krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
A few weeks ago, after completing some training I was assigned to at work close to two years ago, I was at last able to transfer off of twelve-hour rotating day and night shifts and back on to regular eight-hour days. I contemplated that this little extra bit of regularity in my life could let me watch more Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes with the intention of commenting on them... but it so happened that right when I transferred, I received the new "MST3K vs. Gamera" DVD set in the mail, and started off rewatching the three Gamera movies I've already commented on. Something about watching three third-season episodes in a row just to have watched them, I have to admit, could get a little tedious even if the new extras on the discs were interesting and illuminating... but at last, I've made it to "Gamera vs. Guiron," in some opinions the standout of all the Gamera episodes.

It was explained in one of the extras that by this point in the late 1960s, an American studio had secured exclusive rights to show the Gamera movies on TV and suggested to the Japanese producers that they include a Caucasian kid in the cast. This helps explain why Akio and his little sister Tomoko (we've already come a ways from "Kenny") are joined by Tom, who as the "riffers" keep reminding us has some resemblance to a young Richard Burton. After seeing a flying saucer land while stargazing and pestering the expressive-faced local policeman Kondo (whose name keeps being interpreted as "Cornjob,") the three tykes find the (model) spacecraft landed in the woods and the two lads board it ("Remember, always wait for the reverse angle; otherwise you'll walk right into the painting.") only to be whisked into space. ("Oh, I saw this in The Last Starfighter.") Gamera then shows up complete with jaunty theme song flying alongside them for a while, and then they land on a strange (model) planet. ("Well! Here's a hundred million yen well spent!")

Gaos returns now painted silver, but the strange knife-headed monster Guiron lumbers from an underground lair ("I know, I know! Don't laugh, they made me in a hurry.") and chops Gaos into thick steaks in gruesome fashion. The two boys then make their way to two space women in silver getups, and while the generally strange and stilted dubbing is particularly off here it seems that the planet (frequently called a "star," as the same word can be used for both terms in Japanese) is "Terra," exactly on the other side of the sun from Earth (shades of the "Terra" in "Stranded in Space"...) The space women, though, have plans to leave their possibly doomed world, and read Akio's mind, then ply him and Tom with drugged doughnuts and drinks. ("Oh, soy milk mixed with pineapple juice!") In preparation for devouring Akio's brain ("Kid brains always taste better when they've been thinking about doughnuts!") the space women shave his head, but Gamera shows up in the nick of time only to be knifed by Guiron (who can also fire throwing stars from cunningly concealed ports in the sides of his head) and have to flee underwater. Things get stretched out with Tomoko trying to convince her mother, Tom's mother, "Cornjob," and the press what happened and Tom and Akio making various escape attempts, but at last Gamera causes enough commotion that Guiron rampages loose from the control of the space women. The space women are killed off, their flying saucer chopped in half by Guiron, and Gamera deploys his gymnastic skills and rams Guiron into the ground head-first ("Oh, he's playing supersonic mumbly-peg!"). The two boys then fire off missiles that Gamera rams through Guiron's throwing star ports and sets off, and at last Gamera welds the flying saucer back together with his flame breath and carries Akio and Tom back to Earth and a triumphant welcome, where Akio can continue to dwell on how traffic accidents are one thing we need to eliminate.

I suppose the movie itself may still be doing a lot of the humorous heavy lifting at this point in the show's history, but in this episode it does it well. So far as "host segments" go, we're treated to the Satellite of Love's own lyrics to the Gamera song, a boisterous faux-Japanese reprise (part of what's being sung sounds suspiciously like "Hirohito Gamera"), and Michael J. Nelson showing up in Deep 13 with black-dyed hair as Michael Feinstein, who provides his own exploration of the song before the pleased Dr. Forrester resolves to kill him.

July 2017

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