Hello again Retrofiends! Have you ever asked yourself: “I wonder what Daniel Th1rte3n’s Top 10 Drive-In and Grindhouse flicks are?” Of course you have! Well, dear reader, you’re in luck for over the next few weeks I’ll be detailing my picks for must see sci-fi and horror flicks, plus I’ll be giving you a little of my personal history with each film. So, let’s start things off with a solar powered punch with my number 10 pick, China’s first superhero film, 1975’s Super Inframan!
Super Inframan concerns a group of silver jumpsuit wearin’, dirt bike ridin’ scientists who operate out of the appropriately named Science Headquarters. These men, who spend more time flipping through the air than proving a hypothesis, are called into action to battle a group of prehistoric demons, recently thawed from their cryogenic sleep. These beasts, who count a giant spider, twin robots, a walking plant, and some sort of power tool/mole hybrid, amongst their numbers, are led by a woman who may be the mother of all dragons if her name is to be believed.
The creatures prove to be a bit of a problem for our heroes, so through a process of dodgy science and animated schematics, the leader of Science Headquarters transforms Rei Ma into a juggernaut of monster killing destruction…The Super Inframan! And boy does he ever kill monsters. Utilizing everything from miniature missiles to laser rays to Thunder Ball Fists, Inframan dispatches demons with extreme prejudice! Monsters are stepped on (producing a torrent of goo), sliced, diced, and decapitated (in the case of Princess Dragon Mom multiple times!).
All of this sent me into overload the first time I viewed the film. I remember catching it during Christmas break in the mid 80’s. I was captivated by the film, and when it had ended, I bundled up, headed outside into the frigid winter air, and proceeded to go completely bananas mimicking Inframan’s distinct fighting poses…in the front yard…where every passing car could see me. Sometimes I wonder what they thought as they drove by. I’m sure it was something akin to: “Now, there’s a bad dude that could really mess up a monster’s day.” Or perhaps: “Ahh, young Mister Th1rte3n, there’s a lad that has truly mastered the art of the Thunder Ball Fist!” But most likely it was: “His poor parents”.
Super Inframan, like so many of the films I’ll be talking about in the coming weeks, is pure fun. These types of films never failed to fire my imagination as a child. If you’d like to experience some of the fun yourself, you can pick up your own copy of Super Inframan here. Also, a special thanks to Sean Hartter for providing the excellent art that accompanies this article!
Next up: a warrior from the past…or is it the future? Stay spooky!