Saturday Afternoon Kaiju: Gamera vs Guiron AKA Attack of the Monsters (1969)
After rewatching this movie for the umpteenth time, my husband asked me if this was my favorite Kaiju movie of all time. I had to think for a moment. I mean, I do love Godzilla vs. Megalon a whole lot (Jet Jaguar, anyone?). For sure, that is my favorite Godzilla movie (and I’ll be talking about that one in two weeks’ time) but is it my favorite Kaiju of all time? I told my husband, definitively, that Attack of the Monsters is my most favorite Kaiju of them all.
Now, I’ve seen both the English dub version of Attack of the Monsters as well as the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version of the film. I must confess I didn’t watch any Gamera movies until I met my husband. Then a whole new world of Kaiju opened up for me. While doing a little research, I read the MST3K version of Attack of the Monsters is not available anywhere because Sandy Frank, the America distributor of many Japanese films including Gamera, was angry about being made fun of by Joel and the gang, so he refused to give them the rights to broadcast the movie. This decision is to the detriment of us all because it is one of the best MST3K episodes ever.
Akio and Tom are two punk kids who, we’ll find out, are nosy as hell. They are both space nerds and so they are following the news that some sort of radio waves are being emitted from an unknown planet. Tom is spending the night at Akio’s house and they are taking turns looking at the stars through Akio’s telescope. They happen to see something shoot across the sky and crash somewhere nearby. Akio mom doesn’t believe them, of course. The boys decide to investigate in the morning.
The boys go looking for the crash site. Of course, Akio has a super annoying little sister, Tomoko, and, yes, she has to tag along with them. They stumble upon a space craft in an empty field. Akio and Tom think it’s a great idea to actually board the ship. The door is open so, why the hell not? Tomoko, the sane one of the group, does not go in. Once the boys are aboard, the door closes. They don’t panic, though. Nope. They go to the “bridge” and start fucking around with the equipment. Yes, you guessed it, the ship takes off. The lads are delighted to be hurtling through space. That is, until they are about to smash into an asteroid. Fear not, boys, Gamera comes flying out of nowhere to push the ship out of the way. Gamera locomotes back to wherever it was he came from and the boys crash land on some planet.
The boys wake up to an earthquake and decide to go explore the planet. Not before telling us that the air is safe to breathe, in case we were asking that question ourselves. They look outside and what to their wondering eyes appear? My two favorite Kaiju monsters of them all, fighting each other, no less; Guiron and Gyaos, “Space” Gyaos, to be exact. Guiron pretty much has a knife for a head. His noggin is shaped like a blade and it’s sharp, too. In his head, he has two side ports that contain throwing stars. Yep, I said it; throwing stars. Guiron isn’t very agile, though. He sort of lumbers about. You’d lumber about, too, if you had an enormous ginzu knife for a head. I’m sure it weighs a ton. Gyaos is a flying monster with a triangular-shaped, iron looking head. He can emit a laser beam from his mouth. He’s a bit like a bat, really. These two monsters battling is a sight to behold for sure.
As they are watching the fight, Akio and Tom stumble on to an elevator and it whisks them down into the bowels of the planet. They emerge into a TARDIS type room replete with all sorts of gadgets for them to mess around with. Two of the most awesome looking space women ever come out and greet the boys. Barbella and Florbella tell them all about their planet. It’s all fun and games (or Funny Games, as it were) until the women decide they want to eat the brains of the boys. Space Cannibals! They drug the boys and prepare them for brain surgery. I shit you not, an actual bone saw comes out. This is a kids movie but they ain’t messing around.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Tom’s mother comes to pick him up but he’s not there. Akio’s mom says they aren’t back yet. Tom’s mom doesn’t appear to give a shit because she shrugs it off like she’s happy to be rid of her mini-Richard Burton (MST3K reference) looking punk of a kid. As she drives off thinking she’s free, Tomoko pops up in the backseat and tells her the boys took off in a space ship. Now Tom’s mom is concerned (a little) and they go find the local bumbling cop.
Gamera, being a friend to all children, senses the lads are in trouble and flies back to the planet to rescue them. He and Guiron have an epic battle. While the space women are trying to deal with the monster battle, they put the two boys in a cage. All hope seems lost. Will the boys escape and get back to planet Earth or will they have the tops of the skulls sawed off and have their brains eaten by Barbella and Florbella? Just how many flying stars does it take to get to the center of Gamera? The world may never know. But you’ll know if you watch this awesome Gamera adventure.
Both the Japanese version and the English dub version of the film are available on YouTube and elsewhere. I wish you luck in trying to find the MST3K version of it. It’s a delight and should be seen by everyone.