|Gamera vs. Barugon|
|Directed by||Shigeo Tanaka|
|Produced by||Masaichi Nagata|
|Written by||Niisan Takahashi|
|Music by||Chuji Kinoshita|
|Running time||100 minutes|
Gamera breathes fire, burning across Tokyo! Barugon emits a frozen solution, freezing Osaka Castle! An underwater clash at Lake Biwa!
Gamera vs. Barugon (大怪獣決闘 ガメラ対バルゴン?, lit. Giant Monster Duel: Gamera vs. Barugon) was a sequel to Daikaijū kettō: Gamera tai BarugonDaiei's previous giant monster movie, Gamera. It was released to Japanese theaters on April 17, 1966 on a double bill with Daimajin.
Plot Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Hurtling through space, a meteorite collides with the rocket (as we learned in the last film) transporting Gamera off the Earth. Gamera, now freed, returns to Japan, destroys Kuroba Dam and takes off. Meanwhile, a mysterious group of travellers visit an island in the South Pacific. They plan to steal huge jewel from a cave protected by a local village. Eventually, they journey to the cave and find the opal. Travelling back to civiliation, the only theif to survive the "heist" leaves the jewel beneath an infra-red light while playing poker. The light ends up incubating and hatch a giant monster from the opal, Barugon. Barugon emerges from the ship as it comes into Kobe harbor, destroying it. Barugon then attacks Osaka, freezing large parts of the city with a freezing tongue ray, and destroying a missile strike with a rainbow ray. Gamera, attracted by the rainbow ray, arrives on the scene. Barugon and Gamera fight. Gamera does well, until Barugon applies the old freeze ray. Gamera then gets frozen solid and falls inert onto the ground. Victorious, Barugon departs Osaka for the next large urban target. Keisuke and Karen find Onodera, and wrest a confession about Kano's death from him. In the ensuing fight, Keisuke beats up on Onodera and ties him up. Keisuke and Karen then go to the Japanese defense ministry. There Karen outlines a the "Diamond Lure" defense. This plans uses the giant diamond of the Black Tribe to lure Barugon into a lake to drown. The plan is effected but fails to move Barugon out into the lake. Afterwards it is theorized that the infra-red radiation has made Barugon immune to the effects of the "Diamond Lure". Another plan, the "Infra-red Diamond Lure" defense is hatched. This would involve putting the Black Tribe diamond in an infra-red generator and using the resultant ray to lure Barugon to a watery death. Karen reveals that rain weakens Barugon and the Japanese military keeps Barugon doused with artificial rain. The "Infra-red Diamond Lure" defense is put into effect. Onodera, however, gets wind of the plan and resolves to steal the Black Tribe diamond. The plan is executed and this time Barugon follows the lure without hesitation. Just as Barugon is about to be drawn into heavy water, Onodera bursts on the scene and steals the Black Tribe diamond. Barugon approaches the boat carrying the infra-red generator and destroys it. Barugon then eats Onodera - and the Black Tribe diamond. Having failed, the Japanese military keeps Barugon sedated with rain. In dejection, Keizuke and Karen visit the site of Barugon's attack on the missile battery and discover an anomaly, everything but glass has been destroyed. From this comes the theory that Barugon's infra-red beam can be reflected. With this information, the "Reflect attack" plan is hatched. A giant mirror is constructed and put in front of Barugon. Barugon is then goaded into firing the rainbow ray. The mirror reflects the ray back upon Barugon, but the monster stops firing before the ray can be lethal. This exchange again attracts Gamera, who has thawed out after last battling Barugon. This time, Gamera manages not to get frozen, and eventually manages to drag Barugon into deep water, where the monster drowns. The threat vanquished, Gamera flies off in search of some convenient volcano for dinner.
Alternates titles[edit | edit source]
- War of the Monsters (United States)
Production[edit | edit source]
Due to the commercial success of Gamera, the Giant Monster, the follow-up, Gamera vs. Barugon, had an expanded budget that effects director Noriaki Yuasa stated was ¥80 million. Producer and studio head Masaichi Nagata promoted the film into an A-list production, assigning acclaimed director Shigeo Tanaka and acclaimed composer Chuji Kinoshita to the film. Yuasa, director of the previous Gamera film, was demoted to special effects director for Gamera vs. Barugon, despite the previous film being a financial success. Despite his demotion, Yuasa later stated the he had a father/son relationship with Tanaka. Yuasa recalled that Daiei wanted to target the film to an adult audience, stating, "I thought that mixing melodrama and monsters was difficult to do."
With the film being produced as an A-list production, Nagata chose Kojiro Hongo for the lead after wanting him to headline a film for some time, despite Hongo's uncertainty. Hongo felt "stuck" with performing in the film and initially attempted to drop out by faking an illness, which caused production to delay for a month. Upon learning that the production manager and section manager were coming to see him, Hongo placed blood-stained tissues in the trash and pretended to have chills, which convinced the managers and agreed to wait for his recovery, to Hongo's dismay. Hongo did not read the script after receiving it, believing that little acting was involved due to Yuasa telling him where the monsters would be placed. However, Hongo was unaware there were two directors: one for special effects and one for acting scenes. Years later, Hongo admitted to being grateful and proud to have been involved with the Gamera and Daimajin films. A scene that featured Osamu Abe's character slipping on a banana peel was cut to remove the comedic tone of the scene. Principal photography for the drama scenes directed by Tanaka began on February 20, 1966 and wrapped on April 5, 1966.
