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, The Giant Monster (1965) – movie review

gamera giant monster - 08

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)