Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Gamera vs. Monster X (a.k.a., War of the Monsters) (1970).
We're in the home stretch now, nearly done with the first series of Gamera films. This one -- variously called "Gamera vs. Jiger," "Gamera vs. Monster X" or "War of the Monsters" -- was among the hardest to find for a number of years, until the advent of bargain bin DVDs.
In preparing for the 1970 World's Fair in Tokyo, someone disturbs an ancient statue, releasing Jiger/Monster X upon the world. Things get stomped up a bit, then Gamera flies in to save the day. It's all pretty standard kaiju stuff for the period... Until the monster injects its larvae into Gamera, which prompts the kids to take a ship, "Fantastic Voyage" style, inside Gamera to fish them out. That little bit of weirdness is refreshing after seeing the Gamera formula run into the ground over the past few films.
And guess what? No stock footage! (Amazing, I know.) However, on the negative side, the rubber suits look especially ludicrous this time around. So, you can't win them all.
Gamera's fallen and can't get up. D'oh!
If there are any auteurs behind the Gamera series, they are writer Nisan Takahashi (who scripted all seven of the original films, along with the 1980 rehash) and director Noriaki Yuasa (who directed seven of those eight films, plus served as special effects director for "Gamera vs. Barugon").
Sick of flying turtle movies yet?
Take a Look:
Some condensed highlights: