Thursday, February 16, 2012

MST3K: Episode 304 - Gamera vs Barugon

I'm watching all the episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in order. More about this here. It began here.

Episode 304: Gamera vs Barugon

First aired: Comedy Central on 22 June 1991
Availability: iTunes, Amazon (Volume 21 Standard Edition/Deluxe Edition), Shout Factory (Volume 21 Collector's Edition), Best Brains (Volume 21 Collector's Edition)

Another Gamera film, another KTMA redo. Episode K04: Gamera vs Barugon is the oldest surviving KTMA episode of MST3K, so, for MSTies, it's like one of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Which is kinda sad, when you think about it.

It's a Silly Japanese Monster film, featuring two, count 'em: two, Silly Japanese Monsters. There's Gamera -- whose screen time in this version is so short it's almost a cameo role -- and Barugon, which is a horned dog-lizard that shoots rainbows and has a really long tongue.

Freaky blood-sucking scene
There's no Annoying Kid in Hot Pants running around, so the movie has this going for it. But, it doesn't have a Hot Japanese She-Villain. The leading lady isn't a villain, but a villager who travels to the big city. She does get weird with the whole blood-sucking scene. So, if you can ignore that...

The plot of the film, which is the most serious of the Gamera films, involves treasure hunters traveling to an island to steal a giant opal, which is really an egg, but they don't know it's an egg. One of the bad guys tries to kill the other two, and thinks he succeeds (one actually survives). On the trip back, the opal is exposed to radiation and grows into Barugon, who wreaks havoc across Japan. Barugon shows up, but is defeated. A bunch of plans are developed to beat Barugon, but all fail as new talents (huge tongue, shooting rainbows) are shown. Finally, Gamera recovers and defeats Barugon. The End.

Dog-lizard Barugon
The riffing is much better in this version than in the KTMA version, but that's to be expected. The Host Segments are funny. I loved the Mac vs PC opening. For the record, Servo is a Mac Head, while Crow is a PC Wonk.

As a point of reference, this episode was filmed when Windows wasn't an operating system, but an application that ran on top of the OS. It was up to version 3.0 -- a year before the classic Windows 3.1 was released -- when this episode first aired. It was probably still at 2.1 when it was filmed. Crow ribs Servo about "where's System 7" which was out by the time this episode aired, but obviously not when it was filmed. And System 7 came out 9 days before Windows 3.1.

Mac (Servo) vs PC (Crow)
The primary PC OS was MS-DOS 4.01, which sucked. DOS 5, which wasn't released until after Windows 3.1 was released.

Good times.

I'm still not a fan of Gamera movies, but I do like what J&tB do to them. Having said that, this is the best of the Gamera movies. Which is sort of like saying which World War II Axis Powers leader is your favorite (King Carol II, if I had to pick).

Funny riffs on a semi-serious movies. Funny Host Segments. Good episode.

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