Shout! Factory TV Presents Gamera Marathon + 26 Gamera Facts
Celebrate Gamera’s 50th Anniversary With Eleven Classic Movies on October 17th
Source: Shout! Factory, Think Jam press releases
Special Thanks to Michael Gonzalez
Following the success of Shout! Factory TV’s Kaiju Movie Marathon in July, Shout! Factory TV has once again teamed up with the monster magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland to bring you the Kaiju Movie Marathon: Gamera’s Revenge! Featuring 11 Gamera films and hosted by Kaiju expert August Ragone, the monster mayhem will stream live for 16 hours on October 17 from 8am ET to midnight ET. The marathon marks the 50th anniversary of the first Gamera movie release in Japan.
The marathon will feature all 11 classic Gamera movies in chronological order from both the original Showa series (1965-1980) and the Heisei trilogy (1995-1999).
The Kaiju marathon comes complete with original introductions by renowned Kaiju authority August Ragone, commenting on the impact of these classic films. A two-time Rondo Award-winning author of Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters, Ragone has commented on Japanese film and popular culture on radio, television, in print, online, and at events for more than three decades.
The event will be streaming at shoutfactorytvlive.com. For mobile, tablet and connected TV devices the marathon is accessible via the Pluto TV app. The marathon is also available via Pluto TV (CH 427), in the living room (Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Android TV devices, Chromecast and Apple Airplay), on the go (apps for iOS, Android and Amazon) and at your fingertips on PCs, Macs or on the web.
Prepare yourselves for something monstrous (again)! Tune in for Kaiju calamity and live tweet with #Gamera. August Ragone, as well as other Kaiju super-fans, will be tweeting and sharing fascinating Kaiju knowledge. Shout! Factory will be offering various prizes to viewers through the marathon, including copies of Ragone’s book, limited-edition “I survived the Gamera marathon” blankets, and Famous Monsters of Filmland monster poster, among other items.
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KAIJU CONTENT STREAMING ON SHOUT! FACTORY TV LIVE
GAMERA (大怪獣ガメラ, Daikaijuu Gamera, 1965)
The first entry of this Sci-Fi epic takes place midst the peak of the Cold War, as conflict between the East and West transforms into a nuclear disaster! This atomic explosion releases more than massive radiation, it awakens an ancient and long-forgotten legend of — Gamera!
GAMERA VS. BARUGON (大怪獣決闘 ガメラ対バルゴン, Daikaijuu Kettoo: Gamera Tai Barugon, 1966)
Once the fear of Tokyo, Gamera returns to earth to save it from the malevolent monster Barugon who is able to freeze anything its path. This unholy battle between fire and ice challenges the survival of mankind while bringing them an incredible slam-bang, knock-down monster slug-fest!
GAMERA VS. GYAOS (大怪獣空中戦 ガメラ対ギャオス, Daikaijuu Kuuchuusen: Gamera Tai Gyaosu, 1967)
The third entry of this classic monster series continues when a volcanic eruption awakens Gyaos, a gigantic vampire-like bat who has a ravenous hunger for blood. Gyaos is Gamera’s most popular foe, returning in four more films (not counting the stock footage in SUPER MONSTER). Can the fire-spitting terrapin Garmera defeat this nocturnal beast?
GAMERA VS. VIRAS (ガメラ対宇宙怪獣バイラス, Gamera Tai Uchuu Kaijuu Bairasu, 1968)
The reign of terror continues when aliens take two boy scouts hostage to blackmail Gamera into aiding their invasion of Earth. When that plan fails the giant alien leader Viras battles the flying turtle in a duel to the death.
GAMERA VS. GUIRON (ガメラ対大悪獣ギロン, Gamera Tai Daiakujuu Giron, 1969)
Gamera, the giant flying turtle, spins into action when two young boys board a spaceship and are hijacked to a strange planet on the other side of the sun. While the boys evade the clutches of two brain-hungry alien beauties, Gamera must deal with a knife-nosed monster named Guiron.
