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Cinema’s Goofiest Car Chases: “Godzilla vs. Megalon”

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Cinema's Goofiest Car Chases
Imagine this little VW driving straight down a flight of stairs while being pursued by secret agents…
Photo: nakhon100 via CC

For almost as long as movies have existed, there has also existed that most beloved of cinematic cliches: the car chase. The weird and wonderful world of motion pictures has no shortage of them, and they range from exciting and evocative to ridiculous or just plain nuts. For this installment of “Cinema’s Goofiest Car Chases,” we’re jumping back to 1970s Japan and taking a look at a sequence from 1973’s Godzilla vs. Megalon.

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Car chases and rubber monsters

The lucky 13th installment (out of a current 35!) in the long-running monster movie franchise, Jun Fukuda’s Godzilla vs. Megalon tells the undeniably silly (but nevertheless entertaining) tale of subterranean humanoids attempting to conquer the surface world with a giant, beetle-like beast dubbed Megalon. As you might expect, Godzilla comes to blows with Megalon, aided by a giant robot named Jet Jaguar. Cheesy, to be sure, but within this crazy story is perhaps the goofiest car chase you’ve never seen.

At a certain point in the story, one of our human heroes – a racecar driver named Hiroshi – engages in a lengthy car chase with the villains. Jumping into his trusty 1966 Volkswagen 1600 TL (identified as such thanks to the IMCDB), he proceeds to flee from a pursuing gang of bad guys set to a funky soundtrack (courtesy of experimental composer Riichiro Manabe). When merely cruising at slightly above the speed limit doesn’t do the trick, Hiroshi decides to take things up a notch.

One of cinema’s goofiest car chases

As the bad guys (pursuing via car and motorcycle) soon find out, Hiroshi isn’t above resorting to the ridiculous to evade them. Spotting an exit, our hero carefully drives his VW straight down a nearby flight of stone stairs (as seen in the top image). When the baddies follow, Hiroshi’s next path is straight down the steep incline of a hill and into a construction site.

It’s here that he finally shakes the villains, launching his car straight through a small shack and on to freedom. The pursuing car crashes into the rubble of the shack, and the motorcycle rider finds himself wiped out and covered in white paint.

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It’s not often that a car chase stands out as a highlight in a movie about giant, rubber-suited monsters beating each other up. But this one sure does!