Gamera is my Jam-era

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Gamera turned 50 years young this month! To celebrate, I had to review his debut flick Gamera, or Giant Monster Gamera, or Gammera the Invincible, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gamera.  It’s the movie so nice MST3k riffed it twice!

Gamera’s first feature is the only one to cast him as the villain, the only one in black and white, and the only one that doesn’t have the Gamster taking on an opposing monster.  It’s the poster child for early installment weirdness, even more so than the straight-laced Gamera vs. Barugon.  Even though O.G. Gamera is a city-smashing, crowd-roasting terror, that somehow doesn’t stop him from being crowned “The Friend of Children” which means this movie is populated with some seriously fucked-up human characters.  It’s great!

We’ll talk about all that, plus how this movie started out as a failed attempt at a rat-attack horror movie.  Load up on freeze bombs, eat some fire, sign off on Plan Z, and get ready to slam-era with Gamera!

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I did my best to be a pest at G-Fest

That’s right dongers and she-dongers, I went to G-Fest earlier this month! “What’s G-Fest?!” I hear you sloppily sputter out in outraged confusion. Well, wipe the rage-saliva off your mouth and keyboard and phone and pots and pans and chairs and tables and electric screwdrivers and wigs and I’ll clue you in!

Here, this drawing of an exploding dragon flanked by names you've never seen before should explain everything.

Here, this drawing of an exploding dragon flanked by names you’ve never seen before should explain everything.

G-Fest is the biggest convention for kaiju fans in North America, and probably the whole damn world.   It usually clocks in at about 1000 attendees, but last year brought in around 3000 starry-eyed monster nerds (monstnerds?), and I wouldn’t be surprised if this year did that well or better!  I’ve got all the sick deets plus about a brazillion pictures after the jump!

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Barugon with the Wind

Gamera-vs-Barugon-Poster-japanese-monster-movies-37044169-410-576Last month I joked about not being able to find a giant monster movie that would be thematically appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day.  To my knowledge, Japan (or anyone, really) has yet to film a 300 ft. tall Leprechaun pushing over Tokyo Tower.  But then I got to thinking about the true meaning of St. Paddy’s, and suddenly King Kong vs. Godzilla seemed like a perfect fit: in that movie Kong’s a huge lush that loves to gets loaded on berry juice, and a major plot element is getting him black-out drunk so they can cart his sloshed ass off to Japan! But before I had a chance to study up on KKvG, helpful Reddit user TheRedBee chimed in with their suggestion, “Kaiju Leprechaun? I suggest Gamers vs Barugon. It’s got rainbows, treasure and booze.” And with that, the choice is made!

I’ve been itching to dig into classic, goofy Gamera, especially since I’ve already touched on serious Gamera in my review of Gamera 2: Advent of Legion. Gamera vs Barugon represents the Gamera series tentatively dipping its toe into campiness right before going full-on balls-out crazy.  But the movie wants to have it both ways and be a clever monster thriller too: Barugon has some pretty adult themes, and there isn’t a single “Kenny” in sight. It’s a fascinating mess! Grab a drank and a giant opal, because it’s time to jam-era with Gamera!

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Gamera Drops the Hammer-a

heisei_poster02a_pos (1)This month I’m reviewing Gamera 2: Advent of Legion. A.K.A. Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, A.K.A. Gamera 2: Legion Invasion, A.K.A. The Color PurpleWhy start a trilogy in the middle? Snow! More specifically, I love Christmas, and wanted to continue my theme of holiday-flavored reviews. That said, nobody’s made Santa vs. Gappa yet, so the most festive thing I could find in giant monster movies is snow. And it’s actually pretty rare! Kaiju are fine with showing up at night, during rainstorms, or in the middle of tidal waves, but it would appear they take most winters off.  Son of Godzilla has an amazingly moving and tender snow sequence at the very end of the movie, but the majority of Gamera 2 takes place in Japan’s wintry wonderland.  And really, I’ve been itching to talk Gamera for  a while now.  Not only that, but G2 is stuffed with incredible practical effects and puts Toho’s monster movies of the same era to shame in pretty much every way.  So grab a sixer of Kirin, bundle up, and prepare yourself for Legion to attack! Or invade!  Or advent!

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