Cast and Crew: Jun Fukuda (Director); Takeshi Kimura, Shin’ichi Sekizawa (Writers); Tomoyuki Tanaka (Producer); Katsuhiko Sasaki, Robert Dunham
What It’s About: When underground nuclear testing threatens their underwater kingdom, the residents of Seatopia (a state consisting of Lemuria and Mu) summon Megalon (a giant cockroach with drill arms and the ability to launch explosive ovals from his mouth) to destroy the surface dwellers. To guide Megalon, Seatopians steal Jet Jaguar from a pair of inventors/roommates/fathers. The inventors are able to regain control of Jet Jaguar, sending him to fetch Godzilla, while the Seatopians summon Gigan to guide Megalon…and an all out tag team Kaiju wrestling match for the fate of the world ensues.
Why Watch it Today?: Ultraman debuted on this date in 1966. Jet Jaguar is a transparent attempt to create an Ultraman-like figure for the Godzilla series, but today’s film was his last appearance to date in any of the Godzilla films, though he frequently shows up in video games based on the series. Godzilla vs. Megalon is generally not one of the well-regarded entries in the serious, but it holds an important place in my family’s Godzilla mythology. One day my older brother and mother were walking near an old main street theater in my hometown (since turned into a liquor store). Seeing a poster for Godzilla vs. Megalon, my brother begged my mother to let him see it, but she forbid him to, thinking it would be too terrifying. One year later, NBC aired the film cut to fit an hour time slot, with host segments provided by John Belushi in a Godzilla costume. My family caught this airing, everyone thought it was hilarious-and my older brother was allowed to see Godzilla movies. A few years later I was old enough to remember my brother watching them every time they aired, and a lifetime obsession was born. Even if you’re not a Godzilla fan, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of this one is excellent, and well worth a look.
Yaaaah. I remember that NBC version of this movie. I’d not seen it in theaters, but a school friend did and we both watched that chopped down version and he was more horrified than I was when it was all said and done. I always laughed at that poster because it was not only a bad rip off of the John Berkey King Kong image, it made the science class nerds in us crack up that those many-ton monsters could safely stand on top of those towers!
I think the biggest source of humor for my family was that my mother thought this movie would be scary. I wasn’t actually old enough to remember this so I will take your word that for a died in the wool Godzilla fan it was terrible.