Saturday Afternoon Kaiju: Gamera vs Gyaos (1967)
Call me strange, but when it comes to Kaiju movies I think I might actually like the foes better than the heroes. Don’t get me wrong, I do love Godzilla and Gamera, but I always seem to identify with their opponents more than those big green guys. Take today’s movie for example; from the minute I saw Gyaos, I was in love. And really, what’s not to love? He looks like a half bat half pterodactyl creature with a head like an anvil. He’s also sorta vampiric and he’s got a yellow laser he shoots from his mouth that cuts a swath through almost anything and everything. In short, my kind of man.
A couple of volcanoes erupt around Japan and Gamera shows up to find out what is what. He flies into one of them and disappears. People are losing their shit cos, you know, Gamera is a friend to all children. The government sends up a team to find out what happened to Gamera and gets some data on the eruption. Of course the helicopter they’re in is destroyed by a beam coming out of a glowing cave. It’s clearly not Gamera because he has a bad-ass flame-thrower in his mouth.
A young boy named Elichi is worried about the turtle and goes up the mountain to get a closer look. There happens to be a reporter poking around (isn’t there always?) and he joins Elichi in the trek up the mountainside. They find the glowing cave and decide to waltz right in. The cave begins to collapse and the reporter just leaves Elichi to fend for himself. An act he will soon regret, or would if he had lived, because he is picked up and EATEN by this weird bat-like creature. Not a whole lot of Kaiju movies actually show humans being eaten by monsters, so this is especially awesome in my book. Elichi gets trapped in the cave under some rocks. He thinks he will be rescued by workmen but he is snatched up by Gyaos, who he flies around the mountain with Elichi ensnared in his claw.
Gamera emerges out of the volcano and goes after Gyaos. They engage in a pretty awesome battle for one so early in the movie. Gyaos drops Elichi mid-fight. His laser beam damages Gamera (who bleeds green, no less) who, at this point, just wants to rescue Elichi. He blows some of his fiery breath towards Gyaos, who does not like this one lick and he flies away. Gamera throws Elichi on his back and flies him down to where his “rescuers” are waiting. I don’t know about you, but I want a ride on Gamera’s back. Spin or no spin, it’s all good.
Gamera isn’t invulnerable, of course. He has to go away to heal. Using the ocean like his own personal Bacta tank, Gamera just floats near the bottom, waiting for his wounds to heal. Meanwhile, up top, the government is now tasked with trying to get rid of Gyaos. Elichi figures out Gyaos can only come out at night. The government tries sending in another force to kill him but again, Gyaos says not tonight and destroys the entire force. Gyaos seems to have some big dreams and those include getting out of the village and trying to make it in the big city, so he flies off to Nagoya. There he continues to wreak havoc until Gamera finally gets his ass out of the ocean and comes to help.
Another awesome battle between these two flying monsters goes on. Eventually, it ends with Gamera grabbing Gyaos’ foot and getting into the sea. He plans on holding him there until sunrise (somehow Gamera knows this will kill him) but Gyaos says fuck that and lasers his own damn foot off and flies away.
The government comes up with another scheme to get rid of Gyaos; this time by putting him on a platform and making him dizzy. Yeah, I dunno, don’t ask. Gyaos reappears with a freshly grown foot. The kid (who at this point, let’s face it, is super annoying), thinks the best idea is to set fire to the mountainside because that will attract Gamera who, this time, will kill Gyaos. Sounds like a plan because what could possibly go wrong setting fire to a mountainside full of villages with a crazy-ass flying bat circling about? Anyway, they do and you’ll have to watch the movie to find out the rest.
Are these movies silly? Of course they are but who cares? At this point in time, we all need a 90 minute escape into the world of fire-breathing flying turtles and the monsters who vex him. Available for streaming via Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV.