Eclipse Series 37
Japanese genre filmmakers of the late 1950s and '60s could range far ahead of what was permitted in American studio films. Japanese gangster pictures were more brutal, their juvenile delinquency pictures more frank about sex and their dramas more willing to include radical political sentiments.

For science fiction/horror fans, Japan’s Shochiku Company Limited always ran a distant third to Toho and Daiei, producers of the Godzilla and Gamera monster franchises, respectively, despite a long history of film production and distribution dating back to 1920. Over the decades, Shochiku produced hundreds of shomin-geki, arthouse, ghost, and anime films, including many by such respected directors as Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Nagisa Oshima, Akira Kurosawa and Takashi Miike.

In 1967 the Shochiku studio launched a brief commercial foray into fantasy, horror and science fiction, hoping to break new commercial ground. The Eclipse Series 37 DVD set When Horror Came to Shochiku gathers these four eccentric thrillers into one package.

These films feature rather unique monsters and showcase distinctive aesthetic styles. Furthermore, and perhaps due to the influence of Shochiku, these flicks appear to have a unique sense of gravitas combined with somewhat dazzling and psychedelic visuals, an alluring mixture not commonly seen in other Japanese horror films of that period.

4xDVD5 | NTSC 16:9 | 336 min | 17 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi

The X from Outer Space 1967
When a crew of scientists returns from Mars with a sample of the space spores that contaminated their ship, they inadvertently bring about a nightmarish earth invasion. After one of the spores is analyzed in a lab, it escapes, eventually growing into an enormous, rampaging beaked beast. An intergalactic monster movie from longtime Shochiku stable director Kazui Nihonmatsu, The X from Outer Space was the first in the studio’s short but memorable cycle of horror pictures.

Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell 1968
After an airplane is forced to crash-land in a remote area, its passengers find themselves face-to-face with an alien force that wants to possess them body and soul—and perhaps take over the entire human race. Filled with creatively repulsive effects—including a very invasive bloblike life-form—Hajime Sato’s Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell is a pulpy, apocalyptic gross-out.

The Living Skeleton 1968
In this atmospheric tale of revenge from beyond the watery grave, a pirate-ransacked freighter’s violent past comes back to haunt a young woman living in a seaside town. Mixing elements of kaidan (ghost stories), doppelganger thrillers, and mad-scientist movies, Hiroshi Matsuno’s The Living Skeleton is a wild and eerie work, with beautiful widescreen, black-and-white cinematography.

Genocide 1968
The insects are taking over in this nasty piece of disaster horror directed by Kazui Nihonmatsu. A group of military personnel transporting a hydrogen bomb are left to figure out how and why swarms of killer bugs took down their plane; the answer is more deliriously nihilistic—and convoluted—than you could imagine. Also known as War of the Insects, Genocide enacts a cracked doomsday scenario like no other.

Download Eclipse Series 37: When Horror Came to Shochiku: The X from Outer Space (1967), Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968), The Living Skeleton (1968), Genocide (1968) 4 x DVD5: