Kaiju Appreciations; Iris (Commentary)

Wow, that footage is grainy. And dig the ‘Unregistered Hypercam’ notice in the upper left.

My very first appreciation actually features someone from the Gamera series. I like Gamera, though he doesn’t grab me as much as Godzilla. Hailing from Gamera III: Revenge of Iris, the third film in the brilliant Gamera trilogy from the nineties, Iris is a sinister, parasitic creature. Seeking power, he psychically bonds with a troubled girl named Ayana who blames Gamera for the death of her parents during the events of a previous film. Feeding on her hatred, Iris grows stronger and begins to prey on the people around her, finally emerging as a towering, tentacled behemoth prepared to destroy Gamera, but not before fully absorbing Ayana.

Iris is an impressive monster, one of the most evil of all the kaiju in either the Gamera or Godzilla series. Unusually, his evil is not just that of violence and destruction, but of actual deception. He tricks Ayana into thinking that he cares about her and intends to act as her servant while slowly destroying her mind and killing her remaining family. When she finally wakes up and tries to stop him, he shows her who was actually in charge the entire time.

If the greatest evil kaiju of all time formed a Five Bad Band, Iris would be their Evil Genius. He’s a cunning, manipulative demon of a monster.

Poor Unfortunate Souls, therefore, was an obvious choice (using the Jonas Brothers’ version because it was shorter, and because I read Iris as a male character). I’m not sure it was the best I could have done, but it certainly captures Iris’s deceptive, mephistophelean character. The short length and fast pace suits the paucity of footage available (Iris doesn’t have much screen time), and the words and tone are such that I can picture him saying, if he were to sing. The driving beat emphasizes the overwhelming power of the monster, as well as the strength of his temptation and the contempt with which he ultimately holds his victim. All in all, despite certain reservations, I’m still quite pleased with this one.

In particular, I’m rather proud of some of the editing tricks I managed, even as inexperienced as I was. For instance, the scene where Iris swats a couple of Gamera’s fireballs out of the sky is actually two shots in the film: there’s a brief reaction shot from the watching humans in between impacts. I cut that scene out and found, to my delight, that the result is pretty seamless and fits the lyrics perfectly.

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