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   Now in our eleventh calendar year
    PCR #527  (Vol. 11, No. 18)  This edition is for the week of April 26--May 2, 2010.

"A Nightmare on Elm Street" †by Mike Smith
My Friend Erma: The Erma Broombeck Interview †by ED Tucker
Album of the Month: Hole- Nobody's Daughter †by Terence Nuzum
Inframan (1975) †by Jason Fetters
FANGRRL Goes To The 2010 Sunscreen Film Festival †by Lisa Scherer
Interview With The Projectionist, Part 2 †by John Miller
Action! .... Speaking Of .... Movie Notes .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith

Inframan (1975)

Leave it to Shaw Brothers to create the Chinese version of Ultraman known as Inframan. This is a highly entertaining superhero movie that is sure to appeal to comic and special effects fans, worldwide.

Inframan begins with the classic Shaw Brothers Shaw Scope. During the opening credits you can hear a rocking Asian 70ís theme song that fuses hard rock and disco in a unique fashion.

A school bus filled with singing children is attacked by a Rodan-like creature that quickly disappears and causes an earthquake. The children and a woman teacher manage to escape. However, the driver and the bus veer off a cliff and explode, busting into flames. This is the start of the monster invasion.

Professor Liu is sent to investigate why the monsters are attacking as he travels to headquarters, which is a small building with a gigantic radar sitting on the roof. The radar looks like it could fall over any minute.

At headquarters for the research center, Professor Liu discovers that a strong wave from outer space is disrupting the communications system.

Inside headquarters, I noticed a large circle of globes that alternate between orange and blue lights and serve no real scientific purpose much like the Christmas lights used aboard the Enterprise.

Just outside the research center, in the midst of the rumble a stone monster appears that suddenly transforms into an actual monster then transforms again into a woman wearing a Viking helmet. The woman is actually the super hot Chinese babe Princess Elzebub who has an evil mind.

Princess Elzebub says to Professor Liu and the rest of his crew the following:

Hear me humans, I am Princess Elzebub.
Iíve conquered Earth.
I am your new master now.
You must surrender to meÖ
Or Iíll destroy the human race.
No one will survive!!

Then she disappears in typical villain fashion.

Next, is a bizarre scene involving a burning building with a crying baby trapped inside. Rayma, the hero, saves the baby. This is followed by the entire world being hit by an electric wave.

Professor Liu urges the research center committee to begin his BDX plan.

Meanwhile, Princess Elzebub, in her lair, is commanding all her Skeleton Warriors and Ice Monsters, to attack all humans. Some of the monsters are indeed interesting and not found anywhere else except in Inframan. My favorite is a 4-foot colored Easter egg that suddenly explodes and out pops a Cousin It monster that is constantly laughing in an annoyingly high-pitched tone. My next favorite has to be the plant monster known in the movie as Plant Monster, who just happens to have plant fingers that would make the Jolly Green Giant proud.

Rayma is the Hayata type who is willing to save the Earth from all the invading monsters. Professor Liu and Rayma enter a private lab with a special security clearance to begin the BDX plan aka Inframan.

Basically, the plan involves biological hormones injected into a human body and given power via an electric wave machine. Once this is done, Inframan will have the power to resist water, fire, and thunder.

Before beginning this Frankenstein operation, Professor Liu tells Rayma,

Rayma, youíll suffer severe pain.

To which Rayma responds in the positive and the Professor pulls out a syringe with a long needle that only a licensed dentist would use.

Following the painful injection, wires are attached to Raymaís body. The Professor turns on the electric wave machine and allows it to juice up.

While all that is happening, Ice Monsters are being transported by Princess Elzebub, who is discovered to be an Ice Age Queen who has somehow adapted and survive thousands of years later.

The first monsters to appear are Mutant Dill, a short pickle-looking dark green creature who proceeds to flip over a Volkswagen and causes the vehicle to explode as soon as the roof hits concrete. There are several exploding vehicles in this movie and I wonder who the auto manufactures responsible are? Didnít the engineers take Monster attacks into consideration?

If that wasnít bad enough, Mutant Dill is still pissed as he sucker punches the driver and carries him off.

Plant Monster appears just outside the research center and is of course, unnoticed by anyone. He has the rare ability to break a hole in a wall, jump into the hole and reseal the wall to make it look as if no damage was ever done. He can then reappear on the other side of the wall using this same method.

Plant Monster goes on a rampage attacking research center guards. Bullets have no affect on him. He extends his plant fingers to grow large vines tentacles to knock over more guards with. This is much more entertaining then the first tentacle encounter in Stephen Kingís The Mist. Unlike Ultraman, people do die in Inframan as one guard is lifted up in the air by a vine tentacle and slammed into an electronic panel. This causes tiny blue lighting bolts to appear behind his head. The tentacle releases him as he falls to his death.

Meanwhile, Rayma is still going through the pains of transformation as bionic implants flash on and off his arms and legs in true Steve Austin style.

Monsters are attacking all over the place as the Professor races to finish up on Rayma. Finally the Professor uses the electric wave machine to transform Rayma to Inframan.

At first look, Inframan is a combination of Ultraman and a Kamen Rider. He has a shiny red jumpsuit with matching silver gloves and boots. The eyes are dark blue and resemble Ultraman. However the helmet is clearly Kamen Rider with antennas sticking out.

Inframan says, I feel full of energy. Inframan has several abilities such as the ability to jump higher than any human and perform mid air gymnastics, break a metal pipe with a karate kick, and is also able to switch between human size and giant size. Again, a difference between Inframan and Ultraman. Inframan also has X-ray vision and superhuman hearing and of course he can fly.

The first battle pits Inframan against the Plant Monster. Inframan scores first by cutting off a vine tentacle. The hole from the wound sprays acid that causes a wall to catch on fire on impact. Plant Monster counters by rejuvenating his tentacle. Inframan uses his X-ray vision to locate Plant Monsterís heart. Then Inframan fires off a Fire Bomb, which is a small missile that explodes after a few seconds after impact. This is followed by some mildly entertaining kung fu fighting. Inframan fires off a series of Fire Bombs on the ground where Plant Monster is standing. He then crosses his arm in Ultraman fashion to finish the creature off with a Solar Ray laser blast.

When Rayma is in human form he can transform into Inframan simply by crossing his arms and saying, Change! Inframan!

The Solar Ray laser blast is highly effective when Inframan shots one off at one unlucky monsterís privates. Just like the scene in Spaceballs: The Movie.

Inframan also copies Ultramanís transformation sound effect when he switches from human size to giant size. He also squashes one monster like a roach when Inframan is in giant size and the monster is stuck in human size.

One interesting scene is when a little girl tells a woman, I want to be Infrawoman.

Does that mean, if Infrawoman meets Inframan, that giant-sized Infrasex is possible with Earth-shattering orgasms?

Another Inframan weapon is the Thunder Fist, which is best, described by Professor Liu as a laser beam that generates 10,000 watts per centimeter that destroys everything in range!

I like the Lethal Kick, which is a flying sidekick with firework sparkles engulfing the foot. When the foot hits an opponent, the opponent takes the kick plus catches on fire.

The rest of Inframan follows the simple plot of Professor Liu and his daughter being kidnapped by Princess Elzebub to which Inframan must come to the rescue.

I wonít spoil the ending for anyone. All I can say is that the last half hour is non-stop action.

If you like Superargo, Japanese Spiderman, and El Santo, then you may want to add Inframan to your list of International Superheroes.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2010 by Jason Fetters. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.