Gappa: The Triphibian Monster (1967)

gappa the triphibian monster poster 1967 movie
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 6/10

Kaiju movie

Kind of dull

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Gappa:  The Triphibian Monster

Studio:  Manson Corporation/Nikkatsu

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  April 1967 (Japan/July 12, 1967 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

gappa the triphibian monster baby creature

I’m sure taking this critter from the island won’t cause any problems…

An attempt to open an animal theme park leads to hiring of a crew to find new and unusual species in the Pacific islands.  When they come across Obelisk Island where villagers worship a god named Gappa, they discover a newly hatched lizard like creature for their display.  Unfortunately taking the creature form his island has awakened his parents, and the Gappa wants their baby back…and Japan will pay!

Directed by Hiroshoi Noguchi, Gappa:  The Triphibian Monster (大巨獣ガッパ or Daikyojū Gappa aka Giant Beast Gappa) is a Japanese kaiju monster movie.  The movie also goes by the title of Gappa the Triphibian Monsters or Monster from the Prehistoric Planet.  The film is in public domain and frequently found in multipacks.

I am always up for a kaiju film and sometimes the generic films are almost more entertaining than “real” films like some of the Godzilla sequel films.  Gappa is a rather generic giant monster movie…but even then it is rather entertaining in a throwback retro-type of way.

gappa the triphibian monster atomic breathe

No…this is not “atomic breathe” that’s probably copyrighted…this “Gappa Goo”!

The story is noted for largely copying the British “big monster” movie Gorgo which features an angry mother monster attacking London for her child.  The film does carry some odd parenting parallels with Funazu (played by Keisuke Inoue) refusing to give up the Gappa monster despite the pleas of his child who has also lost her mother.  It is always weird to see these kaiju movies where the movie’s main goal is to humanize the giant monsters (and the monsters did destroy their loyal followers for their child’s theft).

The cast is so-so.  While they aren’t the greatest, they also aren’t the worst.  The movie’s script doesn’t have a lot of energy and as a result the cast doesn’t seem to have the energy level they need.  Despite giant monsters stomping all over the countryside, they feel pretty mundane toward the events.  Gappa and his parents fly off, and I feel that the characters probably will go back to their everyday life without much thought about it.

gappa the triphibian monster creature family

One big Gappa family…

The Gappa monsters also are rather generic.  They are triphibians since they can fly, walk, and swim and mostly resemble scaly birds.  Like most kaiju films the movie makes a lot of use of scale model designs that the Gappa monsters crush.  For Gappa, you get the two for one since both mom and dad get into the “let’s destroy Japan” mode.

If you’ve watched Godzilla and its ilk multiple times and you are looking for a new vintage monster movie, Gappa:  The Triphibian Monster might fit the bill.  It is better than some of Godzilla’s sequels, and features classic monster movie tropes.  Unlike Godzilla, Gappa is one and done.  Apparently, the people told the truth and didn’t return to Obelisk Island to battle the Gappa family again.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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