were a few films from my childhood that really left an impression, and this was one - creepy! It IS out on VHS at least, maybe DVD, but Netflix doesn't have it. One of five or six such films that still hold up both as documents of their times and as scary as they were to a kid. I'd also recommend Quatermass 2, aka Enemy from Space, and for nonscary monsters, try 20 Million Miles to Earth. It's an interesting project to go back and see what of the stuff from childhood is still effective, and in what ways it is not. This Island Earth totally creeped me out, as did the 1953 War of the Worlds, and the original Invaders from Mars, but the remakes of these last two mostly failed. The H Man however is great. Enough lines yet?
  • Be sure to watch for the really creepy flashback sequence wherein the title creature is first discovered by sailors exploring an abandoned ship. The film's photography and special effects deserve a nod also. Those with a soft spot for blob movies are urged to also check out the Steve McQueen film of that name (released the same year), as well as Hammer Films' "X the Unknown" (1956).
  • Toho are known for dark gritty movies (Usually about Samurai or the struggles of Japanese life) and goofy giant monster films (Godzilla). That is why this came as so much of a surprise to me as it isn't either.

    While the west the same year made The Blob (1958) Toho made their own liquid monster movie and truth be told it's not at all bad and makes me wish Toho had done more horror.

    What struck me immediatly was how amazing everything looks, sure it doesn't have the usual incredible writing of Toho and lacks the direction of Kurosawa but it looks a couple of decades ahead of its time. Seriously, I'm blown away.

    It tells the story of the police looking for a missing man and during the investigation coming across a mysterious liquid creature whose very touch dissolves its prey.

    Though the movie isn't outstanding it makes up for it in enough areas to be more than watchable.

    Genuinely creepy and unnerving in places, the H-Man is deserving of any horror fans time.

    The Good:

    Looks incredible for its time

    The Bad:

    Cast are pretty below par

    Things I Learnt From This Movie:

    Microphones are overrated

    Before putting your jacket around a woman dip it in sewage first
  • imcrownbyrd23 August 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    I have searched several places to see if that movie was saved for the future generations to see. I was a kid when I saw it and it made a profound effect upon me. I would love to see it again! I seem to remember the part where a guy or a girl is in a telephone booth and is trying to make a call and all of a sudden "The H Man" attacks and you see the H Man melting the person in the booth. It crept up the person's leg and the person melted before your very eyes. It sort of reminds me of "The Blob" but more liquidy and chilling. I recommend it to everyone who wants to go back and see the superb work produced back then. It is a wonder to see the high standard of movie making that was happening back then.
  • I first saw this movie on its theartical release, as a child, and I found it both riviting and frightening. It hasn't lost any of its charm over the years and still, in my opinion, stands on its own merits as a quality "B" movie.
  • rm984723 February 2008
    Why is this classic Japanese sci-fi movie not available on DVD? But yet it's on VHS? Come on, VHS?, & with all the other awful ones being offered on DVD, like Revenge of Godzill, Godzilla vs Megalon & Godzilla vs the Bog (Smog) Monster etc. Anything produced by Toho from 1970 thru 1998 were seriously inferior, (& that's pushing the envelope for these types of movies) in terms of plot/actors/building models/creative monster suits, etc. I buy only the good ones (the red one) dating back from 1954 thru 1968, then boom, no more.

