The Satellite Transmissions: MST3K KTMA Ep 4-Gamera vs Barugon

Oh hi, sirs! You probably thought I forgot about this project but nope! I just needed to take a few weeks off to deal with some stuff that happened. I watched this episode a couple of weeks ago and haven’t rewatched it since so this is mainly gonna be “what do I remember” sounds fun, no? Let’s do this!

The Movie

For whatever reason, during the next five episodes, they watch a lot of Gamera movies. I don’t know if Joel or someone else at KTMA were fans, they just happen to find five Gamera movies in their library, or they had nothing else to do for the next month. Regardless, our first outing here in the KTMA era isn’t even the first film in the series (that’ll be next week), but rather the follow up to the first film. It honestly don’t matter what order you watch these films, there’s hardly any continuity between films. The only thing you need to know is Gamera is a giant fire breathing turtle that can fly in space. Like most turtles are known to do.

One last thing to note, I’ll be damned if I remember which character was which. I read the Wikipedia article and it told me names and I’m gonna have to take it at face value. So bear with me (bare with me? Both feel wrong) as I tell you what happens in this movie.

We get kind of a recap of the previous film, which spoilers, MST3K! We won’t get to see that until NEXT WEEK! GOSH! We then meet a man named Ichiro. Ichiro was in the war (yes THAT war) and while in a random jungle somewhere on a remote island near Japan, he found a giant opal. Believing to be worth billions and billions of yen, he hid it in a cave somewhere and vowed to return to get it. For whatever reason that I feel like might’ve been quickly explained, instead of going himself, he hires three guys to go get it. Maybe Ichiro was under house arrest?

The three guys are Kawajiri, Onodera, and his brother Keisuke. I’m trying to be respectful of Japanese names but man, those are some handles. I’m just gonna give them nicknames based on the first three or four letters of their names. I hope that’s alright. Anyway, Kawa, Ono, and Keis agree to go to the island and look for the opal.

They ship off, arrive at the island, which is full of natives. The natives tell the three men NOT to go to the cave but Ono ignores them and insists they continue on to the caves. They find the caves, the opal, and start celebrating until a scorpion shows up and kills Kawa. Well, Ono COULD’VE saved Kawa but let the scorpion do its thing. Ono also betrays Keis and is pushed off a cliff, assumed to be dead. Ono, now a one man show, leaves the island with the Opal.

Ono finds his way onto a cruise ship and hides the opal in his room. While complaining about aches and pains, a waitstaff member on the ship gives Ono this weird massaging heat lamp thing that he leaves near the opal.

Meanwhile Keis is rescued by the natives on the island. The only one who can speak a lick of English, er, Japanese is a woman named…Karen. I promise that’s the name they gave her in the movie, its very clearly said. I did not Americanize her. Her name is Karen. I don’t know why a native on an island full of people who don’t speak Eng-,uh, Japanese is named Karen but you know what, let’s just roll with it.

Anyway, Karen tells Keis that the thing Ono stole wasn’t an opal…it’s an egg! And what do eggs need in order to hatch? Heat! And what is near the opal/egg on the ship Ono is on? A heat source! OH SNAP!! The egg hatches, immediately grows to giant monster size, and sinks the ship.

Ichiro finds Ono, who doesn’t know that the opal was an egg and thinks it’s still among the wreckage of the ship. Ono also tells Ichiro the other two guys died in the jungle and he is the only one left. But that’s not so! Keis and Karen show up to hunt Ono and tell him that the opal is an egg. And, you know, settle the whole “killing everyone” thing.

The giant monster that came from the egg, Barugon, is this dog-looking thing that roams around on all fours. It spits out rainbows. And because of this Gamera flies his happy ass back to Earth and starts wailing on his ass. Much like any giant monster film, the lead monster gets its ass handed to him/it and is gone for like 45 minutes in the middle of the film while the bad monster stops around Tokyo or whatever town in Japan we might happen to be. This is no except here, where Gamera ends up getting frozen and sent do the bottom of a lake.

Back with the humans, Keis and Karen eventually find Ono, who still doesn’t realize the opal was the egg that hatched Barugon nor does he believe them when he’s told this fact. There’s a brief fight scene between Keis and Ono which Keis wins and he ends up tying Ono up and leaving to help the military fight Barugon.

But Ono gets freed and interferes with Karen’s idea to use a giant diamond that…came from somewhere. I’ll be fucked if I remember. Anyway, Ono steals the diamond but it don’t matter cause Barugon does everyone a favor and swallows both the diamond and Ono, so yay?

After trying a few other ways to kill Barugon, one way involving mirrors and the rainbow that Barugon sometimes throws up, Gamera dethaws, reappears and ends up kicking Barugon’s ass by drowning him in a lake. Keis, now feeling lonely, forgets he had a total babe next to him this entire time but Karen reminds him. The end.

Oddly enough, I did kinda like this movie when it focused on the heist stuff and the betrayal stuff. It felt oddly adult. I’ve seen the other Gamera movies coming up and they are all focused on kids and feel very kid friendly, so it’s kind of refreshing to see a Gamera film with adults, mainly. Still a little boring here and there but probably one of the better ones, I feel. OK, let’s get to the MST3K episode.

The MST3K Episode

The main thing about this episode is Joel and the gang seem excited about their new voicemail set up. They play several messages throughout the episode. One person gave a pretty normal positive review, one game a negative review, and one was SUPER EXCITED and wanted “MORE! MORE! MORE! MORE!!!” which lead to a “Who’s On First?” style segment that I found amusing. I wonder if there really was a guy named Mo(o)re on Channel 4. That’s synergy!

The only other segment that didn’t involve the voicemails was Crow going on and on about human orifices that felt like a “we have no idea what to do during this segment so we’ll just say things for two minutes until MOVIE SIGN!!”

The riffing is damn near non-existent but there’s a few light chuckles here and there. I’m gonna just admit that during most of the episode I was kinda bored. I know going through these old episodes is a big of a slog but eventually in the KTMA era they hit their stride. We’re just…not near that point yet.

It is worth noting that until Joel found Episodes 1 and 2, this episode was the earliest available episode the fans were able to access. It took someone four episodes to even think about recording these but eventually someone did, and copies would be passed down from generation to generation. The copy I had has clearly been taped multiple times as the tracking lines are all over the screen and sometimes stuff is hard to see. I had to watch another version on YouTube to pick up on certain things and even that version was rough. Overall, a kind of “meh” episode with an OK movie.

Next time, we march on to Episode 5, where they cover the first Gamera film. Oh boy!


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