Gamera vs. Viras (1968)
Gamera vs. Viras (ガメラ対宇宙怪獣バイラス is a Gamera Tai Uchū Kaijū Bairasu, lit. Gamera vs. Space Monster Viras)1968 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Daiei Motion Picture Company and the fourth entry in the Gamera series. It was released to Japanese theaters on March 20, 1968 on a double bill with Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters.
When an evil alien force arrives to conquer Earth, Gamera falls under their control and begins a destructive rampage through Japan. With the Earth ready to surrender, two boys who have been captured aboard the aliens' ship work together to sabotage the invaders' hold on Gamera. With Gamera freed, the aliens combine together into the kaiju Viras, who begins a battle to the death with Gamera.
An alien spaceship approaches Earth, its occupants the Virasians intent on conquering the planet for their own. However, the ship is attacked in space by Gamera, who badly damages it by smashing into it with his head and breathing fire inside of it. The ship's commander gives an order for a second ship to be deployed, and warns the rest of his race about Gamera just before the ship explodes.
In Japan, a large gathering of Boy Scouts from both Japan and the United States is taking place. When the scoutmaster Mr. Shimida begins roll call, two of the boys, Masao Nakaya and Jim Crane, are nowhere to be seen. The two boys have snuck off to the nearby Ocean Research Institute, where they enter the unattended miniature research submarine. To play a prank, Masao switches the controls for the sub, after which the two boys return to the scout gathering. Shimida announces that a scientist from the institute, Dr. Dobie, will be allowing each scout to take a ride on his institute's submarine. Shimida and Dobie board the sub first to demonstrate, but they quickly find themselves in trouble with the controls reversed. They manage to return safely to shore, where Masao offers to repair the sub and take it for a ride. Shimida tells Dobie that Masao is a genius with machinery, so the doctor agrees. Masao and Jim take the submarine into the water, accounting for the reversed controls. During their voyage, they observe all of the fish swimming around the sub before witnessing Gamera swim by. They race him with the sub, while Jim takes pictures of the kaiju with his camera. The second Virasian UFO arrives in the area seeking out Gamera, and uses its Super Catch Ray to restrain him along with the sub. The boys tell Gamera they are running out of oxygen, and he lifts the bubble created by the ray to help them escape. With Gamera temporarily immobilized, the Virasians observe his memories to find his weakness. After seeing his first battle with Gyaos, they notice that he went out of his way to save the boy Eiichi from the monster. They determine that Gamera's weakness is his kindness to human children, and set out to exploit this. The ship flies over the scouts gathered on the shore, with Gamera in pursuit. Masao and Jim run after Gamera and wave to him, but find themselves abducted by the UFO's Super Catch Ray. The Virasians contact Gamera and tell him they will kill the two boys if he does not comply with their demands. Gamera obeys their orders and touches down on the beach. They fire a mind control device onto the back of his neck and order him to begin a campaign of destruction across Japan. Gamera first attacks a dam then moves on to Tokyo, where he destroys the Tokyo Tower.
Aboard the ship, Masao and Jim try to think of a way to defeat the aliens and free Gamera. While exploring the ship, they find what appears to be a monster trapped in a cage. They assume the monster was captured like them by the aliens, and promise to free it. Jim uses his lasso to restrain one of the Virasians by the arm, but to his shock the Virasian launches his own disembodied arm at the boys and pins them to a wall, where they are trapped by restraints. The alien reattaches his arm and laughs, leaving the two boys trapped. Masao uses his personal wristwatch device to contact his sister Mariko, who is in a meeting with the JSDF where they are discussing what to do. The boys are informed that the United Nations is deciding whether to surrender to the Virasians or to sacrifice the boys' lives and attack the UFO. The boys say they are willing to sacrifice themselves, but the U.N. decides to surrender instead. The boys free themselves and are contacted by Mr. Shimida, who tells them to apply their earlier prank to the aliens' ship. The boys realize they can reverse the controls on the mind control device and free Gamera from the aliens' control. They sneak into the room with the Virasians, who with Earth's surrender order Gamera to wipe out humanity with no opposition. They then inform the aliens that the monster has escaped, and the Virasians quickly run off to investigate. While they are gone, they reverse parts of the machines that control the mind control device and the Super Catch Ray, then use the ray to beam themselves back to the beach.
