Public Domain Theater (Double Feature): Gamera

Welcome to Public Domain Theater, your home for the wonderful world of films that have (in the United States, at least) fallen into the public domain, and are free for everyone to see!

This time around we’ve got a special treat for you: not one but two feature length films, starring everyone’s favorite giant monster … who’s not Godzilla. Or King Kong. Or Mothra. Or King Ghidorah. I guess Rodan’s got his fans. And I suppose if you count the Iron Giant …

Okay, look, it’s Gamera. This month’s films star Gamera.

We kick off with his debut picture, Gamera, the Giant Monster (a.k.a. Gammera the Invincible), and boy, is it trying to ape the original, 1954 Godzilla hard. Right down to the English dub that inserts footage of American actors pretending they’re the part of the plot. But even when Gamera’s doing its level best to imitate the undisputed king of serious, dramatically heavy kaiju films, it can’t help having extra layers of ridiculous on top (let’s just say the secret weapon to defeat Gamera is no Oxygen Destroyer).

So perhaps it’s for the best that our next film goes all in on being a goofy kids’ picture. Gamera vs. Guiron (a.k.a. Attack of the Monsters) is the fifth film in the series, and it’s astounding how in just five films you can go from the at least attempted gravitas of the first film to the infamous scene of a giant turtle performing gymnastics on an alien planet.

I’m willing to bet a fair number of you have seen these films before. More specifically, I’m willing to bet you’ve seen the Mystery Science Theater 3000 versions of these films. Well, Public Domain Theater doesn’t have any wisecracking robots, sadly enough, but hopefully these flicks have enough ridiculous giant monster action to keep you entertained regardless.

It’s a giant, flying, fire-breathing turtle who levels cities, and is also “the Friend to All Children”. What’s not to love?

Gamera, the Giant Monster:

Gamera vs. Guiron: