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Attack of the Monsters
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Box Front Japanese Title: Gamera Tai Daiaiku Guiron (“Gamera vs. Giant Evil Beast Guillon”)
Alternate Titles: Gamera vs. Guiron (Sandy Frank TV & video title); Gamera vs. Guiron, Giant Evil Monster (international title)
Director: Noriaki Yuasa (Gamera vs. Jiger, Gamera vs. Zigra)
Original Release Year: 1969
Running Time: 80 minutes

DVD Released By: Alpha Video
Video: Fullscreen
Audio: English mono
Extras: Picture gallery, Alpha Video catalog
Subtitles: None
Closed Captions: None
Region: 0
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 6
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $6.98
UPC #: 089218428295
Catalog #: ALP 4282D
Status: Available


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The Film: Two young boys, Tom and Akio, spot a UFO through a telescope one night.  The next day, they investigate the landing site.  The boys board the empty spacecraft, which takes off for parts unknown!  Gamera attempts to follow them, but lags behind.  The ship is bound for Earth’s sister planet, Terra, on the far side of the sun.

The last inhabitants of Terra are two women, Barbella (“Sweet as a little bird”) and Flobella (“Pretty as a flower”).  They have abducted the boys from Earth with their remote-controlled flying saucer.  They have to leave Terra, because not only is the planet freezing, it’s infested with monsters!  Swarms of Gyaos (the flying reptile from
the third Gamera movie) are ravaging the planet.  The Terrans’ watchdog monster is Guillon, whose head is shaped like a butcher knife and is twice as sharp.  This bizarre behemoth not only keeps the Gyaos at bay, he manages to knock out Gamera!  The boys need to stay ahead of the Terran women (who want to absorb their knowledge of Earth by eating their brains) long enough for Gamera to revive, defeat Guillon, and fly them back home.

The previous Gamera film,
Gamera vs. Viras (aka Destroy All Planets), was a lackluster affair.  Attack of the Monsters (fifth in the series) is an improvement.  Since most of the action takes place on another planet, there is some nifty set design.  The monster action can only be described as bizarre.  Guillon utilizes his knife-like head, and some ninja stars, to bloody his foes, while Gamera does gymnastics on the alien architecture!  In order to appeal to wide domestic and international audiences, this film again pairs a Japanese and a Caucasian boy in the lead roles.  The kids are likeable and resourceful.  Guillon looks like a monster a young child would design, and AOTM is perhaps the most child-oriented film in the series.

The major problem with the film is that the version on this disc is a censored TV print!  Scenes of Guillon dismembering Gyaos have been edited for violence.  While gruesome in a comical way, these scenes aren’t gratuitous.  They are basically a live-action version of
Looney Tunes or Tom and Jerry cartoon violence.  The famous (or infamous) Gamera song is also missing.  A company called Neptune Media previously released this film on VHS, under the title Gamera vs. Guillon.  They managed to secure an uncut widescreen print, and still used the original AIP dubbing on the soundtrack.  The version presented here is a travesty in comparison.  Grade:  C

Video: Attack of the Monsters is presented in fullscreen.  This greatly diminishes the visual scope of the film.  There are some speckles, blotches, and lines, but overall the print isn’t in terribly bad shape.  There is a fair amount of grain, and the image is very soft.  The colors are faded, but not nearly to the extent of Alpha’s War of the Monsters (which appeared to be black & white at times!).  The version of AOTM on Retromedia’s Gamera Double Feature disc is slightly sharper.  It also has more vibrant colors.  Of course, none of these cheap public domain versions can match the beautiful quality of the Japanese region 2 releaseGrade:  D

Audio: The English mono audio is acceptable, but nothing special.  It has little range or impact.  There is some hissing and popping, but it’s not a big problem.  The original AIP dubbing on this disc is generally considered superior to the later Sandy Frank dub (under the title Gamera vs. Guiron) that showed up on Celebrity’s VHS tape and Mystery Science Theater 3000.  The voice work is okay and the lip synch isn’t bad.  Some of the dialogue is corny (such as the frequent use of the term “star” when referring to a planet), and some of it is pretty good (“Just think how excited they’ll get on Earth, how groovy the girls are.  They’ll be a big hit down there,” says Tom of the aliens).  Grade:  C

Extras / Menus: Like Alpha’s other Gamera DVDs, this disc contains a picture gallery.  It consists of 13 still images.  The first one is the film’s Japanese theatrical poster.  The rest are all Japanese lobby cards / promotional pictures.  Most are in color; a few are black & white.  This is the least interesting of Alpha’s Gamera galleries.

There is also a “Catalog” with over 300 images of other DVD titles available from Alpha, including their other kaiju titles.  Alpha does come up with some cool, colorful cover art for many of their discs.  All of the menus are still images with no music or sound.  They are very simple and easy to navigate. 
Grade:  D+

Final Analysis: This is an edited movie, in fullscreen, on a disc with nothing special in terms of audio, video, or supplements.  Alpha Video’s Attack of the Monsters struggles for mediocrity.  At least it’s cheap.  Final Grade:  D
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