Film: Giant Monster Gamera
Giant Monster Gamera
"Gamera is a good turtle!"
~ Toshio, after Gamera has destroyed Tokyo and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
, or Daikaiju Gamera
, was produced and released in Japan by Daei studios in 1965. The film originally started life as a story about giant rats, but when the rats that were going to be used ended up being unuseable due to fleas and other reasons, the filmmakers retooled the script changed the monster(s) into a giant turtle. The film was shot in black and white, one of the last giant monster movies to be filmed like this, and is one of only two movies to portray Gamera
in a villainous manner, with the other one being its immediate sequel, Gamera vs. Barugon. Giant Monster Gamera was directed by Noriaki Yuasa, who also directed the special effects.
For the Mystery Science Theater 3000
episode see here
This film contains examples of the following:
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: While the Japanese version never had one to begin with, Gammera The Invincible does. You can listen to all of its mid-'60s grooviness here.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Toshio. At the very least, he seems to have a great deal of difficulty relating to other human beings, tends to fixate on things, lacks any real sense of self-preservation, and overall seems to have a somewhat shaky grasp on reality — hence his social problems at school, his obsession with turtles, his carrying around a backpack full of rocks the size of his own head in order to "build a house for Gamera," his multiple attempts to get close to Gamera despite the obvious danger in doing so, and his continued insistence that "Gamera is a good turtle" despite the mounting property damage and human death toll resulting from the creature's actions.
- Atlantis: The stone tablet that Dr. Hidaka looks at implies that Gamera lived on the lost continent...somehow.
- Dub Name Change: Most of the main characters names were changed in the '80s dub used for Sandy Frank's version, Toshio rather infamously being given the monicker of Kenny.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: During his rampage through Tokyo, Gamera rips open a building, exposing the terrified people inside, and then roasts them to death with his fire breath.
- Friend to All Children: Gamera, although this would be ignored in the next film. It's part of why Toshio believes that Gamera is a good turtle who's only lost and confused.
- Of course, he likely kills and roasts many children during his rampages through the cities. His saving of Toshio may have been entirely accidental.
- Gentle Giant: Toshio would like to believe this about Gamera, but it's clearly not the case.
- Giant Equals Invincible: Since conventional weapons don't work, and the energy of nuclear weapons would only feed Gamera, the only feasible solution is to trap him in a rocket and send him to Mars. No, seriously.
- Giant Flyer: Gamera. This, and his love of children, is what sets him apart from Godzilla.
- Gratuitous English: How do I put this...yes, however, when the actors speak in short sentences, their English is rather good. It's when they speak in really long sentences that things get...iffy.
- Intrepid Reporter: Mr. Aoyagi, although he really just wants to be near Kyoko, even going so far as to call her his "Goddess of Luck."
- Importation Expansion: Much like King Kong vs. Godzilla, new U.N. scenes were shot for the altered 1966 American release, Gammera, the Invincible. Notable for having Brian Donlevy of Quatermass fame among the cast.
- Kick the Dog: The rail crew mocking Toshio after he nearly gets himself killed is supposed to be this.
- Stalker with a Crush: Mr. Aoyagi. He admits (casually, repeatedly, and without much prompting) that he's following Dr. Hidaka around solely to stay close to his daughter, Kyoko — and that's about the extent of their romantic interaction throughout the film, as Aoyagi never flirts with, attempts to charm, or even really has a proper conversation with Kyoko herself. Apparently that's enough, however, as Dr. Hidaka still suggests at the end of the film that Kyoko should give up whatever scientific aspirations she might have and stay with Aoyagi.
- This whole subplot is removed in the Gammera cut.
- Too Dumb to Live: Toshio certainly counts after getting on a train car heading straight for Gamera, after the monster has already destroyed most of Tokyo. The people in the nightclub who insist on continuing their dance party, despite warnings that Gamera is rampaging through the city and headed their way, also qualify.
- Turtle Power: Gamera.