One Christmas long ago, I got Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of the War of the Worlds. I was excited, of course, because I loved anything War of the Worlds. The cover was incredible, featuring a a Martian tripod melting the deck of an ironclad. As I flipped through the included book of artwork, my hopes steadily grew. It was full of paintings of tripods blasting old-timey looking British people. Now that was what I’d been wanting from a War of the Worlds adaptation!
The country was, in the autumn of 1938, primed for a panic. And 23-year-old radio actor Orson Welles was primed to give them one. At 8pm on October 30, 1938, he and the Mercury Theater on the Air began a broadcast that would, if you believe the stories about believing the story, send the whole of the country into a panic, convinced the planet was under attack by Martians.
The greatest compliment you could pay an exploitation film is to say it looks like they designed the poster first and then recreated it on screen. This describes Inframan perfectly. Every scene could be bullet-pointed with the word “SEE!” SEE! Hong Kong engulfed in flames! SEE! The sorceress with an army of kung fu monsters!
At the end of Beyond the Black Rainbow, directed by Panos Cosmatos, a period of quiet contemplation is required to begin unpacking everything one has seen during the preceding 110 minutes.