Less Than Hero

Gamera: Super Monsters

There’s a reason they waited 15 years to do another Gamera movie after 1980’s Gamera: Super Monster. It took that long for the worst Gamera movie ever made to be purged from our memory banks. But the thing is, I DON’T FORGET. At least when it comes to giant monster movies. So nice try, Japan. It’ll be a cold day in Kitakyushu before you can put one over on me.

Gamera: Super Monster

Gamera: Super Monster isn’t really a stand alone movie, but rather a “greatest hits” muddled mess that relied on stock battle footage from all the other Gamera films to try and put one over on me. Zanon, an evil alien (aren’t they all?) arrives in our atmospheric zip code in a spaceship that looks suspiciously like the Imperial I-class Destroyer from Star Wars (1977). You hear his boom-y voice as he commands a Japanese (?) chick alien enlistee to enslave all of humanity. I think not; first they gotta get by Gamera, the giant turtle with reverse walrus tusks and fire that shoots out of every orifice.

Gamera: Super Monster

Where this thing rolls over on its back and can’t get up is when the three Superwomen, also from space (but working in disguise at pet shops and driving around in a Scooby Doo™ type mystery van), do some choreographed kung-fu cheerleader moves and suddenly appear in costume to put a screeching halt to this enslavement hoo-haw.

Gamera: Super MonsterOne of the Superwomen befriends a small boy with really f’d up teeth (think Timmy from South Park) who has a psychic connection to Gamera, whom the overdubbed voices think is pronounced “guh-MARE-uh” instead of something that sounds like “camera.” She gives him an enslaved turtle from the pet store, not knowing little bugger is you-know-who.

Gamera: Super Monster

Too much plot. Time to cram in stock footage of Gamera smack-smacking all his other foes: Gyaos (vampire pterodactyl with an anvil shaped head – an ongoing pain in Gamera’s protective shell), Jiger (fat ass dinosaur), Guiron (space reptile with a head shaped like a chef’s knife), Viras (giant space squid, who, when cooked properly, could be served with rice balls and any variety of noodles), Zigra (a flying shark with razor sharp dorsal fins designed to cut the gut of enemies and then feast on their guts), and Barugon, the lizard with the longest tongue ever. And he can fart rainbows. Not kidding, he really does.)

Gamera: Super Monster

The Spacewomen don’t do much more than change their clothes every five minutes and hang around while the evil space woman tries to get the other monsters to make turtle soup out of Gamera so Zanon can assume the position. Then there’s the painfully prolonged scene where she and the f’d up tooth boy transport to the beach to watch the monsters piledrive each other (cut to the stock footage), with no one else in the city even noticing the kaiju are even there.

Gamera: Super Monster

The previous seven Gamera movies – known as the Shōwa series – are camp classics, mostly made for kids, but highly entertaining to adults when augmented by some Sapporo tall boys. Note: There was supposed to be Gamera vs. Garasharp in 1972, but the movie studio went bankrupt and they sold everything to Tokuma Shoten, who promptly lifted his kimono and squeezed out the mega-turd Gamera: Super Monster. Okay, uncalled for stereotyping; He probably wore Dockers™.)

Gamera: Super Monster

Now that I think about it, they missed the boat here; a sure fire hit would’ve been to make a movie called Gamera vs. Mega-Turd. Then, as a sequel, they could’ve followed up with Gamera vs. Mecha-Turd. I have a script ready if Japan is interested in reclaiming their pop film culture heritage.

Gamera: Trilogy

Final note: If Gamera: Super Monster didn’t make you give up on giant turtles altogether, I beseech you to check out the three in the Heisei series: Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995), Gamera 2: Advent of Legion (1996 – arguably one of the best giant monster movies ever made) and Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys (1999). What followed is a prequel of sorts for the Millennium series called Gamera the Brave (2006). Extraordinarily dumb, at least Gamera, as a teenager, fights Zedus, a fairly gnarly kaiju who beats the sea water out of Gamera to the point you want the ref to stop the match. I’m big into Gamera (love you, mean it), but I got a lot of satisfaction watching the beatdown. I’m a sick dude.

One Response to “Less Than Hero”

  1. David H Says:

    I can never really give up on Gamera. However, “Gamera: Super Monster” came close to making it happen.
    But that’s the nature of B-movie fandom: Oftentimes you have to wade through a lot of swine-stuff to find a pearl. Makes the hunt all the more worthwhile.

    Maybe Gamera’s worst would be salvageable with a better soundtrack:

    And something with bacon to go with those Saporos:
    https://sistemaperalta.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/recipe-the-gamera-three-meat-turtle/

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