Gamera vs. Gyaos / Gamera vs. Viras Noriaki Yuasa

Gamera vs. Gyaos / Gamera vs. Viras Noriaki Yuasa
A quote from John Waters: "My favourite movie idea is to do a movie where everything's fake: the trees, the grass, even the sun." Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967), the third entry in everyone's favourite giant flying turtle franchise, beat him to the punch. Here is a movie where every single detail is boldly, unabashedly artificial. Of course, it goes without saying that Gamera is simply a stuntman in a turtle costume (or, in some cases, a small puppet), and it's hard to feel intimidated by his giant bat/pterodactyl enemy (Gyaos) when you can see the creases in his rubber skin. But look at the cave where Gyaos is hiding: the obviously plastic walls are bathed in green lighting, and when the cave begins to quake, the same couple of Styrofoam "rocks" keep falling over and over again. Or look at the many instances in which a real military jeep will become a tiny toy car in the next shot. Or the fact that Tommy (the latest little boy who Gamera befriends) is somehow present at all government anti-monster strategy meetings. Or the fact that the Japanese military seriously believes getting Gyaos dizzy is a worthwhile plan. Or the fact that immediately after Gyaos is defeated, following a series of attacks that cause untold levels of devastation, the first thing a government official says to a construction coordinator is, "Isn't it great? You can continue [building] your road now." There's nothing about Gamera vs. Gyaos that's in any way similar to the world we inhabit; it's certainly not a good movie, but it has a lot of naïve charm, along with all the turtle-on-bat/pterodactyl action you could reasonably hope for. Alas, this DVD pairs it with the worst film of the original Gamera series ― Gamera vs. Viras (1968) ― which shamelessly pillages scenes from earlier Gamera films. Not only are we treated to a ten-minute "flashback" montage of previous Gamera fights, but we also get to see plenty of old footage in the ostensibly present-day action, which gets just a little bit noticeable when the image turns black-and-white for extended periods. There's also a plot, with two little boys being held hostage by spacemen that have taken control of Gamera to try to bring the world to its knees. And, because there must be a rule somewhere stating that every Gamera movie is to be 82 to 83 minutes long, that means a whole lot of scenes with the boys puttering around the sparsely decorated spacecraft. As usual with Shout! Factory's Gamera DVDs, the widescreen image is gorgeous, although those nostalgic for the fuzzy pan-and-scan era will enjoy the archival English dub tracks (including the hilariously awful Sandy Frank-produced one familiar to MST3K fans). The DVD also includes publicity galleries. (Shout! Factory)