Attack of the Monsters AKA: Gamera vs Guiron – movie review

This will be my last GAMERA film review for a while. I thought I could get them all in over the summer but there’s too many. I’m gonna take a break and start again next summer…

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Attack of the Monsters AKA:  Gamera vs Guiron (1969)

Director: Noriaki Yuasa

Dinosaurs and Spaceships and Turtles, oh my! And, the original KNIFEHEAD

This is the 5th movie in the Gamera Franchise. Three children witness the landing of a flying saucer in a nearby park. In the morning they go into the park and find the flying saucer unattended. Gamera vs Guiron - aka Attack of the Monsters

Sooooo, the two boys take it for a ride. It goes off on its own. Just when it seems the ship and the boys will be ripped apart by a meteor, GAMERA arrives to deflect the meteor, saving the children. The spaceship loses Gamera and lands on a planet, Terra. It’s like Disneyland only violent; cannibal girls, monsters, lazer beams. The kids see Space Gyaos attacking a city and Guiron, the original Knife-head monster, defending it. In one particular bloody scene, Gyaos shoots his lazer beam at Guiron and he deflects it off of his ‘blade’ back at Gyaos cutting off the winged beasts leg just below the knee. Ultra violent but it’s okay because the blood is blue. It seems like if they use blue blood they can get away with anything including impaling Gamera through the body with kitchen knives.

The big fight between the monsters is like a slo-mo wrestling match with a lot of blue blood. Guiron has stars that flick off the side of his head. When Gamera gets his face all cut up he falls to the bottom of the sea and goes into shock.

Yo, these space girls are cute as hell but total beotches. They gonna do some brain salad surgery on the boys. Wait, not yet… “We’ll eat their brains after we fix the ship.” (Actual quote from the film.)

Anyways, Gamera gets rejuvenated, beats Guiron on the grid iron and flys the scouts back to earth as planet Terra explodes. GAMERA saves the day!



gamera-vs-guiron-girls

Dig the groovy 60’s space costumes!


GAMERA FILM REVIEWS:

Gamera, The Giant Monster (1965)

Gamera vs Buragon (1966)

Gamera vs Gyaos (1967)

Gamera vs Viras (1968)

Gamera vs Guiron (1969)


Parlor of Horror – Creature Feature reviews

 

Gamera vs Viras (1968) – movie review

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Gamera vs Viras (1968)

Aka: Destroy all Planets

Directed by Kenji Yuasa

 

This is some great kitsch 60s Sci-fi. We see an alien spaceship, a circle of connected honey-bee orbs enter earth’ s vicinity and a computer inside begins to speak. It lists similarities to their planet and the orders for immediate takeover of the Earth. Suddenly a giant flying turtle shows up smashing half the ship and sending the remaining piece back into space in flames. Gamera is protecting the earth from enemies.

This is the first Gamera film directly aimed/made for 6-10 year-old boys as we are immediately introduced to the stars of the film, two boy scouts Masao and Jim. There’s no semblance of any kind of adult sci-fi theme or storyline. We follow them as they commandeer a Yellow Submarine (60s coincidence? Think not) and the scientists and military follow their every whim, need and command.gamera_vs_viras_1968

The boys find Gamera underwater, trapped in a bubble. It seems the alien ship is back and are researching Gamera’ s past. We get recycled footage from all the first three Gamera films. We get the entire Gamera -Barugon battle followed by a good portion of the Gamera v Gyaos city battle and end battle. Over a half hour of reused battle footage is here folks! Did they make a new movie somewhere in here? The aliens take the boys hostage to control Gamera and make him protect the spaceship.

Gamera gets the command…GAMERA DESTROY TOKYO and he does with more reused footage in b&w no less… and with a color space ship following close behind. Gotta’ laugh.

Viras speaks and he sounds like a Spanish guy with a thick moustache in a Western Movie.  He decapitates all the alien people, Pretty brutal for a kids flick and they all turn to squid. Viras absorbs them until he’s giant and the final battle may begin….finally. Ooh, an underwater battle. Queue up some exciting action hero music. Damn, Viras knifed that turtle like a burger on a grill, blue blood everywhere! But in the end Gamera comes out on top and wins the day for the boys and saves earth once again.

Needless to say, if you’re not 6 – 10 years old (or had at least seen this film at that age and want some nostalgia), you’re probably not going to like this flick.

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Cool stuff: Blinky light alien eyes, cool. Love that films wanted to portray the depth of clouds around the earth. Love that the aliens are wearing Chinese laundry uniforms from the 60s. Love the retro-60’s space designs and colors. My mom had lamps and furniture that looked like these spaceships in our house when I was a kid.

 

Gamera vs Gyaos (1967) – movie review

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Gamera vs Gyaos (1967)

Daiei Studios

Aka: Return of the Giant Monsters

 

This is a nice clean print of the film that makes it enjoyable to watch. In Gamera vs Gyaos we have not much more than the set up for three FX heavy battles between the monsters. There’s some storyline to move the plot forward about highway construction through native people’s land which causes Gyaos to wake in a secret cave. The monster soon has a taste for blood and attacks the city. It shoots a laser beam from its mouth that makes precision cuts through everything it hits. I enjoyed watching a sequence of jets being cut to ribbons by the laser ray. It looks totally fake but I was Gamera_vs_gyaos - posteramused. Gamera saves a young boy from Gyaos early in the film and brings him to an amusement park on his back where he can be taken down by the Ferris wheel. The boy becomes the main star of the film….advising the scientists and military of what actions they should take against the monsters.

 

When I had seen this in my youth, it was around the time that I noticed a difference in these monster films from the Toho films. Toho had a little bit more attention to detail for its sets and the monsters/costumes/designs were based more in reality (dinosaurs, insects, Dragons) than the Gamera films and the Ultraman series. The Gamera monsters took on a more fantasy look to them with sharp ridges and space-like angles. The light-up eyes and glowing head parts added to the fantasy element, not looking like anything in reality. However, for an eight or ten year old boy, they were no less exciting, filling lazy summer afternoons with monster action.

 

If you’re a fan of old style kaiju, nostalgic for these old films or just want to see what it was all about this is a good film to check out for its high quality.

 

 

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Gamera vs Buragon (1966) – movie review

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Gamera vs Buragon (1966)

Daiei Studios – aka: War of the Monsters (1966)

 

In Gamera’ s second film we get a recap from the original up to when the scientists had sent the big angry turtle into space in a rocket. The space capsule is immediately hit by a meteor and Gamera returns to earth in color,  attacking Korobi hydro-electric dam. Then Gamera heads to a distant volcano and isn’t seen for another 40 minutes…really? Wtf?

We get a story about a band of reckless treasure hunters in the So. Pacific that invade a sacred cave, steal a sacred opal and bring a curse upon mankind. That curse is the dreadful monster Buragon. warofmonstersThe evil leader of these hunters will not listen to reason, he wants riches only. Only he can save the world from its terrible, awful fate and rigged system…(oops! sorry got carried away there). Oh, and that opal, it wasn’t a rock, it was a rock lobster! I mean it was the egg from which Barugon hatches. The little guy is a cute son-na-bitch.

The big drawback in suitmation FX is usually four-legged Kaiju, but they do a fairly good job here at this lizardry wizardry, even providing the creature with a long battering ram tongue. The monster’s huge phallic  tongue spews white frost on everything. Then the beast’s backbone horns light up and shoot an electric rainbow decimating all of Japan’s military missiles. They explode in premature evacuation, never leaving the launch pad. I know weird, right? Luckily Gamera sees the backside rainbow and rushes to the scene to defend mankind’s missiles.

We have a nice long tug-o-war battle between the monsters and the military’s scientific weapons until Barugon’s Rainbow is shot back up his own ass by a giant mirror, and he’s then killed by water…we must not be in Kansas anymore…Gamera wins the day by unfreezing, beating Buragon and dragging him into the bay. It’s a nice action-packed, old fashioned Kaiju battle at the end, the kind of scene I relished as a young lad.

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Gamera, The Giant Monster (1965) – movie review

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Gamera, The Giant Monster (1965)

Daiei Studios

A nuclear blast in the arctic wakes a mythological turtle from its frozen depths. It attacks power plants absorbing the energy released by their explosions. We follow a group of scientists as they try and devise ways to combat this ferocious enemy. We also follow the story of young Toshio, who  loves and collects turtles. He lets a turtle go back into the wild on the same night Gamera attacks the nearby lighthouse. When Toshio looses his grip on the upper landing of the building, Gamera seems to be somehow aware of his kind treatment to his brethren and saves him from falling to his gamera-the-giant-monster-shout-factorydeath. When Gamera attacks Tokyo, the boy tries to go talk to him but is stopped by workers at the fuel plant.

There is a great amount of destruction in this film as Gamera smashes buildings in Tokyo, power plants, and the airport. In the end Toshio is happy the scientists devise a plan that doesn’t destroy the creature, but instead sends it into outer space.

Shout Factory did a marvelous job with the DVD including a documentary interviews featurette in the special features and a great Gamera booklet in the case that features the story of Gamera and a detailed diagram of the beasts biology, showing the fuel sacs that enable it to fly, absorb and breath fire, and to turn raw energy into biological food. From the doc we learn that Gamera was filmed in B&W because of its budget restrictions. In order to build the massive sets to compete with Godzilla, the money had to be saved in other areas. Daiei Studios took a big chance filming without colour when it was by then the industry standard. The b&w works well for the film, masking some of the costume and set flaws as well as giving the feel of the original Japanese Kaiju.

Although this first feature is set up as a classic sci-fi film, the connection between Gamera and young Toshio garnered a loyal following from children throughout the world. Daiei Studios seized on this youth popularity aiming it’s future films more to children and having great success with it.

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Gamera is the one of the oldest/longest running popular franchises only behind Godzilla, James Bond and the British “Carry-on” comedies.  The new planned film for 2016/17 would be the 14th film in the franchise. Daiei Motion Picture Company and now is currently owned by Kadokawa pictures.

Gamera - the giant monster - diagram

Creature Feature reviews on Parlor of Horror

Dinosaurs in movies overview and link list on Parlor of Horror (includes giant monsters)