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Daikaijū Gamera

Entry updated 2 November 2020. Tagged: Film.

Film (1965; vt Gamera). Daiei. Directed by Noriaki Yuasa. Written by Fumi Takahashi. Cast includes Albert Dekker (US version), Brian Donlevy (US version), Diane Findlay (US version), Eiji Funakoshi and Harumi Kiritachi. 88 minutes. Colour.

This was Daiei Studios' answer to the enormously successful Gojira ["Godzilla"] films from Toho Studios. Gamera is a giant prehistoric turtle, restored to life by nuclear testing. It attacks Tokyo, naturally, but is captured and sent into space. The US version had extra footage showing Americans, not Japanese, discovering how to eliminate Gamera! The Gamera films were, apart from the Gojira films, Japan's most successful Monster Movies. The first six sequels, all directed by Yuasa except the first (for which he did the special effects), are: Gamera Tai Barugon (1966), directed by Shigeo Tanaka, released in English as Gamera vs. Barugon, in which Gamera returns from space, now apparently jet-propelled, and fights a giant lizard that has a lethal rainbow field around it; Gamera Tai Gaos (1967; vt Daikaijū Kuchusen), released in English as Gamera vs. Gaos (vt The Return of the Giant Monsters), in which Gaos is a bad scaly monster that hates sunlight and Gamera (like Godzilla, he rapidly became a good monster) saves children; Gamera Tai Viras (1968; vt Gamera Tai Uchukaiju Bairasu), released in English as Gamera vs. Viras (vt Gamera Versus Outer Space Monster Viras; vt Destroy All Planets), in which two boy scouts save Gamera from Alien control; Gamera Tai Guiron (1969), released in English as Gamera vs. Guiron (vt Attack of the Monsters), in which Gamera saves children from brain-eating female aliens and their knife-headed monster; Gamera Tai Daimaju Jaiga (1970), released in English as Gamera vs. Jiger (vt Gamera vs. Monster X; vt Monsters Invade Expo 70), in which nasty Jiger lays an egg inside Gamera, a parasite (see Parasitism and Symbiosis) hatches and starts sucking his blood, and children in a mini-submarine enter his veins to help out; and Gamera Tai Shinkai Kaiju Jigura (1971), released in English as Gamera vs. Zigra (vt Gamera Versus the Deep Sea Monster Zigra), in which there is an anti-Pollution theme, bad aliens, and a very bad script. Later revivals include Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995) and Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996), both of which won the media Seiun Award. [PN]

see also: Cinema.


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