Gamera soon arrives at the beach, and the Virasians order him to kill the two escaped boys. Instead, Gamera flies at the UFO and smashes into it, breathing fire inside. The aliens flee to the room with the caged monster, whom they address as the "Boss." The Boss tells them he will kill Gamera himself, but that he will need all their lives. He quikly slices off their heads with his tentacle, and from their decapitated bodies the forms of aliens just like the Boss emerge. Seeing this, Masao tells Jim that the Virasians must have kidnapped other humans like them and taken over their bodies to wear as costumes. The undisguised Virasians then merge with the Boss one-by-one, causing him to grow into the giant monster Viras. Viras challenges Gamera, attacking him with his tentacles. Gamera fights off the beast, who leaps into the water and wraps a tentacle around Gamera's neck, trying to drag him under with him. Gamera pulls Viras out of the water and throws him. Viras molds the top of its head into a sharpened point and lunges at Gamera, only to miss and strike a rock instead. Gamera begins throwing Viras by his tentacles. When Viras tries to stab him again with its head, Gamera throws a rock that becomes lodged on Viras' head. Gamera throws Viras into the sea, then leaps in after him. The monsters fight underwater, with Viras trying to swim away. Gamera grabs onto Viras as he swims and rides him like a jet ski until Viras crashes into the shore and sends Gamera flying. Viras then impales Gamera through the underbelly of his shell with his head, then proceeds to stab him repeatedly. Gamera retracts into his shell and takes flight, with Viras stuck onto him. Gamera flies high into the atmosphere where Viras begins to freeze solid. Gamera continues to spin until Viras is released. Viras plumets through the air and strikes the water below, disintegrating on impact. The boys bid farewell to Gamera as he flies away, while the other scouts and the boys' parents arrive to meet them.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Noriaki Yuasa
- Written by Nisan Takahashi
- Executive producer Hidemasa Nagata
- Music by Kenjiro Hirose
- Cinematography by Akira Kitazaki
- Edited by Shoji Sekiguchi
- Production design by Tomohisa Yano
- Assistant directing by Masayoshi Imago
- Special effects by Kazufumi Fujii, Yuzo Kaneko
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Kojiro Hongo as Scoutmaster Mr. Shimida
- Michiko Yaegaki as Mariko
- Mari Atsumi as Junko Aoki
- Junko Yashiro as Masako Shibata
- Yoshiro Kitahara as Masao's Father
- Akira Natsuki as Viran C
- Koji Fujiyama as Self-Defense Force Commander
- Chikara Hashimoto as Viran A
- Carl Craig as Jim Crane
- Toru Takatsuka as Masao Nakaya
- Kenji Go as Viran B
- Munehiko Takada as Jim's Father
- Peter Williams as Dr. Dobie
- Ken Nakahara as Viran D
- Kenichiro Yamane as Viran E
- Mary Morris as Mrs. Crane
- Himawari and Kojika Acting Troupes
- Genzo Wakayama as Viras (voice)
- Teruo Aragaki as Gamera
Weapons, vehicles, and races
- Main article: Gamera vs. Viras/Gallery.
- Main article: Gamera vs. Viras (Soundtrack).
- Gamera vs. Space Monster Viras (literal Japanese title)
- Gamera vs. the Giant Space Monster (ガメラ対宇宙大怪獣 Gamera tai Uchū Daikaijū, early Japanese title)
- Gamela vs. Outerspace Monster Bairus (alternate romanization)
- Gamela vs. Bairus (alternate romanization)
- Gamera versus Space Monster Bairas (English Japanese title)
- Destroy All Planets (United States)
- The invincible monster (Il mostro invincibile; Italy)
- Japan - March 20, 1968
- Italy - 1969; 1977
In June 1968, Gamera vs. Viras played alongside Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare at the New Kokusai Theater in Honolulu, Hawaii, presented in Japanese with English subtitles. Advertisements referred to the film as either Gamela vs. Outerspace Monster Bairus or just Gamela vs. Bairus.
In 1970, Gamera vs. Viras was made available for syndication in the continental United States through American International Television, under the title Destroy All Planets, likely to capitalize on the success of the Godzilla film, Destroy All Monsters, which American International released to theaters the previous year. The English dubbing was recorded at Titan Productions, Inc., under the direction of voice actor Bret Morrison. Destroy All Planets is based on a cut of the film produced by Daiei for international distribution, for which the Virasians' videotron examination of Gamera's memories was extended by more than eighteen minutes.[note 1] Along with Gamera vs. Jiger and Gamera: Super Monster, Gamera vs. Viras was one of three Gamera movies not licensed by Sandy Frank Film Syndication in the 1980s.
