Gammera the Invincible (1966) Review

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That is two M’s I am Gamera’s evil twin.

Gammera the Invincible (Gamera the Giant Monster) (1966): 8 out of 10: A plane crash sets off a nuclear explosion that awakens a giant flying turtle who threatens Japan.

The Good

The Good: The biggest surprise in watching Gammera the Invincible is that this is actually a pretty good movie. I mean as a Kaiju film, this isn’t On Golden Pond. Though in all fairness, On Golden Pond would have been improved if Henry Fonda had breathed radioactive fire on helpless civilians.

There is some very nice model work, and there is a lot of it. One of the issues with some Kaiju films of the sixties is that much of the action took place in nondescript rural landscapes. Both King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) and Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964) suffer from this. Gammera the Invincible has a nice mix of different landscapes and urban areas. Everything from the Arctic Circle to a lighthouse to downtown Tokyo. the scope is quite impressive.

Not really a friend to children.

Gammera is also quite vicious at times. More in line with the original 1954 Godzilla than more modern takes. Something the boys at RiffTrax are quick to pick up on. This Gammera is a long way from the friends to children Gammera that would emerge only a few years later.

There is a lot of good in Gammera. We have a catchy Batman style theme song. The American insert bits are unintentionally hilarious with one actor playing a Senator overacting to such a delightful degree RiffTrax claimed he was going full Pacino.

Gammera is an old school style monster movie that delivers the goods and has a nice serious tone similar to that movie with Peter Graves (Beginning of the End). I found the cheap sets charming, and the turtle obsessed lighthouse keeper’s son (who is clearly on the spectrum) much less grating than similar Gammera child fanatics in later films.

The Bad

The Bad: Well they misspelled Gamera

Rifftrax Version

Rifftrax Version: 10 out of 10: I have long argued that better films in certain genres can often make for better riffing. Gammera the Invincible is certainly a good support for that argument. The movie is enjoyable, and the riffing is topical, fun and on point. More importantly, it adds to the enjoyment of an already fun film (See Night of the Lepus for another great example). And yes, there is a Mitch McConnell joke. You guys.

Gammera munches on some Go Go dancers.
Meanwhile, in a strange fetish film.
The UN ladies and gentleman.
Not to be mistaken for the boring Hawaii airport scene in Godzilla.
I am one of those people who will stop the car and help a turtle in need.
UberPacino here on the left is not just in another movie. He is in another decade.
Hey Stella…
Hey Stella…
Hey, cool it! Listen, baby, when we first met, you and me, you thought I was common. Well, how right you was. I was common as dirt. You showed me a snapshot of a place with columns and I pulled you down off them columns and you loved it. Having them colored lights going. And wasn’t we happy together? Wasn’t it all okay till she showed here? Huh? Wasn’t we happy together? Wasn’t it all okay till she showed here? Hoity-toity, describing me like a ape.
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