I think I first heard of Gammera by seeing the movie listed in an early seventies TV Guide and as a young kid I found the idea of a giant, fire breathing turtle pretty cool. I recently picked up a dvr set of the uncut Japanese versions from Monsters in Motion and have slowly been going through them. I know it drives the purists crazy but I usually prefer the Americanized versions as they are what I grew up on. Yeah, that includes GODZILLA too. Oh sorry,  I meant GOJIRA. That’s how you know when somebody takes this shit too seriously, they insist on saying “Gojira”. Say what you will but I think Raymond Burr really ties it all together nicely and as a kid I was sorta baffled by Perry Mason being in a Godzilla flick. It’s great having access to both though and the bulk of the Gammera movies on public domain releases look like crap. Anyway, the Japanese versions look great. The sharp, crisp picture really shows the nice effects work. Like GODZILLA, GAMMERA THE INVINCIBLE is a pretty somber film with a fair amount of sadness to it. It’s the only one in B & W and that adds a lot.vlcsnap-10593614


Some of the subtitles are great. My favorite says “Plato’s philosophy and old legends mentioned fire breathing turtles.” Really makes you think.

The Japanese version has some Americans in it as Air Force command staff but they are replaced in the American version with different guys and Albert Dekker and Brian Donlevy are added as well. My favorite part of the American version is a news program debate between opposite sides of the Gammera issue. Here is the clip:


Here’s is the Japanese version opening and first few minutes:

and the American version from Alpha video’s disc:

Japanese version rock club clip:



Some of you Marvel Comics readers may recognize “Plan Z” as the same plan that was used on the Hulk a couple of years ago. It failed on Gammera as well.