Back in the Fifties, the Japanese film production company Daiei planned to make a movie in which a vast plague of rats attacks Tokyo, ending with one last, Godzilla-sized rat on a rampage.
This is not that film.
Not even close.
Instead we have a low budget, guy-in-a-suit rat monster movie, where the titular creature isn’t much bigger than a man.
It doesn’t even get bigger at the end, Godzilla-sized or not.
Instead, we have a group of American soldiers — all of whom are apparently Japanese and speak in Japanese — sent to an abandoned bio-research facility to capture one of the rats which have spread a terrible plague in the neighboring city.
As you’ve probably guessed, they’re the product of the secret experiments the Americans have been carrying out. However, the U.S. Government may have a more sinister plan than what the soldiers have been told: before long, they are forced to follow the advice of the lone Japanese Self Defense Force soldier who was sent to help them.
Meanwhile, in the city, the plague rages on, as the doctor and his loyal nurse hope that the U.S. Army will give them what they need to make a cure.
This sounds like a classic monster movie, but there are too many problems holding it back. Our team of soldiers gets killed off early, the hospital scenes aren’t tied strongly enough to the rest of the action — even at the end — and we spend far too much time with the two surviving soldiers sitting around and talking philosophically while the wait for things to happen.
Then there’s Nezulla himself.
Now the basic design wouldn’t look too bad, if we saw it fighting Godzilla or King Ghidorah (welllll…maybe Gamera or Gyaos), but it becomes far too obvious that it has just one expression, sort of a fixed snarl.
Nor can it actually bite anything.
We see far too much of it, and far too close. After a while it’s hard not to laugh.
Still, it has its moments, and it is an interesting minor effort — although I’m not sure it’s worth the effort it takes to see this obscure film.
In the end it just makes you wish that Daiei had finished Giant Horde Beast Nezura despite the fleas and lice their sewer rat stars brought with them. It would have been far more interesting.
But at least we can take a little comfort in the fact that the last remnants of that failed effort eventually became the basis for the first Gamera film.
That’s something, I guess.
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