Destroy All Planets (1968)

No, not the Godzilla film of similar name, but clearly someone at American International (who bought the film for US TV) thought that if the film was going to rip Toho’s series off then it may as well swipe the title too, whether or not it means anything (which in this case it doesn’t). I’m even less au fait with the kaiju film than I am the giallo; I think my only prior experience of one was the original Gojira. I’ve missed out on a whole world of Japanese genre cinema… However, TVS (Sydney’s Channel 31 community station) has finally started airing on the digital spectrum, which means I can actually watch it for the first time in years, which further means I can now watch the Schlocky Horror Picture Show on Friday nights, hosted by Nigel Honeybone, and this was the first offering I got to see. And, er, wow. I’m not really sure what else to say about a film which features a giant flame-breathing jet-powered turtle with fangs battling a… thing I can only inadequately describe as a giant squid crossed with a stick of celery. Or something. Anyway, aliens come to conquer Earth, use Gamera to show they mean business by having him wipe out Tokyo (again), and the day can only be saved by two boy scouts who the aliens have also kidnapped to make Gamera do their bidding cos he loves kids so much. Oy. I can’t really say this was any good, but it was fun for a late Friday night; apparently Shout Factory in the US are doing DVD releases of the Gamera films in their original form, so it might be interesting to see how this film looks in proper widescreen rather than the faded-to-yellow public domain pan/scan TVS showed.

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