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  Gamera vs. Gyaos Prepare The Synthetic Blood!
Year: 1967
Director: Noriaki Yuasa
Stars: Kojiro Hongo, Kichijirô Ueda, Reiko Kasahara, Naoyuki Abe, Taro Marui, Yukitaro Hotaru, Yoshiro Kitahara, Akira Natsuki, Kenji Oyama, Fujio Murakami, Koichi Ito, Teppei Endo, Shin Minatsu, Teruo Aragaki
Genre: Action, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: There is discontent at this rural area of Japan, where a volcano stands in the mountain range, and no wonder as there have been a chain of eruptions along the Southern coastlines. But that's not the sole reason why the locals are up in arms, it's down to the company trying to redevelop the countryside by putting a highway through it, and that has not been welcomed with open arms. Indeed, there are protests and makeshift barriers placed in the company workers' way - but there will soon be bigger obstacles than that...

One of those being everybody's favourite giant, fire-breathing supersonic turtle (not that there's much demand for that position) Gamera, who roused from his slumber heads to the volcano and pops inside, heat being what he particularly likes. But no sooner has there been an earthquake which causes rockfalls than a new monster is awakened, the other creature in the title, Gyaos, who has been described as either some kind of prehistoric bird lizard or a giant bat, depending on which angle you're viewing him from. Anyway, there were not many of either which could fire a laser beam from its jaws.

As Gyaos can, and in a distinctly Rodan-alike development, he has his own supersonic flying abilities which create high speed hurricane force winds, although as if wary of any infringement he could blast poison gas from his midriff to boot. Got all that? Good, because it's Gyaos who took up the lion's share of the action as yet again after the previous instalment Gamera acted like a supporting character in his own movie, appearing at the start and getting his scaly ass kicked, then showing up for the finale after about an hour of screen time licking his wounds.

As with the first Gamera flick, the children's market was being aimed for here, so the turtle got another resistable child to cheerlead for him, in this case Eiichi (Naoyuki Abe), not made any more palatable by his insistence on shouting most of his lines at the top of his voice. He is the grandson of the council leader (Kichijirô Ueda), who he lives with along with his - as usual for this type of thing - grown up sister (Reiko Kasahara) who is a parent stand-in, his actual parents being absent for never explained reasons. Gamera saves Eiichi from Gyaos who after slicing a helicopter packed with experts in two with his beam, proceeds to munch on a photographer.

All very amusing, as Gyaos is far more bloodthirsty than any of Godzilla's foes at the time, and reinforcing the bat analogies may be a kind of vampire, as he never goes out in the daylight thanks to his sun allergy, and is almost placated with a steaming bowl of blood late on when humanity is attempting to do Gamera's job for him. Although the model work was predictably meticulous, this was not one of the most auspicious of the series, preferring to sit back on clichés and dropping a potentially interesting environmental angle in favour of rubber-suited mayhem. There were the accustomed moments of lunacy as the violence was bizarrely strong stuff even if it was two puppets taking bites out of each other, but series writer Nisan Takahashi was not exactly pushing any boundaries this time around, content to offer precisely what was expected. Gyaos was a fair baddie, but this was only average of its style. Music by Tadashi Yamauchi.

Aka: Daikaijû kûchûsen: Gamera tai Gyaosu
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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