GAMERA VS. JIGER (ガメラ対大魔獣ジャイガー, Gamera Tai Daimajuu Jaiga, 1970)
The fire-breathing action continues as Gamera battles one of his greatest foes, Jiger, a horned monster reminiscent of the Triceratops. Drawn to the World Expo in Osaka by an ancient statue, the evil reptile injects Gamera with its parasitic offspring to eliminate the super turtle.
GAMERA VS. ZIGRA (ガメラ対深海怪獣ジグラ, Gamera Tai Shinkai Kaijuu Jigura, 1971)
The shark-like alien Zigra attacks Earth to enslave the human race as food. Aided by spacewoman X-1, Zigra’s wicked plan goes swimmingly until the invaders are challenged by Gamera and confounded by two troublemaking kids.
GAMERA: SUPER MONSTER (宇宙怪獣ガメラ, Uchuu Kaijuu Gamera, 1980)
The final entry of the Showa Gamera series plays as a highlight reel reviving all of the previous evil monsters. When the alien Zanon tries to conquer Earth with an army of monsters, three superwomen enlist the help of Gamera to foil the invader’s plans.
GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE (ガメラ 大怪獣空中決戦, Gamera Daikaiju Kuchu Kessen, 1995)
That giant fire-breathing turtle you loved as a kid is back with a vengeance in GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE; a science fiction spectacular hailed by critic and fans alike as one of the best monster movies ever! The super turtle combats both a misguided military and the Gyaos, a hideous race of man-eating flying reptiles.
GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF THE LEGION (ガメラ2 レギオン襲来, Gamera 2: Region Shurai, 1996)
A freak meteor shower near Sapporo, Japan brings with it more than just a killer light how. Electrical problems, over-grown plant life and a whole slew of rather irritable critters also drop in to threaten the human race. A science instructor is called to assist the military in finding a way to successfully combine efforts with Gamera, or both mankind and monster will face ultimate destruction from the Earth’s bugged-out invaders.
GAMERA 3: REVENGE OF IRIS (ガメラ3 邪神〈イリス〉覚醒, Gamera 3: Jyashin Iris Kakusei, 1999)
Still reeling after the hard-fought battle to repel Legion, Japan is now reminded of a deadly foe from the past. The Gyaos have returned, and this time the ornery man-eating birds have not only increased their numbers, but also added a menacing new member, Iris, to their destructive little club. Do the hapless humans and the rowdy reptile have what it takes to thwart the revenge of Iris?
Schedule of Films*
8:00 a.m. – GAMERA
9:30 a.m. – GAMERA VS. BARUGON
11:15 a.m. – GAMERA VS. GYAOS
12:45 p.m. – GAMERA VS. VIRAS
2:15 p.m. – GAMERA VS. GUIRON
3:45 p.m. – GAMERA VS. GUIRON
5:15 p.m. – GAMERA VS. ZIGRA
7:00 p.m. – GAMERA: SUPER MONSTER
8:15 p.m. – GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE
10:00 p.m. – GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF THE LEGION
11:45 p.m. – GAMERA 3: REVENGE OF IRIS
*Times listed are Eastern time, approximate and subject to change.
26 GAMERA FACTS
1. Contrary to popular belief, Gamera has fought Godzilla… just not in a actual movie. Daiei teamed up with Toho Studios for a “Kaiju Show” starring the rival studio’s top mon-stars in a one-act “Godzilla vs. Gamera” event, performed at the Expo’s “Festival Plaza” venue. Comedian Kon Omura (“Cornjob” himself from GAMERA VS. GUIRON) was the MC. Godzilla’s original suit actor, the legendary Haruo Nakajima, was booked for three performances per day, but on account of the complexity of a live “suitmation” event, the show times were scaled back to once a night. So, for ten days in March 1970, Godzilla clashed with Gamera!
