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Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: KONGA (1961)

Konga (1961).  When I read the description, I thought, Sure, this belongs on the list. Having seen it … I’m not certain.

I’ll write my piece first:
Konga's premise is simple enough and promising enough, too. 
A British botanist crashes in Africa and lives there for a year, learning all their herbal secrets. He comes back to London with a few choice plants, some crazy ideas and a chimp named Konga. 
He plants the plants in his greenhouse and they quickly grow into large animated foam rubber Venus Fly Traps, tongue wagging Pitcher Plants and more. With his crazy ideas, he crafts a serum and begins injecting Konga, causing him to grow in a series of wavy dissolves. 
Soon, though, Konga becomes a gorilla. Apparently, causing a chimp to grow will make it change species. I had no idea. 
The scientist then forces Konga to go around killing his various enemies, before his fiancée catches wind of his wandering eye and gives Konga all the juice … 
Michael Gough (the actor who played Alfred in the four Burton-Schumacher Batman films) plays the crazed scientist to the hilt. He can’t save this film, though. 
It lurches from one scene of the enraged scientist to another, almost every one punctuated with a Konga kill. That sounds intriguing, sure, but it’s dull. Just when you’re waiting for something to happen, Konga gets a full syringe and starts growing like mad. 
We’re treated to some shoddy effects, for certain. At one point, Konga is tossing around dolls that we’re supposed to think are people. Poorly done bluescreen (and rear projection) … It’s just a mess. (See the trailer below for a taste.) 
Here’s the biggest sin, though. Konga walks the streets of London and then stops at Big Ben. And that’s it. He does nothing. He’s 200 feet tall and he smashes nothing. Not a damned thing. 
This is a monster movie. A guy is in a gorilla suit, walking around a room of model buildings and not a single one gets destroyed. 
Well, except the house from which he escapes and then the greenhouse where he grabs the scientist. But that’s it. He’s in London, standing next to Big Ben and he just kinda glances around. 
In the end, the army shoots him and he dies, inexplicably reverting nigh immediately to his cute chimp form. But, you know. Dead. 
On the plus side, the Konga suit looks better than Toho’s King Kong suit. That’s about it. 
Konga … If he doesn’t smash anything, does it belong on this list? 0.5 out of five atomic breath blasts.
Here’s my son, James:
Since Konga didn’t annihilate Big Ben, I don’t care!!! I don’t think this counts as a kaiju movie.
Here’s the trailer:

Up next, Reptilicus.

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