It’s Sunday. You’re nursing an awful hangover and trying to find something else to watch to distract your mind from the awful beatdown being dropped on your favorite football team. Take a load off your brain feet with some kitschy 1970s Japanese kaiju eiga.
I know what you’re thinking. “Space Amoeba? That doesn’t sound good at all.” And you know what? By most conventional metrics of quality, Space Amoeba is not a good film. The plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, the special effects are silly, and the characters (mostly) lack the kind of gravity required to be sympathetic. It recycles old tropes that film as an art really needs to ditch (Noble Savage, anyone?) and lacks any kind of subtlety. This is not a film you show to that cute little man or woman in economics to demonstrate your vast film knowledge in a desperate attempt to gain some relationship leverage.
As an example in pure 1970s monster movie camp, though, Space Amoeba delivers in spades. The monster suits are goofy enough to be lovable, the plot doesn’t even attempt to take itself seriously (case in point: everyone just kind of laughs off the fact that one of the characters is an industrial spy there to ruin the enterprises of the other characters), and the resolution is so absurd that it could only have been conceived during the golden era of giant monster films. I mean, just look at this big goofy cuttlefish. Just look at him!
This film doesn’t present itself as anything more than a silly sci-fi romp with a giant turtle, a giant cuttlefish, some giant crabs, a weirdo space alien named Yog, and a bunch of Japanese actors playing earnest if not misguided island natives. That the film even features a pretty solid kaiju battle and a redemptive story arc at all is just icing on the cheesy cake. MMMMMM cheesecake.
The problem with so many modern horror and monster movies is that they’re afraid to laugh at themselves. Space Amoeba isn’t. Space Amoeba is laughing with you, and if that isn’t worth a Sunday afternoon, I don’t know what is.
You can watch Space Amoeba right now at Archive.org.
Seen any cheesy monster movies worth my time? Sound off in the comments below.