I’ve been looking at picking up the blu ray set of the 1973 show Horror Theater Unbalance. The show is the product of Eiji Tsuburaya’s original vision for Ultra Q (codenamed Unbalance) before Fuji TV pushed him to create a more family friendly Kaiju show.
It’s a purely horror take on The Twilight Zone (the original Unblance was have more variety) and has some of the best Japanese directors of the period in charge including, Seijun Suzuki, Toshiya Fujita (Lady Snowblood), and Yasuharu Hasebe (Stray Cat Rock, Female Prisoner Scorpion: Grudge Song).
The timing for these guys is especially interesting. Seijun Suzuki was still blacklisted from the major studios and Nikkatsu had gone exclusively in to roman porno where Hasebe ended up spending most of the rest of his career. So you have three extremely talented directors locked in to fates beyond their control being given the opportunity to make some solid 45 minute horror movies.
It’s interesting to think how different the Japanese pop culture landscape would be had Tsuburaya gone with his original vision for Ultra Q. Not that Unbalance ever would have had the success of Ultraman (as the relative obscurity of Horror Theater Unbalance shows), but it would be quite the alternate history.