Gamera vs. Barugon continues the adventures started 6 months prior in Gamera: The Giant Monster. At the end of the first Gamera movie, Gamera was tricked into a satellite and fired into space. After a meteorite strikes the mechanical device, Gamera crashes back to Earth and begins his attacks again. But, just in Japan.
Coming in after the Godzilla movies had about 8 or 9 films, the Gamera entries just feel quaint. Hell, TOHO had a Barugon creature already and this one felt like a slight tracing of that one. But, it doesn’t matter. The kids love Kaiju movies!
Barugon opens up a new dynamic for Gamera by giving him an equally powered monster to fight. In his first outing, everyone was like check out that giant turtle monster. What Gamera vs. Barugon does is say look at that giant turtle monster vs. that lizard from a cave egg. Laughter and tears ensue, as the monsters cause a lot of collateral damage.
Gamera vs. Barugon is credited with being the most lavish of the 60s outings. But, it feels kinda Mad Libs at times. Even the ending with the sudden monster vs. monster killing feels like an afterthought. While it was double feature back in the day, it’s easy to see how these movies had a hard time competing in the mainstream with Godzilla.
Originally released in America as War of the Monsters, Arrow wisely includes that version on this set. You also get trailers, featurettes, commentary and a ton more special features. For a film series that was considered an after thought in North America, Arrow continues to work their magic.
As the first disc in the set to feature multiple films, I’d recommend sticking to theatrical release order. There’s nothing to be gained by getting funky with the chronology. Plus, it was a quick cash-in sequel that requires an almost immediate knowledge of the prior film. Things get a lot easier with the next Gamera entry.