Shout! Factory and Mill Creek Entertainment have released the film on DVD as Gamera vs. Viras, with its original Japanese audio track and English subtitles. The Destroy All Planets version of the film has been released on DVD by countless different companies who assumed it was in the public domain. In 2020, Arrow Video released the film in the U.S. and U.K. as part of their Gamera: The Complete Collection Blu-ray box set, including both the theatrical and revised Japanese versions of the film as well as the Destroy All Planets version.
Shout! Factory DVD (2010)
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (1.0 Mono), English (1.0 Mono)
- Special features: Gallery of publicity materials
- Notes: Both versions of the film use the same 81-minute Japanese video track. Packaged with Gamera vs. Gyaos.
Mill Creek DVD (2014) [Gamera: Legacy Collection]
- Region: 1
- Discs: 4
- Audio: Japanese (1.0 Mono)
- Special features: None
- Notes: 81-minute version of the film. Packaged with Gamera: The Giant Monster, Gamera vs. Barugon, Gamera vs. Gyaos, Gamera vs. Guiron, Gamera vs. Jiger, Gamera vs. Zigra, Gamera: Super Monster, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion, and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris.
Mill Creek Blu-ray (2014) [Gamera: Ultimate Collection, Volume 1]
- Region: N/A
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
- Special features: None
- Notes: 81-minute version of the film. Packaged with Gamera: The Giant Monster, Gamera vs. Barugon, and Gamera vs. Gyaos.
Arrow Video Blu-ray (2020/2021) [Gamera: The Complete Collection and Gamera - The Showa Era]
- Region: A and B
- Discs: 8 (The Complete Collection] or 4 (The Showa Era)
- Audio: Japanese and English (DTS-HD Master Audio Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: 72- and 81-minute version of the film in Japanese, audio commentary by Carl Craig and Jim Cirronella, introduction by August Ragone (11 minutes), "Gamera vs. Viras - 52 Years Later" featurette with Craig and Cirronella which focuses on Craig's mementos from the film (12 minutes), footage of Craig and Noriaki Yuasa at G-Fest 2003 (61 minutes), 1966 The 4th Nippon Jamboree short directed by Yuasa, opening and end credits from the AI-TV version of the film, Japanese theatrical trailer, American TV spot, and an image gallery. Gamera: The Complete Collection includes 12 art cards by Matt Frank, a map of Gamera's appearances throughout the world, and two books; the first collects A History of Gamera by Patrick Macias, a 1996 Noriaki Yuasa interview by David Milner, kaiju x-ray illustrations by Jolyan Yates, three Fangoria articles on the Heisei Gamera trilogy by Norman England, a guide to the English dubs of the Gamera series by James Flower, and information on the transfers presented in the set, while the second reprints the comics Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe and The Last Hope.
- Notes: Gamera: The Complete Collection is out of print, while Gamera - The Showa Era will be released on January 25, 2021. Packaged with the other 11 Gamera films in The Complete Colection and the other 7 Showa Gamera films in The Showa Era. Due to the large number of special features in these sets, only the supplements pertinent to Gamera vs. Viras are described above.
- Stock footage from Gamera vs. Barugon and Gamera is used to depict Gamera's rampage while under the control of the Virasians.
- Stock footage of Gamera's battle with Viras would later be featured in the 1980 film Gamera: Super Monster.
- This was suit actor Teruo Aragaki's last time playing Gamera, a role he had played since Gamera vs. Barugon. He would be replaced by Umenosuke Izumi for the following two films.
- This was the last Showa Gamera film to star Kojiro Hongo. Hongo would later return to the series in a small role for the Heisei reboot, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe.
- Chikara Hashimoto, best known for playing Daimajin, appears in this film as one of the Virasians.
- When the film was released in Japan, this sequence used approximately two minutes of stock footage from Gamera and Gamera vs. Gyaos. In Daiei's international cut and Destroy All Planets, however, the videotron sequence was lengthened by adding footage from Gamera vs. Barugon and more footage from Gamera vs. Gyaos. No footage from Gamera was added. Additionally, there exists a version of Gamera vs. Viras that runs 81 minutes. Noriaki Yuasa reportedly supervised the editing of the videotron montage in this version.
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