Friday, April 1, 2022

Gamera: Super Monster


Gamera: Super Monster
Noriaki Yuasa

Look, as kaiju fan, you learn to deal with low budgets, cheap sets, and incredible levels of silliness. None of that will prepare you for how bottom of the barrel Gamera: Super Monster is in terms of well… everything. By 1980 Gamera’s home studio, Daiei, was in deep financial trouble so they decided to throw whatever they could into a film with minimal cost to try and generate some profit. It worked for a little while as Daiei limped along until finally closing for good in 2002. We did get three excellent
Gamera movies in the 1990s out of this, so in that respect we should thank Gamera: Super Monster.

 This may be the only reason we should thank it.

Some aliens show up to cause trouble like always do in Gamera movies. The earth is protected by three women, creatively called the Space Women, who are not very good at their jobs. The Space Women get help from a kid who can call Gamera to fight back against the onslaught of familiar monsters that the aliens are unleashing on Earth. Can even Gamera face all his fast foes at once and save the day? That is a much more exciting description of what amounts to 80% stock footage, shot on video sequences, and a final ignoble end for our hero.

The majority of this film is complied out of reused footage from the previous Gamera films. We get a parade of fights with Gyaos, Barugon, etc. To sit through recycled fight after recycled fight is agony. These fights have no connection to the story, there are no stakes, nothing to push the plot along. I can compare it to the inserted wrestling matches in luchador films, they exist to take up time and nothing else.

"A tiny space ship!"

Somehow the scenes with the Space Women are even worse if not as boring. They feel slight and silly, which could be fine, Gamera movies are no strangers to being silly. Even at their silliest, they at least made some attempt to show characters in danger. The Space Women are presented as just embarrassingly bad at their jobs. They aren’t particularly fun to watch.

The film looks like it shot on video and converted over to film. This not only makes the movie look incredibly cheap, but it makes the reused footage stand out even worse than it would normally. The effects are mostly video based and look terrible for even a late stage Gamera film.


"Good-bye everyone! I hope someone makes
a kick-ass reboot in the 1990s!"


The awful cherry on top of this movie is the half-assed way it kills off Gamera, lazily crashing him into a spaceship and then having someone tell us he’s dead. I understand that this was a minimal effort cash grab for a series that had been dead and gone for some time, but it is still a sad send off for a character with plenty of fans.

I consider myself a big of Gamera (I even recently an essay about it), but this not a film that I revisit often. It’s pure pain and not the fun kind you can get from a bad movie.

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