Gorgo (1961) A Kaiju classic…from ENGLAND???

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Yes, that is Big Ben in the poster. Totally rips off Gamera, Godzilla, and other kaiju films from Japan. But Gorgo is a British classic and capitalized on the “dino craze” before Jurassic Park. So there.

Underwhelmed by Jurassic World’s blockbuster success, I found myself hungering for a true blue, n0-frills kinda Kaiju movie. From England. Because…why not? (Wasn’t in the mood for subtitles, if I’m being entirely honest)

Enter Gorgo (1961) or Britain’s rather lame equivalent to the Gamera franchise.

Director: Eugene Lorie

Writers: Robert L. Richards and Daniel James

Starring: Bill Travers, William Sylvester, and Vincent Winter

The story starts on an Irish island where two British treasure hunters, Sam (Sylvester) and Joe (Travers), discover a baby monster that killed two divers. While they strategize to capture the beast, they meet an incomprehensible Irish orphan named Sean (Winter), who, I shit you not, speaks gibberish for the entire film. Maybe that’s my Stupid American™ showing, but I thought I DIDN’T need subtitles for this film. Like Kenny in Gamera, Sean tries to set Gorgo free and generally gets in the military’s way and is forced to be rescued many annoying times.

Every Kaiju movie needs a monster-obsessed kid who puts everyone’s lives in danger by freeing the kaiju at the last second!

Once Sam and Joe make it to England , they sell the creature, who Sean calls “Gorgo,” to a London circus. And surprise, surprise, discover the creature’s mother has destroyed Ireland while they were away. What follows next is an incredibly long montage of bombers, tanks, guns, explosions, and mass hysteria as British forces fight Gorgo’s mother. She somehow makes it all the way to London, destroying the city and mostly everyone in it. These scenes were enjoyable for their kitsch factor, alone. The movie was done in 1961 and had no real special effects to speak of, save for cheesy puppets and model scales, but I thought they were well done.

The circus people lock Gorgo in an electric fenced cage but Gorgo’s mother breaks through and both escape back to the sea. The End.

What baffled me most was how easily Gorgo was caught. He’s impervious to bullets, fire, and other human weapons, but is somehow defenseless against rope nets. He allows himself (without aid of tranquilizers) to be ferreted across the sea to London and does not try to kill Sean when the kid gets close to him. Gorgo is a typical kaiju monster flick with a lot of action scenes.

Giving it a “B.”

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50yr feud: Gamera Vs Godzilla

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Oh, so you’re a fan of the Godzilla franchise, are you? Then you have no right to ask: “Who the fuck is Gamera?” without receiving the back of my hand across your face. If the only Godzilla movies you can name involve either Bryan Cranston or Matthew Broderick I get to slap you again.

Who is Gamera? Why, he’s the flying, atomic tortoise who can kick Godzilla’s ass. No, there was never a movie proving Gamera’s supremacy, but that’s only because the film companies were bitter rivals! Ultimately the fanbase followed the money, thus knocking Gamera out of the race, but in the process we lost Godzilla’s most promising adversary. Mothra doesn’t even come to a close second.  Gamera can also fly and he breathes fire. His impenetrable shell can resist most of Godzilla’s attacks and because he adores children (he always rescues the children after his rampages), humanity might aid Gamera in battle and tag-team Godzilla.

Godzilla and Gamera have been competing for ratings ever since the 60s. The first Gamera movie, Gamera (1965) was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, which kicked off the Gamera vs. Godzilla feud in the west. The most recent movie, Gamera the Brave was released in Japan in 2006. And yet there has never been an American remake of any of the Gamera movies! Imagine what an American remake could do for the Gamera franchise? It would certainly get us closer to a possible Godzilla-Gamera showdown! With all the attention surrounding the newest Godzilla movie, I vote for the next one to feature Gamera. The fans have waited patiently on the sidelines for nearly 50 years. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind Godzilla vs. Mothra and Mothra’s Wife, but Gamera really needs his moment in the sun, too. I’m #TeamGamera on this. Let’s do this!