If I want English versions of the first two Gamera films, I'm stuck with Alpha Video, right?

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johnboy3434
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If I want English versions of the first two Gamera films, I'm stuck with Alpha Video, right?

Postby johnboy3434 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:35 pm

I like to keep an English version of all my Japanese monster movies on hand, and (the current Criterion debacle aside) Toho's Region 1/A releases have been very accommodating about that. The only film I had to go back and purchase a separate English release for was Varan. Unfortunately, Daiei's catalog is a bit more difficult. Since the Blu-rays of the Showa Gamera series are Japanese-only, I purchased the Shout! double features for the last six films. Unfortunately, even the Shout! releases of the first two films are Japanese-only, and the only English copies I can find evidence of are the old subpar Alpha Videos releases of Gammera the Invincible and War of the Monsters. Am I pretty much stuck with them?
Last edited by johnboy3434 on Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: If I want English versions of the first two Gamera films, I'm stuck with Alpha Video, right?

Postby Terasawa » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:57 pm

Sinister Cinema has a slightly better version of WOTM but it's basically the same master. Alpha just snipped the AI-TV logo and their encode isn't quite as good, IMO.

The best video version of Gammera is the Neptune Media VHS. There is, however, a really fantastic version streaming on Amazon Prime, mastered from a 35mm print of the film. Unfortunately, every shot of the pilot at the beginning of the movie has been spliced out for some reason, but otherwise it's far and away the best looking version out there. It's also available as a digital download via Rifftrax but I don't know if you have any way of turning off their commentary on the download. I hope this turns up on Blu-ray eventually.

Other AI-TV Gameras, just for fun:

  • Return of the Giant Monsters - The best version is a recording from UPN in 2002, but even that isn't perfect (compressed video/audio to account for more commercials). It was an official MGM transfer which I'm sure will never be resurrected since they lost the rights years ago. Sinister Cinema has a copy that is quite like their WOTM transfer but doesn't have any of the time-compression problems the UPN recording suffers from.
  • Destroy All Planets - The 2010 (?) Retromedia DVD used a new transfer that looks and sounds good and has a commentary track with Carl Craig.
  • Attack of the Monsters - The 2003 Retromedia DVD. AFAIK, all other releases since have been copies of this.
  • Gamera vs. Monster X - Sinister Cinema; the Retromedia double features adds a lame video-generated copyright notice over the title.

Obviously if you only care about the audio and not the visuals or the 4:3 framing these movies were originally seen with on TV, then the Shout! DVDs are fine, although the dubs are rarely ever properly synced.
Last edited by Terasawa on Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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johnboy3434
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Re: If I want English versions of the first two Gamera films, I'm stuck with Alpha Video, right?

Postby johnboy3434 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 6:24 pm

Terasawa wrote:Sinister Cinema has a slightly better version of WOTM but it's basically the same master. Alpha just snipped the AI-TV logo and their encode isn't quite as good, IMO.


Wait, so Alpha snipped off part of the picture to get rid of the network bug? Doesn't that throw off the framing something terrible?

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Re: If I want English versions of the first two Gamera films, I'm stuck with Alpha Video, right?

Postby Terasawa » Mon Jul 29, 2019 6:57 pm

johnboy3434 wrote:
Terasawa wrote:Sinister Cinema has a slightly better version of WOTM but it's basically the same master. Alpha just snipped the AI-TV logo and their encode isn't quite as good, IMO.


Wait, so Alpha snipped off part of the picture to get rid of the network bug? Doesn't that throw off the framing something terrible?


No, they simply cut the AI-TV logo that makes up the film's first ~10 seconds.

This is the Sinister Cinema transfer. Alpha's version starts at 12 seconds in, or whenever the main title first appears.

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Re: If I want English versions of the first two Gamera films, I'm stuck with Alpha Video, right?

Postby mikelcho » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:40 am

If you do get the Sinister Cinema versions of Gammera the Invincible and War of the Monsters, you'd better make it fast.

The owner of the company is, apparently, retiring sometime by either February or March 2020. What he'll do with the movies that he has in the company's catalog after that, I don't know.

Personally, I'd say that you'd be better off with them than you would be with Alpha Video. I've bought things from Sinister Cinema before and I haven't been disappointed at all. In fact, I once brought and saw their copies of the two films that you want on VHS and they were intact - opening credits, closing credits, etc.
Last edited by mikelcho on Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:38 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: If I want English versions of the first two Gamera films, I'm stuck with Alpha Video, right?

Postby mikelcho » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:05 am

Did you see the above post, johnboy3434?

If so, I'm a little curious. Are you going to get the two Gamera films that you want from Sinister Cinema? Or did you even get them at all? What did you decide? Please let me know soon.
Last edited by mikelcho on Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: If I want English versions of the first two Gamera films, I'm stuck with Alpha Video, right?

Postby Crazy Jim Films » Sat May 09, 2020 9:44 pm

EastWest DVD actually did a few double feature budget discs. The big find out of one of them is one of the only North American DVD releases of the Sandy Frank version of "Gamera vs. Barugon", though it is titled as "Gamera Strikes Back", which is somewhat odd. In another weird twist, they have the "War of the Monsters" print available on a separate double feature.
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