Film Review: Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)

Also known as: Daikaijū Kettō: Gamera Tai Barugonlit. Giant Monster Duel: Gamera Versus Barugon (Japan), War of the Monsters (USA)
Release Date: April 17th, 1966 (Japan)
Directed by: Shigeo Tanaka
Written by: Nisan Takahashi
Music by: Chūji Kinoshita
Cast: Kōjirō Hongō, Kyōko Enami

Daiei Film Co. Ltd., AIP-TV, 100 Minutes (Japan), 88 Minutes (USA)

gamera_vs_barugonReview:

Gamera was never as successful of a film as Gojira (Godzilla) but it did spawn a franchise of its own that made Japanese kids jump for joy in the 1960s.

Gamera vs. Barugon is the first of the sequels. It is also the first film to pit Gamera against another monster. In this case, he fights Barugon, who was probably intentionally named that due to it being very close to the name of the famous Toho monster, Baragon.

Gamera the flying kaiju turtle was trapped in a rocket in the previous movie but in this, he was conveniently broken out of his cosmic imprisonment by a comet colliding with the rocket. This immediately caused Gamera to spin like a flaming frisbee back to Japan where he decided to tear up a dam.

The film then sees some guys go to a tropical Pacific island where they acquire a mysterious football shaped opal. The opal is actually an egg that gives birth to the kaiju Barugon. Barugon then goes on a bad ass rampage through Japan. He is equipped with a long extending tongue that looks like a Q-tip covered in jelly and spikes. The tongue also emits a freezing gas. Barugon’s ultimate weapon is a deadly rainbow that shoots out of his back.

Ultimately, the two monsters end up throwing down in the film’s climax. The strange thing, is that this picture features Barugon a lot more than Gamera. And when they do finally clash, it is a pretty quick affair.

This is one of my favorite Gamera films. I liked the nuttiness of Barugon and his weird powers. I’m not sure if the people behind the movie were really imaginative and wanted something insane and fun or if they were just crazy and intended for this to be serious. I’d have to imagine it was the former.

While Gamera vs. Barugon is a small budget picture, it has a larger scope than its predecessor. Maybe that has something to do with it being in color but I enjoyed the rampaging of Barugon in this installment more than the Gamera rampage in the original movie.

Gamera vs. Barugon certainly isn’t a great movie. However, it is a really fun and entertaining kaiju flick and a strange alternative to the Godzilla pictures of the time. It was also well above the quality of the Gamera films to come. 

*Gamera vs. Barugon trailer appears after Daimajin trailer in this video. Sorry, it’s the only version I could find on YouTube.

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