War of the Monsters (1966)

After a spectacular opening featuring Gamera's return to Earth and his destruction of a hydroelectric plant, this Kaiju flick drops off into a rather mundane effort. A group of thieves arrive at a remote island to steal a fabled treasure, but the opal they seek hatches to become the monsterous Barugon, a giant ice-breathing lizard! The first third plays out more like a precursor to Action/Adventure films like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and takes time in developing each of the human characters that tie together the giant monster battles. While the film composites, miniature work, and cinematography show improvements over the original, the design of Gamera's first major foe Barugon is the embodiment of the cheap rubber monster stereotype. The costume destroys the illusion with its lifeless eyes and rigid movement, and unfortunately Barugon receives nearly twice the screentime as the superior Gamera suit. The monster brawls are OK in this one, but are few and far between. What is surprising is the ferocity given to Barugon as he destroys the city and chews through its citizens. There is a little fun to be had in this one, but it is far inferior to its rivals in the GODZILLA series.

Rating: 4/10.
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  1. This one had a bigger budget than the previous Gamera film. The film underperformed compared with the prior feature, so the order was given to make them more kid friendly even though the violence towards the creatures is cranked up considerably. You're gonna really dislike the next entry. It is loaded with stock footage. But it's not presented in as lively a manner as the later SUPER MONSTER (1980).

    ATTACK OF THE MONSTERS (GAMERA VS. GUIRON) you may enjoy for the OTT nature of the plot. Female aliens pursue two children to eat their brains(!) and it's Gamera to the rescue as well as dueling with the giant living knife, Guiron. MONSTER X is pretty damn good, IMO and GAMERA VS. ZIGRA is the pits. Barely watchable at all.

  2. That much was definitely apparent, the quality of the filming was very much improved even if the overall film was not.

    We'll see how the remaining two go, its clear from the start that Toho had the upper hand in the subgenre, but Im still willing to give all of the flicks a chance!

  3. Did you manage to get a copy of GAMERA VS. MONSTER X (aka GAMERA VS. JIGER)? That one has lots of action and the best Gamera "death" scene. You'll notice that each Gamera sequel features a scene wherein the turtle is brought near death in some way and must recover. In this entry, Jiger injects Gamera with a parasite and the two boys have to enter his body in a mini sub to destroy it. The story itself is also a departure from the others.

  4. Wasnt in this set, but I have added it to the wishlists. Is there any R1 copy out there that is preferable to the others, or are they all VHS rips?

  5. As far as I know the one my friend has is the only release of the film in the States and it's a port of the Japanese English subbed DVD.