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Category:    Home > Reviews > Giant Monster Cycle > Japan > Gamera Vs. Gyaos/Gamera Vs. Viras + Gamera Vs. Guron/Gamera Vs. Jiger (1967 – 1970/Shout Factory DVDs)

Gamera Vs. Gyaos/Gamera Vs. Viras + Gamera Vs. Guron/Gamera Vs. Jiger (1967 – 1970/Shout Factory DVDs)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Films: C+



Before the Daiei Studios went bankrupt, hey had a moderate success in their Gamera films, but it was not enough to save the studio as a cash cow, even when they were more violent (as compared to the Toho Godzilla films and all related characters) but they all have their moments and Shout! Factory has issued films, three, four, five and six in two double feature DVDs.


Gamera Vs. Gyaos/Gamera Vs. Viras continues the adventures of our favorite flying turtle-like hero (and reformed villain) as he battles two interesting opponents.  Gyaos is essentially a giant vampire monster and one of his best adversaries.  I like the film as much as any here or in the series though it was an improvement over the previous two sequels.  Made in 1967, it may be the darkest of all the original sequels and is the original series at its best.  The 1968 Viras film starts as Gamera running into an evil alien ship made of interconnected concentric circle balls/spheres and fighting it, but those killer aliens return with another ship and more dirty tricks in this nice change of pace howler.


Gamera Vs. Guron/Gamera Vs. Jiger shows budgetary strains on the series and the recycling of footage from the older films becomes as embarrassing as later Saturday Morning serials would to save money.  You could get away with this pre-home video, but it did not help the series, nor did the obsession that children must be in so many scenes more so than Toho would have ever allowed.  The Guron film from 1969 offers another strong opponent for Gamera and that works well, as a creature that is a killer rhino with a giant blade nose.  That leaves Jiger (1970) which has the advantage of being shot at the Expo ’70 World’s Fair in Osaka and makes good use of this, but it only goes so far as we get amusing model work and a monster that has sharp tusk horns (despite being a lizard-like creature) and the series became trapped in its own formula despite all the good work that went into each film.


All are still worth your time and are the classics, save Gamera Vs. Zigra (1971), which Shout! has not announced and was not issued in the U.S. until a 1987 VHS release!  Still, to get the first seven films out on DVD at all is an achievement and long overdue.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is in color in all cases was shot in Daieiscope and though restoration has been done here, these DVDs are a little soft, with color that ranges from striking to dulled.  I would like to see these on Blu-ray and on film to compare the variances.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 English Mono dub and original Japanese Mono are good for their age, though you can hear the various aural limits throughout.  The only extras are Publicity Stills galleries for all four films.


You can read about the previous Gamera DVDs at these links:


Gamera (1965)



Gamera Vs. Barugon (1966)




-   Nicholas Sheffo


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