The X from Outer Space (1967)
Director: Kazui Nihonmatsu
Screenwriters: Eibi Motomochi, Moriyoshi Ishida, and Kazui Nihonmatsu
A trip to Mars brings back spores that grow into a giant chicken-lizard monster that destroys much of Tokyo before it is defeated and sent back into space.
History shows again and again how Japan created some of the most fun films of the 1960s. But you build a tolerance. One day, a giant turtle is enough, the next day, you need a chicken. Regardless, this one holds up really well.
Strangely, Toshiyuki Watanabe gets top billing in this film. I assume he played the monster. It’s the only film he was ever in. Starting about a decade later, he would go on to be a notable film composer. Sharing credit is Mississippi native Peggy Neal as the blond scientist (her part is dubbed). Shin’ichi Yanagisawa provides comic relief. Eiji Okada (Hiroshima Mon Amour) plays Dr Kato.
The X From Outer Space is in the public domain and available via Archive.org in English and a much better wide-screen Japanese version with subtitles. It is also available in the Criterion Collection’s Eclipse Series 37: When Horror Came to Shochiku along with Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell, The Living Skeleton, and Genocide.