Customer Reviews: Return of the Giant Monsters - The Magic Serpent
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on July 25, 2004
Back in the day, these versions of RETURN OF THE GIANT MONSTERS and THE MAGIC SERPENT regularly appeared on Saturday Creature Feature on fuzzy UHF TV.(I remember watching RETURN OF THE GIANT MONSTERS on Channel 6 from New Bedford,abruptly put on at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon, because a baseball game got rained-out). They are the AIP-TV versions, as the widescreen prints of the films were never shown theaterically in the US, so, they don't exist in the US(only in Japan). That said, what we have are great copies of some vintage films from a time gone by. THE MAGIC SERPENT(bonus on the disk) is a Toei entry from l966, one of their very few forays(aside from the Johnny Sokko series) into Kaiju-type films as mostly they stayed the course with superheroes vs human-sized monsters. It's also highly entertaining and very colorful in ways US films never were. Alot of young people today complain if the disk isn't in widescreen or doesn't have dozens of extras. This 16mm copy of these films are the best document of their time, and with a better picture than I ever saw them on TV so long ago...
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on August 10, 2004
I remember watching "Return of the Giant Monsters," aka "Gamera vs Gyaos" when I was much younger. I loved every minute of it, because it was so "out-there," so nutty and contrived that I was foaming at the mouth with its kaiju-goodness. Now, I've found a movie that tops it: "The Magic Serpent."

I am very grateful to Retromedia for releasing both of these movies on DvD (and the Magic Serpent especially, because you probably won't find it anywhere else), because they are both such sheer campy fun that they would HAVE to be on the same DvD.

What's great about these films is that they aren't "good" per-say, but they aren't supposed to be. They're supposed to be FUN. People who criticize these movies for being cheaply made and poorly dubbed basically have nothing better to do with their time. It's pointless to really criticize these movies unless you're a real kaiju-fan and know about this kind of stuff. But even with the critical eye of the fanboy (or fangirl), these flicks are hard to nitpick about because they are!

The only thing keeping this movie from getting higher marks is the fact that there's nothing else on the disc besides a scene selection and Retro's website. Plus, the quality of the print is pretty bad, but that's to be expected, these being such old films, and Retro probably having limited resources.

I highly recommend this DvD to anyone who is a fan of good-'ol giant monster rampages, or to anyone who is looking to introduce children to the kaiju genre (but not before a few Godzilla movies).
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on August 17, 2004
It should be noted that this is the original AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL version

and not the mediocre SANDY FRANK version from the 1980s.
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on June 18, 2004
This, one of the best of the classic Gamera series, has been beautifully restored by retromedia, in much better shape than the previous GAMERA VS MONSTER X disc. The color and sound are first rate, but keep in mind this is the old AIP TV print, not the widescreen theatrical version. If you already know this, then you will not be dissapointed. These old tv versions are the ones a whole generation of kids grew up with, and its nice to finally have them available on these great double feature dvds! The rarely seen MAGIC SERPENT is a wild adventure and a cool bonus feature!
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on January 13, 2012
I grew up with these types of special effects, sounds and rubber costumed monsters. It's great to relive the past...what memories. I'm sure these will be extremely corny to the youth of today, but it was first class in the 60s. The added bonus "The Magic Serpent" is pure fun. I love the giant spider at the end of the film...the thorny frog and the serpent. If you grew up during that era, you'll appreciate every minute of these two classics. I laughed when the magic serpent emerged from the water. The producers used the exact same sound effects from the original 1955 "Godzilla" movie.
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on October 28, 2001
This is the 3 instalment in the first Gamera series. Gamera has now gone from a fire breathing menace to the "friend of the children". The acting in the film varies from the silliest of characters the very serious ones. The special effects, and the miniatures are many - They have most likely spent a great deal of effort and money on it. Unfortunately the same doesn't go for the monster suits; The Gyaos have a horrible design! Thinking about it; Perhaps is it a well planned strategy - Godzilla underwent during this period design changes, to make him more appealing for children. A too realistic Gyaos, might have been too much for the little ones...
Story; Earth trembles and volcanic activity over the whole Japanese archipelago, unfold this new adventure. Mount Fuji erupts, scientist boards a helicopter to investigate. Suddenly, while sweeping the area, yellow energy beams, originating from the ground cuts the helicopter in half! There's confusion - Nobody can tell what really happened!
A journalist, led by a local boy, goes on a nearby mountain to investigate a mysterious green light. Horror lies however a head... The green light emanates from a horrible flying reptilian monster - The Gyaos!
The journalist gets quickly eaten, and Gyaos grabs his next snack - The little boy...
Suddenly Gamera appears; He/she manage to get the boy from the Gyaos. But gyaos is not an easy opponent; The ray, emitting from the mouth cuts Gamera severely... The boy and Gamera manage to escape; Both Gamera and a airstrike have failed - Is there any hope at all?
I gave this film 3 stars; The special effects are many, and the film has the only real air battle between two monsters, that I've ever seen!
The story however is pretty much straight forward, Gyaos suit is horrible, and the producer's urge to appeal to the children is, at times, too much for my taste.
This film is not available in the US at the moment - However there's a way; A dvd box, which carry English subtitles, containing the four first films (1965 - 68), is available in Japan. Japanese Dvd:s does however have a region 2 coding. How to get it from Japan? Try to find CD JAPAN, a Japanese site, in English.
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on July 25, 2015
This is the third version of GAMERA VS GAOS (GYAOS) I have, and it is my favorite, even more than the original Japanese version. THE MAGIC SERPENT will be sure to please any fan of Japanese history, kung fu, kaiju, or just plain FUN movies. Don't worry about trying to get the characters' names straight, just sit back and be prepared to be entertained.
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on October 17, 2006
Return Of The Giant Monsters has Gamera fighting Gaos, a giant vampire bat, released from the Earth by active volcanos. Blood, forest fires and greedy village people. Great fun.

But that's not all. On this disc is another movie - The Magic Serpent. Samurai, giant monsters, magic, ninja, headless bodies, romance, Noble families and so much more. This is the movie that any MST3K fan would be proud to watch. Or any fan of monster movies or Samurai movies. It's just got everything.

In the end this is a must for any fan of Japanese movies.
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on November 14, 2003
Awakened by Volcanic activety, Gaos is a Giant vampire bat with a triangular head firing lazers from its mouth. Because of its second lazer-beem throut, it can't turn its neck(its weakness) and for some reason it can't stand sunlight. This one really gave Gamera a hard time of it cutting his arm near to the bone.
This monster was very popular. It apears twice in the new Gamera movies: Gamera1:Gardian of the Unervirse and Gamera3:Awakening of Iris. Also, Gaos is the main Foe in the Fan based Gamera4 featuring an all poerful white Gaos.
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on May 7, 2004
This is a fun movie to watch over and over. It has all of the elements which make Kaiju movies so enjoyable. It has the ever unpopular precocious child who seems to never stop being irritating or knowing everything. There is greed on everyone's part - the farmers, the big corporation, etc. We have the evil monster awakened to terrorize the world. And finally there is the "friend of children eveywhere". A great Gamera movie.
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