Review: GAMERA VS. GYAOS (1967)

Gamera finds another adversary in GAMERA VS. GYAOS, the third movie in the giant turtle series. This outing is helmed by Noriaki Yuasa, who directed GAMERA: THE GIANT MONSTER in 1965. This 1967 release carries the American title RETURN OF THE GIANT MONSTERS and features a screenplay by Fumi Takahashi. As a kaiju movie, GAMERA VS. GYAOS accomplishes its goals. The human element is concerned with stopping the new monster and that requires silly scheme after silly scheme. The monsters, on the other hand, are content to fight it out.

The action begins after a series of volcanic eruptions. Gamera is attracted to the fire and his arrival draws some researchers to study him. A young boy named Eiichi (Naoyuki Abe) is likewise attracted to Gamera. Meanwhile, a group of villagers is trying to make money by selling their homes to a company intent on building an expressway. The situation is interrupted by the arrival of another monster, the birdlike Gyaos. The creature has a supersonic ray and tangles with Gamera, who happens to have a really sweet apartment under the sea.


GAMERA VS. GYAOS marks an interesting progression in the series because Gamera plays the hero. He saves the little boy and even gives him a ride home on his shell. He’s humanity’s best bet for tackling the problem of Gyaos, which is a shame because some of humanity’s schemes are awesome. At one point, they attempt to subject the bird-thing to a blood birdbath that will turn until it makes the monster woozy. The particulars are astonishing and the results are magical.

GAMERA VS. GYAOS is just plain fun. The human drama is present but not overbearing. Eiichi is hysterical as movie kids go, particularly when he cries for Gamera’s help and the big turtle actually shows up. There are other things that make Yuasa’s flick a treat, like the fights between monsters or how Gyaos bites off her own toe off or how the big plan is called Operation Merry-go-round or how Eiichi believes Gamera is literally the answer to everything. And you know what? He’s right.

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