By this, the fourth entry in the long running Gamera series, the filmmakers had finally not only nailed down the style that all future installments would eventually follow but double-down on them too.
Gamera, always reliably labeled as a “friend of all children”, even during his rampaging through cities phase, this time had to deal with a plot that not only dealt predominantly with children as the main characters but also roped in the whole bloody Boys Scouts Of Japan too!
Kicking off immediately, Gamera, on a jaunt through space (presumably to get 5 minutes away from kids screaming his name in excitement), gets into a violent altercation with an invading UFO and instead of trading insurance details desides to headbutt a hole in the hull.
Later, during a boy scout visit to an aquarium, two boys manage to talk the guys in charge of letting them take a small two-man sub field a joyride to the bottom of the ocean. Incredibly, everyone seems to be cool with this idea (no scout badges for health and safety were given out THAT day, let me tell you) and so off the two children go to seal their inevitable date with death by either drowning or getting crushed to death by the ocean depths. Shockingly, neither of these things happen as they encounter Gamera having a little swim and decide to shrink their survival rate a little further and have a race with the 80 ton murder turtle. Before either of these two idiots succumb to the bends however, another UFO similar to the one Gamera trashed in space shows up and starts scanning his mind for weaknesses. Of course, by “scanning for weaknesses” I actually mean replay the monster scenes from previous Gamera films in full to save money on production costs.
The aliens – glowy eyed humanoids who dress like they’re about to perform surgery – are led by a deep voiced, intelligent space squid called Viras deduce that Gamera’s fondness for children is his achillies heel and promptly abduct the two kids to use as hostages as they brainwash Gamera to destroy stuff.
Can the kids do good stuff to make the bad stuff go away? Can Gamera make the aliens go blam-era? And can ANYONE handle the eardrum shattering horror of the “Gamera March”; the brand new theme to our hero that quite possibly is the single most annoying thing ever created as all the lyrics seem to be shouted by hyper-active brats and is as fun as trying to sit a 4 hour exam, hungover, while some idiot repeatedly bangs a saucepan with a wooden spoon.
The main selling point (if any) of this movie appears to be how obnoxiously weird it can be while still claiming to be a kids film. The human aliens are modest deposits of nightmare fuel with their yellow eyes and limbs that seemingly can detach and reattach at while for no reason and their octopi boss isn’t much better, looking as he does like Spongebob’s Squidward after a lengthy methadone binge. The two boy scouts wander from one bizarre encounter to another, like some waking surrealistic fever dream and the film re-uses ACRES of footage from previous movies (colouring the black and white stuff with a purple filter because I guess a giant turtle kicking over buildings wasn’t strange enough on it’s own), a sure sign that the budgets were starting to mercilessly tighten.
Everyone gives performances like they’re doing the film for community service and there’s not even a single original monster fight until the very end.
From this point on, until the series temporarily crapped out in the 70’s, the Gamera films got progressively weirder as they got cheaper (and believe me, they got pretty damn cheap) and the sole reason anyone would come back to them is due to their heroic levels of surrealism in their plots and villians. You can’t ever claim that Gamera Vs. Viras or any others in the series is legitimately what you’d call a “good film”, and yet you’ve genuinely never seen anything like them.
I mean, have YOU seen a film where a giant sabre toothed turtle gets prison shivved in the belly by a telepathic space octopus? File under addictively shit.