The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly
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|The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly|
|Directed by||Mitsuo Murayama|
|Produced by||Hidemasa Nagata|
|Screenplay by||Hajime Takaiwa|
|Based on||Characters and concepts created by H. G. Wells for The Invisible Man|
|Music by||Tokujirō Ōkubo|
|Edited by||Shigeo Nishida|
The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly (透明人間と蝿男, Tōmei Ningen to Hae Otoko, lit. 'The Invisible Man and The Fly Man') is a 1957 Japanese science fiction horror film produced and distributed by Daiei Film. It was Daiei's second film based on H. G. Wells' 1897 The Invisible Man after The Invisible Man Appears. The film is directed by Mitsuo Murayama, with special effects by Toru Matoba and stars Ryuji Shinagawa, Yoshiro Kitahara, and Junko Kano.
Ryoki Watanabe, the president of Watanabe Construction, is murdered on a Japan Airlines flight. The killing took place in a bathroom none of the stewardesses can recall anyone else entering. None of the passengers interviewed by the police knew him, although one, Doctor Hayakawa, postpones his interview due to a recent heart attack. The police chief suggests a link to two equally unexplained bank robberies that took place in recent months. Chief Inspector Wakabayashi notes that the victims in all three cases offered no apparent resistance, and died in a state of character. Interviewing Hayakawa and his daughter Akiko, Wakabayashi alarms them by joking that the perpetrator must have been invisible. Working with Dr. Tsukioka, Hayakawa has just recently unlocked the key to invisibility while studying cosmic rays. Their assistant Sugimoto demonstrates their machine by turning a glass invisible, but says they've never tested it on anything living.
The bank robber strikes again, with no evidence they even entered the safe save for a matchbox from a nightclub called Asia. The owner, Tatsuya Kuroki, denies all involvement. He introduces Wakabayashi to Hajime, his bartender and a karate hobbyist. Soon after, another murder takes place: a man seems to materialize behind a woman named Noriko Maeda before stabbing her and vanishing. Detective Tada happens to be on the scene, and hears a buzzing sound as she points to the sky. Kuroki has an alibi; so does Maeda’s boss, Kusunoki.
Following Hajima as he walks to visit one of Asia’s dancers, Mieko, Wakabayashi watches him bat at what appears to be a fly. He too is fatally attacked after rounding a corner, with Wakabayashi arriving too late to see the murderer. He too hears a buzzing. His fellow investigator Hayama uncovers a connection between Watanabe and several earlier victims: all were assigned to the same secret military project at the end of World War II. After comparing notes with Wakabayashi, Tada brings up the buzzing they both heard. Wakabayashi calls Sugimoto, who considers a shrinking human theoretically possible, but unlikely in practice. Determined to prove that invisibility has practical applications, Sugimoto interrupts the Hayakawas’ dinner wearing an invisible cloak and gloves. The ray only worked on the parts of him less exposed to sunlight, so he needs the accessories to achieve the full effect.
The murderer, a twisted smile on his face, strikes again, stabbing Kuroki. He takes out a vial and releases the gas within, shrinking himself down to diminutive size. Buzzing through the air, he visits Kusunoki next—and the businessman sets down a pool of liquid which restores him to his normal size. Convicted as a war criminal and left stranded on the island where he helped develop the shrinking gas, Kusunoki has been using it to take revenge on his former associates, although he’s almost run out of the ampoules. His hitman, Yamada, has become addicted to it and more sadistic as a result, killing Maeda, Hajima, and Kuroki over his possessiveness of Mieko. His next victim is Hayama, who he outmaneuvers during a nighttime chase.
Tsukioka attempts to develop a machine to cure invisibility, but the ray it emits proves lethal when tested on rabbits. At Asia, Yamada uses another ampoule to lust over Mieko undetected, though it backfires when she mistakes him for a fly and swats him away. Enraged, he kills her just before she walks on stage. Wakabayashi has no luck advancing his human fly theory before the police chief, and with the bodies piling up, he begs Tsukioka to turn him invisible to crack the case. The scientist refuses on moral grounds. As Hayakawa and Sugimoto continues to work on a cure, Yamada infiltrates the lab and kills them both. After the funeral, Tsukioka uses the invisibility ray on himself. He drops in on Yamada and Kusunoki, who are at odds over Yamada’s failure to steal the ray, and hears them plan a second attempt. Once inside the lab again, Yamada dives into a vat of chemicals, killing him instantly. The police discover his remains at normal size, but with no possible mode of entry besides the vents, Wakabayashi deduces that he was the human fly.
The detectives charge Kusunoki with the murders, but seem to have no proof until Tsukioka enters the office, offering his testimony. Asking to change in the next room before he goes down to the station, Kusunoki uncorks an ampoule and escapes. With all of Tokyo on alert, Kusunoki kills a passerby, then calls Wakabayashi and Tsukioka to demand the invisibility ray. When Tsukioka refuses, he sets off a bomb beneath a train, killing 790 passengers, and threatens to do it again the following week.
Wakabayashi meets Kusunoki atop the Marunouchi Building to hand over the device. The human fly arrives by helicopter, allowing him to spot the soldiers surrounding the building. He reveals he’s already set the next bomb to explode, then demands Tsukioka reveal himself. Instead, Wakabayashi attacks him during the handoff, foiling his efforts to set off an ampoule, but loses his gun. As he flies away, he reveals that he planted the bomb on faraway Christmas Island. To their surprise, he returns to the helipad moments later, held at gunpoint by Akiko, now invisible herself. He manages to disarm her, but Wakabayashi shoots him off the roof.
Tsukioka, having perfected the invisibility cure, agrees to turn the machine over to the government, but not before using it one last time on himself and Akiko to give a group of reporters the slip.
- Ryuji Shinagawa as Dr. Tsukioka, the Invisible Man
- Yoshiro Kitahara as Chief Inspector Wakabayashi
- Junko Kano as Akiko Hayakawa
- Yoshihiro Hamaguchi as Detective Hayama
- Shozo Nanbu as Dr. Hayakawa
- Joji Tsurumi as Sugimoto, Dr. Hayakawa's Assistant
- Bontaro Miake as Chief of the Metropolitan Police
- Ichirō Izawa as Kōkichi Kusunoki, the Human Fly
- Chujo Shizuo as Yamada, the Human Fly
- Naoko Matsudaira as Noriko Maeda
The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly was released in Japan on August 25, 1957 as a double feature with Suzunosuke Akado: The Vacuum Slash of Asuka and Headbutt and Karate Chop (頭突きと空手チョップ). The film and its precessor were never released outside of Japan until Arrow Video released the film on Blu-ray on March 15, 2021.
- Elson, Devon (2021-03-13). "The Invisible Man Appears (1949) | The Invisible Man vs The Human Fly (1957) • Blu-ray [Arrow…". Medium. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
- "頭突きと空手チョップ : 作品情報". 映画.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2021-05-26.
- The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly (1957), retrieved 2021-04-30