El hombre perseguido por un O.V.N.I. [The Man of Ganimedes] (1976)

Someone described Juan-Carlos Olaria, the director of this film, as a Spanish Ed Wood.

Which, of course, was one of the main reasons for watching this one.

The Man from Ganimedes offers a very strange narrative: a writer who churns out pulp Westerns and Detective Thrillers for a set price is suffering from writer’s block.  Little does he realize that aliens are watching his every move and have sinister plans for him.

So they push his car off a cliff while he’s visiting the local goodtime girl, then chase him around, trying to capture him.

Now the robot/zombie/mutant/whatever the heck they’re supposed to be-s prove to be rather…inept.  I mean, heck they can disintegrate things, or pull them up into the air with tractor beams, and they have to push his car off a cliff?  They are also rather fragile and he easily beats their heads in and escapes.

Naturally, by the time the police arrive, there is no evidence and even his wrecked car has vanished.

However, the aliens aren’t about to give up as they want to abduct him for the strangest reason imaginable.  So they keep trying, disintegrating a few people and cars here and there…

For all that this film was shot on Super 8 with an absurd budget (or lack thereof) it’s actually moderately impressive, without any really noticeable mistakes and effects which look far better than anyone had any reason to expect.  In particular, the final fate of the aliens’ flying saucer is quite good, even if it isn’t too hard to guess how they did it.

This is also a fairly surreal sort of film, not only do we have talk of antimatter, doubles and a weird motive for the aliens actions, but there is a very creepy dream sequence, the  credits feature a lengthy chase shot in negative, and then there is the strange fate of the hero’s car (and his final, utterly absurd, encounter with it).

The film is actually in the Catalan dialect rather than Spanish, not that most viewers will note the difference.  I’m left wondering if the crew of the flying saucer, whose dialogue was all subtitled but which sounds as if it is in Spanish or at least one of the other Romance languages.  Considering all the attempts to gain Catalan independence one does wonder whether this is a sneaky little in-joke.

What, we can’t understand that, it’s in Spanish!

As goofy, eccentric and surreal as this one is , it mostly makes sense.  That does mean that Juan-Carlos Olaria was not a Spanish Ed Wood.  Instead we get a film which is mostly competent despite its limited nature; which throws in a little TNA for those who think such things are important; and which is weird, strange and quirky enough to be fun.

It seems a shame, though, that Juan-Carlos only ever dabbled in film and never made another feature or got the chance (or funding) to make anything better.  You never know, he might have made something even more interesting.

…Or perhaps he might have proved that he really was the Spanish Ed Wood…





And check out our new Feature (Updated June 11, 2020):

The Rivets Zone:  The Best SF Movies You’ve Never Seen!

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