2. GAMERA VS. BARUGON: The early development of this film began as “Gamera vs. the Ice Giant”, featuring strange, humanoid invaders who plunge the world into a global winter until Gamera returns to challenge them with his eternal fire. Screenwriter Niisan Takahashi’s inspiration for these ice colossi was seemingly drawn from the Jötnar (Yot-nar) of Nordic myth and the Giant of the Snows from Georges Méliès’ 1912 film, THE CONQUEST OF THE POLE.
3. GAMERA VS. GYAOS: This is the first film to feature a vocal tune, “The Song of Gamera”, at the end of the Japanese version. It was also issued as a single by Daiei Records. Its creation may have been influenced by the instrumental released for the US version of first Gamera film. This isn’t the more familiar “Gamera March”, parodied by MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, which makes his debut on the soundtrack of the following entry in the series, GAMERA VS. VIRAS.
4. The first-wave of Gamera films included children, whom would be featured prominently in seven of the first series entries, eventually becoming the main human characters.
5. Director Noriaki Yuasa was given the job of GAMERA because none of the other directors at the production studio would touch such a film with a three-meter pole. They felt that it was below them and would be the kiss of death for their careers.
6. Gamera was originally billed as “Super Monster.”
7. Director Yuasa felt that one of the most frustrating aspects of producing the first GAMERA was keeping someone inside the claustrophobic, suffocating and heavy monster suits. They almost went through one man per day because they were untrained and couldn’t take it.
8. Director Yuasa’s father has a cameo role as the Captain of the Awaji Maru in GAMERA VS. BARUGON.
9. While waiting for clearance to use the monster name Gyaos, the title of GAMERA VS. GYAOS was “Gamera vs. Vampire”.
10. Gyaos was imagined as Kaiju version of Dracula.
11. GAMERA VS. VIRAS was the series’ first encounter with aliens.
12. According to Yuasa, the mini-submarine seen in the GAMERA VS. VIRAS was of German origin It was kept in dry-dock at the Hayama Yacht Harbor and was made by the same manufacturer as the infamous U-Boats of World War 2.
13. The monster Viras’ name was decided upon in a public naming contest run in the pages of the weekly periodicals Bokura and Shonen Magazine.
14. Monster-maker Masao Yagi recalled that Viras was the most impressive of the creatures he created for the Gamera series because of the experience he gained, and the hurdles he cleared, in bringing Viras to life.
15. GAMERA VS. VIRAS was initially intended to be the last Gamera film. But it became a certified box office hit, creating a sensation with children across Japan which resulted in renewed interest for more films.
16. Shunsuke Kikuchi scored GAMERA VS. GUIRON. For the last two decades he has also scored DRAGON BALL.
17. Guiron’s moniker was decided by a public naming contest in the pages of Weekly Shonen and Weekly Bokura magazines.
18. Jiger was the first female Kaiju to fight Gamera.
19. Jiger was initially referred to as “Monster X.”
20. Comedian Yukitaro Hotaru, last seen in GAMERA VS. GYAOS, appears in a cameo as a longshoreman in GAMERA VS. JIGER.
21. GAMERA VS. ZIGRA was the first in the series to take on ecological pollution, which was topical at the time. Takahashi’s story features an aquatic alien race who, after the environmental destruction on their home world, decide to conquer ours and use the population as their cattle.
22. Budget issues and scheduling caused one of the scripted monster battles to be cut from GAMERA VS. ZIGRA.
23. Right after filming of GAMERA VS. ZIGRA finished, Daiei — the production studio that had produced the original Gamera films — was forced to close its doors. After hearing the news, studio workers caused a riot that destroyed many irreplaceable props, including everything created for the Gamera Series.
24. In GAMERA: SUPER MONSTER, Godzilla is parodied when Gamera knocks over a signboard for a faux kaiju movie called GOODBYE, DODZILLA.
25. There was a 9 year gap between the last 2 films in the first series of Gamera.
26. In the opening of GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE you will see two ships and meet their respective skippers. The captain of the patrol boat Nojima was played by Kojiro Hongo, the star of three of the original Gamera films, while the captain of the transport shop Kairyu was played by Akira Kubo, the star of several Godzilla films.
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