Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXI: MST3K vs. Gamera

includes: ep 302 Gamera, ep 304 Gamera vs. Barugon, ep 308 Gamera vs. Gaos,
ep 312 Gamera vs. Guiron, and ep 316 Gamera vs. Zigra   Year: 1991  Company: Best Brains   Runtime: 97′
Writers: Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Kevin Murphy, Paul Chaplin,
Bridget Jones, Jim Mallon, Colleen Henjum, Lisa Sheretz, Jef Maynard   Cast: Joel Hodgson,
Trace Beaulieu, Kevin Murphy, Frank Conniff, Jim Mallon, Michael J. Nelson, Bridget Jones, Jef Maynard
Disc company: Shout! Factory   Video: 480i 4:3    Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Subtitles: None   Disc: DVD9 (3) DVD5 (2)   Release Date: 08/02/2011   Product link: Amazon.com
Reviewed from a screener provided by Shout! Factory LLC. Thanks guys!

Across ten years and nearly two hundred episodes, it is hard for me to imagine any partnership between man and material more monumental than that between the crew of the Satellite of Love and the unstoppable syndication megalith Sandy Frank.  The masterminds of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 took aim at his package of English-dubbed import programs early and often, much to Frank’s chagrin, first discovering his handiwork in the available properties of Twin Cities area UHF station KTMA and subsequently re-discovering it during their years on Comedy Central.   From Humanoid Woman to Mighty Jack to Fugitive Alien I and II, there were few features with Frank’s name on them that weren’t square in the SOL’s sights at one time or another, and with good reason.

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Gamera vs. Barugon

a.k.a.: Daikaiju Ketto: Gamera tai Barugon
(lit. Giant Monster Duel: Gamera Against Barugon)
film rating:
disc rating:
company: Daiei Motion Picture Co.
year: 1966
runtime: 100′
director: Shigeo Tanaka
cast: Kojiro Hongo, Kyoko Enami,
Koji Fujiyama, Takuya Fujioka,
Yuzo Hayakawa, Akira Natsuki,
Yoshiro Kitahara, Bontaro Miake
writers: Nisan Takahashi
cinematography: Michio Takahashi
music: Chuji Kinoshita
Reviewed from a screener provided
by Shout! Factory LLC
Order this film from Amazon.com

Gamera vs. Barugon is slated for release on special edition DVD from Shout! Factory on July 6th, and is available for pre-order through Amazon.com and other online retailers.

Anxious to capitalize on the unexpected success of 1965′s Gamera, the Giant Monster, Daiei managed to push a bigger budgeted sequel into theaters less than six months after the fact (at the same time slating the production of their period monster trilogy Daimajin, the first of which premiered alongside this film).  Shot in ‘Scope and color by veteran director Shigeo Tanaka (The Great Wall) with …the Giant Monster director Noriaki Yuasa in charge of special effects, Gamera vs. Barugon is both bigger and bolder than its predecessor, and quite the serious affair in spite of the ludicrous monster antics.

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Shout! Factory’s ‘Gamera vs. Barugon’ DVD details

Just under a month from now, on July 6th, Shout! Factory will be unleashing the second of their Gamera collection, 1966′s Gamera vs. Barugon.  The film concerns a group of greedy explorers who plunder a jungle cave for jewels, unwittingly unleashing the giant monster Barugon upon the world.  Can Gamera, released from his Plan Z space capsule by a wayward meteor, stop the beast before it’s too late?

The first of 7 original Gamera sequels, Gamera vs. Barugon benefits from a more lavish production budget than either Gamera, the Giant Monster or the other entries that were to follow it.  Noriaki Yuasa was made director of special effects for this outing, with Shigeo Tanaka (The Great Wall and several films in the Woman Gambler series) picking up the task of directing a name cast headed by Kojiro Hongo (Wrath of Daimajin) and Kyoko Enami (Whale God).  The improbable monster Barugon, with its freezing breath and rainbow-shooting spines, made a suitably bizarre opponent for hero Gamera, hinting at the more outlandish villains that were to come.

Shout! Factory’s special edition DVD of Gamera vs. Barugon will feature a new transfer of the film sourced from the latest high definition masters, presented in its original Japanese with English subtitles.  Supplements are to include a feature commentary track with August Ragone and Jason Varney, a gallery of publicity images and an essay by star Kojiro Hongo (to be included in the accompanying booklet).  Given the quality of May’s Gamera, the Giant Monster, this is looking to be another fine package from Shout!.

Gamera vs. Barugon is priced at a reasonable $19.93 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.com and other online retailers, and will be available in stores nationwide on July 6th.

Shout! Factory’s ‘Gamera vs. Barugon’ DVD up for preorder

The second installment of the original Gamera franchise is on its way from Shout! Factory, with a scheduled release date of July 6, 2010.  Box art and disc specs have yet to be announced, though you can bet this is going to be the best domestic release of the title for some time to come.  You can currently pre-order the title through Amazon.com at considerable savings (30% off retail!).

Gamera vs. Barugon is easily the most traditionally dramatic of the Showa series and is ostensibly a tale of greed and consequence (and giant monsters, of course!).  It follows several men who travel to the South Seas in search of a giant opal, only to inadvertently unleash the monster Barugon upon the world.  Luckily Gamera is on the prowl, having been extricated from that pesky Z-plan rocket by a wayward meteor.

Gamera vs. Barugon was released, dubbed and re-edited, to American television by A.I.P. under the generic title War of the Monsters and later (uncut and with an alternate dub track) on VHS and Laserdisc through King Features and Image Entertainment.  The Shout! Factory release will mark the first time the film has been made officially available in the USA its original Japanese.