Shout! Factory To Release Gamera DVD
by Armand Vaquer
For years, fans of the Showa Gamera series have been waiting for a quality DVD to be released in the United States. They needn't wait anymore!
Kaiju fandom is abuzz over the news that Shout! Factory is going to release a Gamera DVD May 18th.
Shout! Factory's news release is as follows:
From Japan – the country that brought us such mythical movie monsters as Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah – storms Gamera, the titanic terrapin feared by adults and loved by children. On May 18, 2010, Shout! Factory will unleash Gamera, The Giant Monster – Special Edition on DVD for the first time in its unedited original version, with English subtitles — in anamorphic widescreen from an all-new HD master. The DVD includes a 12-page booklet with an essay by director Noriaki Yuasa, a photo gallery, trailers and more. The collectible Gamera, The Giant Monster Special Edition DVD is priced to own at $19.93.
Like all classic monster movies, it is the folly of man that unleashes a ginormous beast upon the world. This time it is literal fallout from the Cold War — a Soviet bomber is shot down over U.S. airspace in the Arctic Ocean, with the massive radiation from the resultant atomic explosion awakening the ancient, gargantuan Gamera. A long-forgotten legend of the lost continent of Atlantis, the 200-foot-long, fire-eating turtle isn't in a good mood, and proving impervious to all manmade weapons, the colossal chelonian smashes a cataclysmic swath across the globe. But when he arrives in Tokyo, a small boy forms an odd connection with him, allowing authorities to unleash “Plan Z.”
The classic Gamera was directed Noriaki Yuasa, who helmed all seven of the original Gamera entries in the Showa era series between 1965 and 1971, and stars Eiji Funakoshi (Fires On The Plain), Harumi Kiritachi, Junichiro Yamashiko and Jutaro Hojo (Wrath of Daimajin). The subsequent franchise was more kid-friendly (yet ironically bloodier) than Godzilla, who became less menacing and more cuddly himself during the Sixties. The Gamera series was creative in the monstrous nemeses that it pitted against the towering turtle, the most famous being the flying, pointy-headed Gyaos, who was resurrected for the successful trio of movies in the Heisei-era series between 1995 and 1999.
Created by the same company who brought Zatoichi to the screen, Daiei Studios’ titanic terrapin is the only true rival to Toho’s King Of The Monsters, able to hold his own at the box office and secure a place in the hearts of kaiju eiga (Japanese monster movie) fans around the world. The original films have woefully been underrepresented on DVD, a especially release featuring the authentic Japanese versions.
About Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory is a diversified entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their careers sharing their music, television and film faves with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD offerings serve up classic, contemporary and cult TV series, riveting sports programs, live music, animation and documentaries in lavish packages crammed with extras. The company’s audio catalogue boasts GRAMMY®-nominated boxed sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations. These riches are the result of a creative acquisitions mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. With its fingers on the pulse of pop culture, Shout! Factory continues to impact the entertainment media landscape through acquisition of top quality programming for home entertainment releases. Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit shoutfactory.com
Above, Gamera director Noriaki Yuasa (1933-2004) (left) at G-FEST in 2003. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
August Ragone, author of Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters, is the Special Features Producer for Shout! Factory's Gamera series.