Writing[edit | edit source]
Screenwriter Niisan Takahashi was told to write a "lavish spectacle" and to treat the monster elements seriously. The film was originally developed as Gamera vs. the Ice Giants, which featured humanoid ice monsters bringing forth a new ice age on the world until Gamera returns to challenge them. The story outline was written by Yunosaburo Saito. This version began with volcanic eruptions and flying saucer sightings. The volcanic ash pollutes the atmosphere and ushers in a new ice age. Mankind learns that ice aliens are responsible for the eruptions. The aliens are described as hideous with their skeletons and organs transparent through their icy bodies. The aliens drop nuclear bombs into additional volcanoes to further terraform the planet and enslave humanity. Gamera is freed from the Z-Plan rocket and returns to Earth as a battle breaks between humans and the aliens.
Takahashi was inspired by the Jötnar from Norse mythology and the snow giants from The Conquest of the Pole, however, the ice creatures were redeveloped into Barugon. However, the ice giant idea was later redeveloped into Daimajin, dropping the ice element in favor of stone. Barugon's name was contracted from "Baru" (an aboriginal word for "crocodile's ancestor") and "Gon", derived from the English word for "dragon". The original screenplay had ideas and scene that were altered in the final film. The following are the noted differences. Barugon's back horns emitted different colors. The re-cap from the film's opening was added during post-production for audiences who had not seen the previous film. The script opened with Keisuke Hirata flying a Cessna with his instructor over Osaka, only to lose control due to radio interference. The scene then cuts to outer space where the Z-Plan rocket carrying Gamera nearly collides with a meteorite. Mission control manage to evade collision, however, the altered trajectory lures the rocket back to Earth and frees Gamera upon entering the Earth's atmosphere.
Gamera's attack on Kurobe Dam intercut with Keisuke on the Cessna. The establishing shot of women practicing koto was not in the script. The dancing female natives were originally topless. The quicksand scene was not featured in the script. The script featured a discussion between Keisuke and Onodera regarding bringing Kawajiri's bones back to Japan, with Onodera insisting there was no time. A scene from the script featured Onodera making his getaway at night by hijacking Dr. Matsushita's jeep. The script had Gamera flying over Onodera's ship in Kobe Bay, triggering the opal to glow. In his haste to see Gamers, Onodera kicks over the infrared lamp towards his coat pocket holding the opal. When Keisuke and Karen arrive in Japan, the dialogue remains the same as in the final film, but the script had Keisuke panicking and Karen unveil the diamond at this stage. Onodera learns about the diamond through a radio report while still tied up, as his mistress was not part of the script. In the original ending, in response to Keisuke saying he has nothing anymore, Karen asks if he has abandoned his dream of owning his own air service.
Special effects[edit | edit source]
Noriaki Yuasa directed the film's special effects. Yonesaburo Tsukiji, the effects director of the previous film, did not return due to leaving Daiei to form his own company. Yuasa began filming the effects on January 22, 1966, beginning with the Kurobe Dam attack scene. Effects photography wrapped on April 3, 1966, with the Lake Iwa battle. Effects filming lasted 73 days. Barugon's demise was originally intended to be filmed on the last day of production on April 2, 1966, however, the Barugon suit would not sink and delayed production for a full day. Suit creator Ryosaku Takayama (suit creator for the Ultraman series) removed the suit's head from the body, which allowed the prop to sink and complete production. Equis Productions, led by Masao Yagi and his family, created the film's scorpion props and the monster suits based on Akira Inoue's production designs. The Barugon suit was constructed by Takayama and detailed by the Yagi brothers.
After returning to Tokyo, Takayama worked in Equis’ workshop to build full scale suits and miniatures of both monsters and a gimmick version of Barugon capable of spraying mist from its tongue. Takayama was assisted by Keisu Murase from Equis. Teruo Aragaki (suit performer for the Ultraman series) was sent to Daiei to perform in the Gamera suit. While no documents have been released revealing the Barugon suit performer, Japanese fantasy expert August Ragone deduced that it may have been Umenosuke Izumi, due to Izumi being Aragaki’s second and assuming the Gamera role in later films.
Effects engineer Hideo Arikawa supervised the operation of wire-operated props, miniatures, pyrotechnics, and the scorpion props. Due to his father's acquaintance with Eiji Tsuburaya, Yuasa was able to pull resources from Tsuburaya Productions for the film's effects. At times, Yuasa was forced to change set ups for effects shots when Tanaka would change his mind at the last minute. Yuasa protested to the studio chief after discovering that some of his effects footage was being cut from the assembly, stating, "I'm the director of special effects! Don't change this cut!" The shrieking sounds for the cave bats were originally produced for the rat creatures for the unproduced film Nezura. Yuasa noted Barugon's birth scene as the scene he "liked best". Additional wires were added to Barugon's head, as the motor inside made it heavy and difficult to lift with a single wire. It took Yuasa and his effects crew all night to film the shots with Barugon passing over a building with people projected inside and the freezing of Osaka, an effect that was deemed expensive. For scenes with Gamera breathing fire, Aragaki was not inside and the suit was held by wires. Propane and gasoline were used for the flames. Wire operations were tasked to effects engineer Haruo Sekia, who found the job difficult due to 20 wires being used during the Iwa battle scene and the materials used to make the suits making them heavy when absorbing water.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- This is the only Showa Gamera film that does not feature a child protagonist.
- This is the first Gamera movie to feature another monster.
- The monster Barugon shares a similar name and appearance to the Toho monster, Baragon from Frankenstein Conquers the World, released the previous year.