Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967)

After an eruption at Mt. Fuji, Gamera is drawn to the volcano. A young boy, Eiichi, sees Gamera and recognizes the giant flying turtle. Also drawn to the eruption is a reporter, Okabe; Eiichi brings Okabe into a cave to investigate further. The cave begins to crumble around them, however. Okaba abandons the boy only to run into the claws of a giant winged creature. After devouring the reporter, the kaiju attacks Eiichi but Gamera arrives to save the day and battle the winged monster (whom Eiichi dubs “Gyaos”).

Director: Noriaki Yuasa
Producer: Ralph Winter, Lynn Harris, David Kirschner, Adam Shankman
Writers: Niisan Takahashi
Cinematography: Akira Uehara
Editor: Tatsuji Nakashizu
Cast: Kôjirô Hongô, Kichijirô Ueda, Reiko Kasahara, Naoyuki Abe, Yoshirô Kitahara
Runtime: 86 minutes
Japanese Distributor: Daiei Film
Japanese Release Date: March 15, 1967

A scientist, Dr. Aoki deduces that Gyaos was awakened from a long hibernation by the volcanic eruptions. Meanwhile, The Chuo Expressway Corporation’s plans for a roadway face challenges when the local villagers refuse to leave. The resistance is a ploy to increase the bid on the land. However, villagers become divided on whether to sell their land or not due to Gyaos. 

As the military attempts to bomb Gyaos out of its mountain nest, Gyaos repeatedly thwarts these efforts with a powerful and far reaching laser that slices attacking jets and helicopters in half. Eventually Eiichi claims that Gyaos is nocturnal. Despite the use of military flares, however, it attacks the city of Nagoya when the sun goes down. Gamera appears and battles Gyaos once more, biting off Gyaos’ toes in the process. 

Dr. Aoki discovers that exposure to ultraviolet light causes the toes to shrink. A plan is formed to disorient Gyaos long enough for the sun to rise and kill it, using artificial blood as bait. This blood is placed in a “birdbath” contraption on top of a spinning power station. As Gyaos laps up the blood, the power station rotates and dizzies the kaiju. Right before the sun rises, however, the power station breaks down and Gyaos escapes. 

As for the expressway, it is rerouted due to Gyaos. Eiichi has an idea, however, to start a forest fire to kill Gyaos. Gyaos depletes the fire with a yellow vapor, but the fire attracts Gamera who engages Gyaos in a final showdown. Gamera kills Gyaos by dragging it into Mt. Fuji’s crater. As the authorities celebrate, Shiro affirms that work on the expressway will resume. Eiichi bids farewell to Gamera as he flies away.

THE GOOD
Movie starts with a bang. Kaiju fights are clever, unique, violent and satisfying. Gyaos is a formidable foe. Moments of anthropomorphism are hilarious. Lead child actor is dopey and heartwarming. Model work is exquisite. Pink and purple monster blood is awesome. 

THE BAD
Lots of dated special effects (animation, strings). Rubber suits are generally stiff and awkward. Gamera never seems as lively as another famous reptilian kaiju. Some pro-business/ anti-environment themes haven’t aged well. 

THE DOWNRIGHT CAMPY
That car continuing to drive after being slices in half by Gyaos’s laser beam.
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Classic. Stands the test of time by effectively blending kid-friendly characters with adult-oriented violence.

They see me rollin’…

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