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Movie Review: ‘Gamera vs. Guiron’

Gamera vs. Guiron

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Known in the United States as Attack of the Monsters, 1969’s Gamera vs. Guiron is one of the stranger Gamera movies, and that in itself is saying something. It is the first movie to take place on another planet, features a pair of flesh-eating female aliens, and at last locks in the gimmick that Gamera is the protector of children. Equally demented and amusing, Gamera vs. Guiron is a must-see kaiju flick for fans of the genre.

Japanese poster for "Gamera vs. Guiron."
Japanese poster for "Gamera vs. Guiron."Daiei Motion Picture Company
DVD cover for "Gamera vs. Guiron."
DVD cover for "Gamera vs. Guiron."Daiei Motion Picture Company

The story centers on a couple of young boys, Akio (Nobuhiro Kajima) and Tom (Chystopher Murphy), who through a telescope watch as a spacecraft lands in a nearby field. Akio tells him mom about the spaceship, but she blows him off, believing the story is just her son’s imagination. Tagged along by Tomoko (Miyuki Akiyama), Akio’s younger sister, Akio and Tom run off to check out the spacecraft. To their horror, the boys find themselves trapped in the spaceship, which soon takes off, leaving poor Tomoko behind.

At first the boys are scared, but they are soon relieved when Gamera shows up and races alongside (much like the submarine sequence in Gamera vs. Viras). The spacecraft begins to accelerate, leaving Gamera behind. The boys then land on an unknown planet, where silver space Gyaos are attacking. Fortunately, the planet has it own monster, the machete-headed Guiron, that horrifically attacks one of the vampire bats, cutting it into several pieces.

Once an advanced civilization thrives on this planet, which the boys soon discovered is named “Tera.” The only remaining survivors are a pair of Japanese-looking girls named Barbella and Florbella. At first the girls are kind to the boys, but soon it is discovered that the aliens actually wish to feast on the boys’ brains. They also wish to go to the Earth, where they can eat even more brain!

Fortunately, Gamera soon makes the scene, but the alien females dispatch their guard god Guiron to defend them once again. The two engage in a killer fight, one in which Guiron unleashes a new weapon—throwing stars from the sides of his head! At first Gamera is defeated, enabling the alien females to begin making their escape. However, Akio and Tom interfere, freeing Guiron from the aliens’ mind-control device.

Guiron attacks the escaping spaceship, cutting it in half and killing Barbella. Gamera then shows up, and another fight breaks out. Florbella attempts to escape in a rocket, but Guiron cuts in half, killing her. Gamera then rams the still-burning-half of the rocket into Guiron—Gamera uses her flame breath to explode the rocket, killing Guiron. Gamera then becomes a welder, using a refined type of her flame breath to weld the spaceship so that the giant turtle can return the boys to Earth, where their worried parents are anxiously waiting for their return.

Gamera vs. Guiron is arguably one of the most demented and violent of the Gamera Showa series of movies. The battle between Guiron and the space Gyaos ends with Guiron chopping the giant bat into several pieces. The alien females actually trap poor Akio and shave his head so that they can access his brain to eat it! And then there’s the final battle between Gamera and Guiron, where the terrapin uses a missile to blow up the guard dog.

Despite the bizarre plotline, the movie is geared toward a young audience, with adults playing a secondary role. The lead roles are both male boys, with a little girl as a second banana. The music, complete with the Gamera them song, is very juvenile, and of course Gamera is the friend of children throughout the movie. The adult roles are delegated toward unbelievers, with the one believer—Officer Kondo (Kon Omura)—portrayed like a buffoon.

Although not as elaborate as some of previous adversaries, Guiron is a pretty good creature. From his sleepy eyes and ability to jump great distances to his throwing starts and machete head, Guiron is at heart a four-legged “softie” manipulated by the alien females to protect their planet and carry out their diabolical plans.

Gamera vs. Guiron boasts cheap sets and special effects, hilarious props, even funnier dialogue, and comedy relief that will leave some of you scratching your head. However, there is plenty of monster action and violence that no Godzilla movie could even touch. Also, previous monster footage is kept to a minimum. However, there is little destruction in the movie. Bottom line: watch Gamera vs. Guiron because it’s weird, cheesy (watch as Gamera shows off her gymnastics skills), and admittedly just plain fun.

The original Japanese version of Gamera vs. Guiron is available on the recently released Gamera Legacy Collection. This bare-bone collection offers 11 Gamera movies but no commentaries or extras. Gamera vs. Guiron in this collection is in its original Japanese with English subtitles.