Mystery Science Theater 3000: Gamera vs. Guiron (1991)
Starring: Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu and Kevin Murphy

The Plot: Joel Robinson and his robotic friends Crow and Tom Servo are stuck in outer space aboard the Satellite of Love where they are forced, by the evil Dr. Forrester, to watch very bad movies. The crew try to make the most of the flicks that are presented to them by continually cracking jokes while the movies play on for the audience at home. In this episode the crew tackle yet another Gamera movie: Gamera vs. Guiron. This time out we focus on two young boys who notice what seems like a spaceship crashing into earth near their home. When the two go out and find this mysterious aircraft, they accidentally hijack it and steer it toward its very strange homeplanet. As the family of the two boys deal with their disappearance, despite the sister of one boy continually telling them what happened, the boys find themselves coming face to face with the alien creatures who inhabit this planet. At first glance it seems that two women, who look VERY human, seem to be the main inhabitants of this desolate planet, however there is also Guiron: the giant knife faced monster lurking about. With the boys held captive here, their only hope turns out to be the giant monster Gamera who as we all know is a friend to all children!

The Review
As we get closer to the finale of the MST3K vs Gamera box set, it seems that the movies are becoming progressively more and more abstract. Although Gamera vs. Guiron is yet another very familiar title within the lineage of Gamera movies, it is a flick that ultimately takes the childlike innocence that was very much a part of the original movie but manages to amplify it to some rather insane levels. It seems to be the movie that director Yuasa was always moving towards, but in a slightly more disastrous turn that I would have ever imagined. Essentially Yuasa takes the concept of children being central figures within the Gamera universe, but moves the entire production in a direction that leaves the earth’s stratosphere both literally and figuratively in terms of general weirdness. The resulting mess creates a Gamera movie that leaves a lot to be desired as a movie of its own, but turns out to be a suitable and highly entertaining episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

With every episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, it always seemed as if Joel and the bots were getting better with what they do, and watching these Gamera movies in linear-order really allows for the viewer to see that in action. Straight out of the gates, Joel and the bots are all over this Gamera title in an episode that likely compiles the very best riffing that this series has seen. Not only is this Gamera title the most purely insane feature within the collection so far, it also acts as one of the most incompetently distributed. Sure, Gamera vs. Barugon and Gamera vs. Gaos weren’t exactly well-handled when it came to their English dubbing, but Gamera vs. Guiron is on a completely different level of bad. The introductory sequence which features Eiji Funakoshi, the scientist from the first Gamera movie making a return, marks one of the very best moments of MST3K riffing as far as Gamera movies go. Pointing out just how terrible the dubbing is, and how long it takes Funakoshi’s character to actually complete a very simple sentence, the guys exacerbate the ridiculousness of the situation and strike comedy gold. A gut-busting’ly funny sequence in the very opening minutes of the film thankfully doesn’t fill us with false hope, because the rest of the movie gains on those laughs.

According to Kaiju expert and resident man of awesomeness August Ragone, who has an amazing featurette on the MST3K vs Gamera box set, at this point in time the Gamera films were finding overseas financing in the form of American distributors who liked the movies so much that they were buying them up before the movies had even been made! So, with this Western influence on the productions we started to see Caucasian characters popping up here and there within these movies. With Guiron we’re introduced to a neighboring Western family who allow for their boy to spend time with their young star-gazing neighbor. Normally this kind of strange international casting would probably have you scratching your head… but lets be honest here, this is a movie where two young boys hijack a space ship and fly across the galaxy to another planet, where they are nearly devoured by cannibal women, until a giant space turtle comes to rescue them. The international casting is far from the strangest thing going on here.

When it comes to technical innovations from previous Kaiju movies, these flicks have one scale to judge them by: the monsters. Is the monster impressive? And how are the fights? Well, even though Guiron is probably the silliest looking Gamera creature ever, director Yuasa does a great job of quickly establishing Guiron’s incredible skills by immediately killing off one of Gamera’s greatest enemies: Gaos. Not only does Guiron kill Gaos, he completely butcher’s him. Literally! Guiron, whose nose is a gigantic blade, chops the bird monster into tiny little pieces in one of the most violent sequences I have seen from a Gamera movie at this point. This is of course quite odd, considering the considerable role that children play within this movie, but what exactly makes sense about a project like this? The fight sequences that Guiron and Gamera have throughout the majority of the picture turn out to be some of the most entertaining of his career, including the notorious bit where Gamera spins on the parallel bars like an Olympic athlete, but unfortunately there just weren’t enough. Truly the monsters play background roles while the majority of the film focuses on the children and their exploits on this wild and new planet.

The Conclusion
A weak Gamera film makes for an epic and strong episode of MST3K as Joel and the bots tackle this movie with the greatest of ease. Although these episodes seem to get better and better as they go along, Gamera vs. Guiron is hard to beat.