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The Human Vapor (1960)

Gasu ningen dai 1 gô (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 20 May 1964 (USA)
A librarian is subject to a scientific experiment which goes wrong and transforms him into 'The Human Vapour'. He uses his new ability to rob banks to fund the career of his girlfriend, a ... See full summary »


Ishirô Honda


Takeshi Kimura


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tatsuya Mihashi ... Detective Okamoto
Kaoru Yachigusa ... Fujichiyo Kasuga
Yoshio Tsuchiya Yoshio Tsuchiya ... Mizuno, the Librarian / The 'Vapor Man'
Keiko Sata Keiko Sata ... Reporter Kyoko
Hisaya Itô Hisaya Itô ... Police Scientist
Yoshifumi Tajima Yoshifumi Tajima ... Sergeant
Yoshio Kosugi Yoshio Kosugi ... Mean Detective
Fuyuki Murakami Fuyuki Murakami ... Dr. Sano
Bokuzen Hidari ... Jiya (Fujichiyo's Attendant)
Takamaru Sasaki Takamaru Sasaki ... Police Chief
Minosuke Yamada Minosuke Yamada ... Official
Tatsuo Matsumura ... Editor Ikeda
Yôyô Miyata Yôyô Miyata ... Bank Manager
Kô Mishima Kô Mishima ... Detective Fujita
Kôzô Nomura Kôzô Nomura ... Kyoko's Fellow Reporter


A librarian is subject to a scientific experiment which goes wrong and transforms him into 'The Human Vapour'. He uses his new ability to rob banks to fund the career of his girlfriend, a beautiful dancer. The Human Vapour is ruthless in his quest for money and kills anyone who stands in his way, especially police. He soon becomes Tokyo's most wanted criminal. Can he be stopped before he kills again? Written by INFOFREAKO

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It Loves Like a Man! See more »


Crime | Sci-Fi | Thriller


Not Rated






Release Date:

20 May 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Human Vapor See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toho Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Perspecta Stereo


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When August Ragone worked at MGM, he pulled the files for both The Human Vapor and Gorath (another Brenco release) and, though they had been acquired long before May 1964, there was no indication, at least in the files, that they had been exhibited before that. MGM still owns 35mm elements Brenco used for their heavily bastardized edited versions of those films, but as he recall they were all in extremely poor condition. See more »

Alternate Versions

Although conceived as a literary and character driven story, the Japanese version, which contains footage not in the U.S. version, is told for almost the first third as a mystery. The re-edited version from Brenco has these parts of the story told from Mizuno's point of view, which Yoshio Tsuchiya prefers. See more »


Follows Densô ningen (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

An Artist and a Madman
17 June 2011 | by flapdoodle64See all my reviews

Ishiro Honda is best known for his Kaiju films, which is rather a shame because he made many other fine and creative movies. This scifi/horror mix a good example of one of his more intimate, darker and multilayered creations and is to be recommended to old-school fans of these genres.

The scifi/monster elements in this film are a variation on H G Wells' Invisible Man, although our protagonist/villain is more complicated and more tragic than Wells'. The protagonist in this film uses his superhuman powers to rob banks and finance the come-back of a Noh dancer who is recovering after a recent stay in a sanitarium, and there are a number of scenes with her dancing and wearing traditional garb...these scenes are in contrast to the eponymous protagonist, who wears a business suit and participates the sordid business of crime. Yet our protagonist loves the dancer and the dancer appears to at least partially reciprocate.

In the hands of a lessor director, this material could become boring and maudlin, yet this film is moody, suspenseful, and there is a haunting sense of impending tragedy that is maintained throughout. Certainly our protagonist has become unhinged, and there are hints that the Noh dancer may also have been at the sanitarium for mental health problems. So then, this film presents us with mix of madness, art and science fiction that is interesting on several levels...not the least of which is the love story between a fragile artist and a homicidal lunatic.

In a strange way, this film has many of the same themes as the 2010 pseudo art house flick, 'Black Swann,' yet is more deft and has more depth.

The FX, while clearly belonging to the world of 1960, are creative and tell the story, and contribute to the coherent mood of this film. The American version has been edited badly, but still conveys the major meanings. I recommend this to fans of old-school horror and scifi, and to those studying the work of Ishiro Honda.

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