Saturday Afternoon Kaiju: Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)
I know, I know… it’s been awhile since I’ve put out a Kaiju column and for that, I apologize. We’re back on track now and, well, it’s Gamera time.
In this second installment of the franchise, the Friend to All Children is kinda pissed, guys. If you remember all the way back to the first film, he was in a rocket on the way to Mars. Well, Gamera is free now and comes back to Earth with a vengeance. He heads straight for Japan and lays waste to a dam. While he’s fucking around in the water, we see some sketchy guys being sent by an even sketchier guy to an island in the South Pacific. They’re supposed to find some jewel the sketchier guy hid there back in World War II.
The guys are warned by the locals (they never goddamn listen) to stay away from the caves but they go anyway. They actually do find the jewel, a giant opal, but that’s where things start to go bad for them; including encountering a giant scorpion, a cave-in, and a betrayal. The one man standing, Onodera, with the opal in tow, manages to hitch a ride back to Japan on a boat and while using an infra-red heat lamp (because that’s what you do on a ship), he accidentally hits that jewel with the light, And well, it’s not really an opal, it’s an egg. A lizard eventually pops out and gets big real quick. Barugon, as he’s called, wastes no time getting to a Japanese harbor to fuck some shit up.
Meanwhile, one of the other sketchy guys, Keisuke, survives the cave-in (surprise!) and heads back to Japan with a lady villager who knows all about the legend of Barugon. Now these fuckers want to listen to the locals. Barugon, by the way, almost defies description but he does have this cool horn thing going on. His head looks like a prototype for the newly spawned Shin Godzilla (2016). Those eyes! Oh, yeah, he can also freeze things with his breath. Anyway, Barugon is now destroying the fuck out of Osaka. Japanese officials try to stop him with missiles but it doesn’t do any good because, in what is one of the most both spectacular and silly displays in all of Kaiju (and that’s sayin’ something), Barugon shoots a beautiful rainbow of annihilation out of the spines on his back. Yay, pretty lights taking out fighter jets! He’s knocking ‘em down, 100…200 (That joke never gets old for me, sorry!). Finally, Gamera moseys on over to Osaka to help out. A decision he immediately regrets because he gets himself frozen solid.
Keisuke (remember him?) and the girl begin working with the officials to come up with a plan to get rid of Barugon. Their cockamamie plans involve using a gigantic diamond to drown the lizard. Yeah, not happening. Onodera, that shifty cat, is still around and he’s eyeing that diamond now. Barugon, not having any of this nonsense, comes in and fucks up everyone’s plans.
Where’s Gamera this whole time? Well, he finally gets unfrozen and comes in to attack Barugon. Keisuke and the government come up with yet another plan and well, it’s all really a shit show.
I adore Gamera, I think that’s well documented, but this is not one of the better films in the series. For one thing, there isn’t enough G-Man. He eventually gets the job done but, I dunno, his heart is just not in it. I would never tell you not to watch a movie but there are plenty of other Gamera movies that are more worth your time. Barugon isn’t one of the better of Gamera’s foes, although, his rainbow shit is insane. The special effects are okay. Look, it’s not great but it’s Gamera so it should be watched eventually.