Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Kojiro Hongo, Kichijirô Ueda, Reiko Kasahara, Naoyuki Abe (Gamera vs. Gyaos), Kojiro Hongo, Peter Williams, Tôru Takatsuka, Carl Craig (Gamera vs. Viras)
Both directed by Noriaki Yuasa
Distributed by Shout! Factory
Two more Gamera features have come our way courtesy of Shout! Factory, but these aren’t the extras filled packages that we’re used to. Instead of a throng of supplemental material for each flick, we get a rock ’em, sock ’em double-feature fiesta of rubber-suited chicanery!
First up – 1967’s Gamera vs. Gyaos. If Rodan had a kitchen iron for a head, shot lasers out of his mouth and was able to regenerate body parts, he totally could have been this feature’s big bad, Gyaos. In the flick the creature is discovered in an ancient cave and once free causes all manner of havoc and chaos. Good thing that the friend of children Gamera is around to protect the Earth from this flying menace and his hot beams of evisceration and death. Gyaos is probably the fiercest of all of Gamera’s big screen foes, and with good reason … although as silly looking as ever, this monster has some attitude, and as a result Gamera vs. Gyaos ends up being probably the best and most action-packed flick of the entire franchise.
From there we get 1968’s Gamera vs. Viras. Realizing that compassion for children is Gamera’s weakness, a group of aliens flying around in a ship that looks as if it’s made of several glued together bumble bees capture two boy scouts and threaten to exterminate the kids if Gamera doesn’t do their bidding by destroying the planet.
Of course the kidnapped duo free Gamera and get away, and the aliens fight back in the form of a giant squid named Viras that has to be seen to be believed. Gamera vs. Viras marks the franchise’s slow decline into absolute annoying silliness with Gamera racing kids and that damned … DAMNED … Boy Scout Choir Gamera Fight Song! My ears bleed every time that I hear it.
As mentioned before, this package is pretty much supplemental free. It should be noted, however, that Shout! Factory has provided the most stellar prints of these movies I’ve ever seen. They’re simply gorgeous, and the option to watch them with their original Japanese soundtracks is so very welcome. Although the cheesy dubbing really strikes a chord from all my childhood memories of these movies. I’m sure it’ll do the same for you.
In the end this is a pretty kickass double feature. Sure the movies are way worse than just about any Godzilla flick (with the exception of Godzilla’s Revenge; that was just ass), but they remain charming good fun!
4 out of 5
1 out of 5