Also known as: Gezora, Ganime, Kamēba: Kessen! Nankai no Daikaijū, lit. Gezora, Ganimes, and Kamoebas: Decisive Battle! Giant Monsters of the South Seas (Japan), Yog Monster From Space
Release Date: August 1st, 1970 (Japan)
Directed by: Ishirō Honda
Written by: Ei Ogawa
Music by: Akira Ifukube
Cast: Akira Kubo, Atsuko Takahashi, Yukiko Kobayashi, Kenji Sahara, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Yu Fujiki, Noritake Saito, Yûko Sugihara, Sachio Sakai
Toho, American International Pictures, 83 Minutes
When I reviewed The Mysterians, I mentioned that I had always wanted to see it because the film featured a kaiju that appeared in the first Godzilla game for the original Nintendo. Space Amoeba is another movie that also features a kaiju that was used in that game, despite it ever appearing in a Godzilla film, up to that point. That kaiju is the giant Kisslip cuttlefish Gezora.
Gezora makes a huge impact in this film and apparently, the creature was popular enough to find itself in a Godzilla game and later, a cameo in Godzilla: Final Wars. The movie also features two other kaiju: Ganime, a giant stone crab, and Kamoebas, a giant Matamata turtle.
Space Amoeba has a pretty cool story. A space probe is taken over by microscopic alien creatures. When the probe returns to Earth, the tiny aliens take over the body of a cuttlefish, growing it to monstrous proportions in an effort to take over the planet. But really, the cuttlefish Gezora just attacks villagers on a small South Pacific island. Once Gezora is defeated, the aliens create Ganime and then Kamoebas. They even take over one of the humans in the story. In the big finale, we end up with a big battle between the two kaiju, Ganime and Kamoebas, as they duke it out around an erupting volcano. It is a film with a lot of Tiki flare, similar to those Godzilla island movies, most notably Son of Godzilla and Ebirah, Horror of the Deep.
I really enjoyed the picture a lot. Although, the effects weren’t as stellar as the work of Eiji Tsuburaya, who collaborated with Ishirō Honda in earlier films. Honestly, some of the tentacle effects were actually pretty bad. A few times, when Gezora was grabbing a villager to snack on, his tentacles were animated like a cartoon. There are probably a million ways that these shots could have been done better.
Overall, the monsters weren’t fantastic, other than Gezora. Ganime felt like a rehash of Ebirah and Kamoebas seemed like Toho taking a jab at Daiei Film Co.’s Gamera. Their suits were pretty minimal in design. Granted, Gezora has a great look but they could’ve done a better job giving his big eyes some life and making his head, less balloon-like.
Regardless of the negatives, this is still a really exciting kaiju movie. The story was pretty fresh, which is impressive considering that this was towards the end of Japan’s first kaiju cultural explosion.
Space Amoeba is now one of my favorites in the genre. My experience was a very happy one, as it is always nice to find something new in something old. If I ever host a kaiju film festival, and I’ve thought about it, Space Amoeba will most assuredly be on the docket.