    They seemed to have gotten their groove back on the right track with Godzilla 2000, All Out Giant Monster Attack & Tokyo SOS, combining CGI with old school model making, even bringing back some of the old favorites (Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, etc.), then boom again, Godzilla, Final Wars. What a terrible way to end the series. That Japanese director was obviously on crack and trying desperately to appeal to today's jaded US pop culture crowd (who needs them) and failed. I understand that Sony Pictures now owns Columbia and MGM (their back-lot too), so how about it? This, and other titles like a newly re-issued original Rodan, Mothra & War of the Garganuas, with both Japanese and unedited US versions, along with other special features that would only appeal to fans of these beloved science fiction icons. Get with the program! Who ever is in charge!
  • I am 50 yrs old now and I really think that this was one of the first movies that I remember and possibly the first movie period. It was a Saturday kid show at the local theater and after paying 12 RC cola bottle caps, I was in. To tell the truth, the movie scared the hell out of me! All the gang reviewed this flick over and over-scene after scene. It was GREAT! I haven't seen this movie in over 40 years now and if I where to watch it now, It wouldn't be as frightening as my memory has kept it, so If you ever get a chance to see this movie for the first time, watch out! You will be looking up to make sure there isn't anything above you every time you enter a dark room.
  • I first saw this movie on its theatrical release, as a child, and I found it both riveting and frightening. It hasn't lost any of its charm over the years and still, in my opinion, stands on its own merits as a quality "B" movie.
  • During the 1950's, Inoshira Honda, Japan's master director of monster movies aimed his films for adults (like this one), as opposed to his more kiddie-aimed monster films of the 1960's. The Tokyo police think their most notorious gangster skipped town. A young scientist (Kenji Sahara) believes otherwise. He believes the gangster dissolved and turned into a liquid monster. The police finally believe him when they encounter the H-Man at a nightclub (Where some dancers, and cops dissolve) The film concludes with a manhunt/rescue in the Tokyo sewers. The H-Man is a colorful, fun combination monster film/film noir. Despite the middle section of the film being dull, (white lab coated doctors arguing with skeptical detectives) the monster scenes abound in glorious EastmanColor, excitement and sensuality (Yumi Shirakawa, Inoshira Honda's leading lady is quite appealing as a sultry nightclub singer caught in the H-Man mess.) The special effects go for a dreamlike surrealism, rather than realism.
  • Odd, moody crime-horror melodrama as a predatory radioactive liquid haunts the Tokyo waterfront. The films opens with a drug deal gone bad. The police investigation is complicated by a Dr. Masada (Kenji Sahara), a local scientist who suspects that there is a connection between the missing criminal and recent H-bomb tests. He has interviewed a sailor who told him about a drifting ship, where all that remained of the crew were their clothes and how almost all of the sailors investigating the derelict were attacked and dissolved by a blue ooze that could take on a vaguely humanoid form. When Masada finds a radioactive life-ring from the doomed ship, he becomes convinced that at least one of the "H-men" made it to Tokyo and, as more people disappear, the police realise that they have both a vicious drug dealer and a viscous killer to deal with. Directed by Ishiro Honda and with effects by Eiji Tsuburaya (both of Godzilla, 1954 fame), "The H-man" is an effective and entertaining thriller. While there are some weak moments (the car chase comes to mind), the film is overall a well done blend of Japanese-noir and horror. While somewhat similar to the contemporaneous "The Blob", "The H-man" is a more 'adult' film, with a gritty gangster subplot and some genuinely creepy sequences (especially those on the ship and in the sewers). Tsuburaya's effects are very good, with scenes of the sentient goo oozing up walls and along ceilings and of people dissolving into piles of clothing. Like Godzilla, the film is a cautionary tale of the dangers of radioactivity and both films feature scenes on a ship whose crew was exposed to radiation (inspired by the true story of the 'Lucky Dragon 5'). I watched an English-dubbed version of the film which differs somewhat from the original (there is less emphasis on the underworld background story) and opens and closes with the typical ominous voiceover warning of atomic danger. The dubbing itself was OK although a few of the heavies had cartoonish 'gangster' voices. All-in-all, a bit dated but worth watching.
  • In the midst of a drug heist, criminal Misaki somehow disappears; his girlfriend, the nightclub singer Chikako, is thought to know something of his whereabouts and so she is pursued by both police and gangsters (the latter having owned the drugs Misaki stole). But what if Misaki really *had* disappeared, had, as it were, *dissolved* leaving only his clothes behind? Scientist Dr. Masada has a theory about the cause of such a horror: the effects of radiation from H-bombs have created a liquid monster, the terrible H-Man, and now that monster is coming to Tokyo…. Director Ishiro Honda is best known in the West as the director of the first "Godzilla" movie, but he has a lengthy and varied body of work that is soon to get its due in the form of a biography co- written by Steve Rylfe and Ed Godziszewski; the latter presented a screening of "The H-Man" at Montreal's FantAsia Festival 2017 and preceded it with a talk about the man, his life, recurring themes in his films and more. Really interesting information, and it made this film, similar in ways to many such radiation cautionary tales of the 1950s, resonate that much more deeply. I look forward to discovering more of Mr. Honda's films!
  • Try as might, I could not determine in a snappy summary line what the "H" in the title of the movie stood for. All the adjectives I could think of to describe the movie started with other letters. I can't say that the movie is "horrible" or "horrendous", but I can say that the movie really tested my patience. It's a really slow-moving exercise, particularly in the first third or so of the movie. It takes forever for things to get going, and once it does the "thrills" come in very brief (and somewhat weak) spurts. It's almost as if the filmmakers were afraid of potentially scaring or creeping out their audience, right down to the musical score, consisting of music that seems right out of a completely different movie. There are a few interesting low-tech special effects that are fun to watch, but in no way is it worth investing over 70 minutes of your time to watch a couple of minutes of slight novelty.
  • When a narcotics deal goes sour and a suspect disappears, leaving only his clothes, police question his wife and stake out the nightclub where she works. His disappearance stumps the police until a young scientist appears who claims that H-Bomb tests in the Pacific have created "H-Men" who ooze like slime and dissolve anyone they touch.

    A New York Herald Tribune film critic at the time called it, "A good-natured poke at atom-bomb tests... The picture is plainly making a case against the use of nuclear bombs. At the same time, there is a great deal of lively entertainment in the story involving police, dope smugglers, scientists and some very pretty Japanese girls."

    Of course, this is a much-lighter look at nuclear radiation than the Japanese version of "Godzilla" is. The music, melting people and generally lighter tone make it quite a different approach. And within only a few years of the other film, showing there was more than one way to approach the subject in 1950s Japan.

    This film is probably not well known, but probably should be: its excellent use of color, the cool and creepy melting effects... in some ways it parallels "The Blob" (which came out the same year), and is easily on par with some of the American International films of the next decade.
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