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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Review: GAMERA VS. BARUGON (1966)

The next one from our big list of movies to watch is Gamera vs. Barugon (1966), second in the turtle franchise.

As I've had to do before, I'll try to forget the ribbing it took from MST3K (though I'll post a "best of" video at the end).

James goes first:
Well I thought this would be boring, but it's not.  Gamera attacks the dam for his hot tub, get grape jelly from Barugon, The God of Rainbows, and then gets ice from Barugon's coolness (literally), And now, his chores are done, and his treat is going swimming with Barugon, and going to his funeral too! 
So movie rating wise, i'll say 3.006 Atomic Breaths of Awesomeness!
My turn:
Behold Barugon: the only monster born because some guy had athlete's foot. 
And what's with the name, Daiei?  Obviously, you were trying to capitalize on the previous year's movie monster, Bar*A*gon.  I mean, look at the poster from Frankenstein Conquers the World:

Same.  What the Zigra? 
To the movie itself ... it's pretty damn dark for this stretch of Gamera films.  No cutesy (annoying) kids ... no humor whatsoever.   
Other than being dark, the human side of things drags on far too long.  You get a recap of Gamera at the beginning, followed by a quick attack on a dam by the turtle.  Then it's 35 minutes of guys looking for an opal and one bad guy scheming to get it.  Then, thanks to the aforementioned dude's athlete's foot infrared treatment lamp, the opal hatches Barugon. 
His initial attack looks great.  There's a grittiness, almost, to the way it's shot.  It's dark and well done.   And then he unleashes his weapons. 
When the Gamera people want to get goofy, brother, they get goofy.  There's his super extend-o-tongue which somehow also emits a freezing vapor cloud.  But that's not sufficiently silly.  No.  "Let's have him shoot a giant energy rainbow from his back."  So they did. 
There's something kinda funny about this dark movie having a monster that shoots rainbows in it. 
This movie also starts the traditional structure of how the monster fights go. 1) Antagonist monster appears and attacks, 2) Gamera confronts and is wounded/incapacitated, 3) antagonist continues attack after humans wring their hands, 4) Gamera recovers and defeats foe.  We also get the first spouting of kaiju blood, too.  Gamera will bleed gallons of mint green paint in films to come, but Barugon oozes first here.  Purple, of course. 
Then there's some plans about using shiny things to attract Barugon and using helicopters to make it rain (but not with singles) ... It gets even more dull than the first stretch of the film with that murderous fungal-footed thief.  The only highlight, really, is when that thief is snatched up by the monster's surprisingly dexterous tongue.  Then they build Archimedes Death Ray to give him blistery, purple-bloodied wounds.  Gamera wakes up, natch, and drowns him.  Ta-da. 
Gamera vs. Baragon ... "God of Rainbows," indeed.  3 out of five atomic breath blasts.
Here's the trailer:

Here are some of best moments from its appearance on MST3K:

Up next, the first film in the Daimajin trilogy.  We've never seen it before, so we're excited.

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