The Super Inframan (1975)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2010-02-20
Summary: Silly and fun
“Inframan” gives us a pretty good idea of the type of movie about to unspool in the first few seconds when what looks like (and probably was) a plastic model of bird flops to the ground in front of a bus full of kids. Their chaperone and the kids escape but the brave driver falls straight into hell through the cracks in the earth from the bird.

The bird is harbinger not of spring but of the evil Princess Elzibub who has come from outer space to take over the world. Monsters, skeleton men and a very comely second in command will make sure her wishes are carried out. The monsters are reminiscent of those devised by Maurice Sendak in “Where the Wild Things Are” or even his sets for the opera “The Magic Flute”. There is non-stop action as the outnumbered and outgunned defenders of earth face the seemingly inexhaustible force of the princess. The action scenes aren’t very good as such—since everyone is wearing some type of costume and some (the Mutant Drill, the Plant Monster and several Snow Monsters are encumbered with heavy, clunky outfits that don’t lend themselves to the stances, punches and kicks of traditional Shaw Brothers martial arts, although that is what they have been given to do.

The worst special effect is the wig worn by Wang Hsieh which looks strange and makes him look ridiculous. The wig, which shifts position slightly from one scene to the next, combined with an outrageously campy costume which is highlighted by a three-quarters length lab coat made of a shiny fabric, contrasting epaulets and Edwardian cut lapels don’t really give him the gravitas needed for his character, a brilliant scientist who is also a brilliant military strategist. Terry Lau Wai-Yue goes him one better, wearing a black plastic minidress, with a gold belt that has a huge gold skull as its buckle, knee high boots, elbow length gloves, a headdress with horns and a beak plus a vest that has large golden claws over her breasts. Dana’s costume is in the same vein but of silver and without quite so many horns and beaks.

The skeleton men wear black tights with bright white bones painted or sewn onto them. They carry what might be a unique weapon—at least one I hadn’t seen before. It looks like a short spear but instead of a traditional spearhead it has a bulbous ball at the end with a sharp point coming from that. They are used as clubs, occasionally as spears, but their real usefulness comes when the skeleton man is cornered—it turns out that the ball is actually a bomb which explodes when smashed against an opponent or anything else. Clearly this use of the weapon would be as a last resort since it destroys itself in being used.

The monsters (Drill, Plant, Ice) don’t rely on weapons—each of them has a powerful ray that shoots from this hands, his horns or his feet, immobilizing or killing whoever it hits. These rays are counteracted by Inframan’s—he is designed to be immune to thunder, water and fire plus deadly rays. He also has X-ray type vision and a special way of seeing that allows him to find a monster that has made himself invisible.

It is all good fun although the editor made a couple of bad mistakes when he included some extreme close-ups of the monsters, showing seams and stitching in the fabric costumes. Even without this none of the monsters are frightening as such although the Plant Monster who invades the research center with acid spewing and self regenerating tentacle like branches and roots is a worthy movie demon.

For years I had seen “Inframan” on the HKMDB list of Top 25 Films and ignored it as an error. Having seen it I agree with those who rate it highly—it is a lighthearted, funny, action-packed piece of cinematic fluff which never takes itself seriously.
Reviewer Score: 8