King of Kong Island

There’s no king. There’s no kong. There’s no island.
★★★
☆☆☆
Released: 
1951
Director: 
Roberto Mauri
Starring: 
Brad Harris, Esmerelda Barros, Adriana Alben, Aldo Cecconi
The Setup: 
Remote-controlled gorillas menace lusty Italians.
Discussion: 

I found this movie as part of a 3-movies-on-one-budget-DVD set called Killer Gorilla, and, having never considered the killer gorilla movie as a genre, thought that I should immediately fill this crucial gap in my knowledge. I also am attracted to the brazen way which this movie attempts to cash in on the familiar name of a more famous movie: that’s right, Howard’s End.

Viewers will not be surprised to learn, however, that there is in fact no king, no kong, and no island. We begin with what I can only assume is the “Love Theme from Kong Island” as we have all this exotica lounge music playing over the credits [by the way, this movie is just Kong Island in the credits]. We are immediately introduced to our local mad doctor, who is performing a top-secret operation on a gorilla [get used to that scar, you’re going to be seeing a lot of it] while spooky “woo-ooo” music plays. This, I might as well just tell you now, is to implant a mind-control device, so the mad doctor can control the gorillas, raise an army, etc.

Cut to hot bar owner Theodore, who likes his women the way he likes his rocks: silent and still. He has this daughter Ursula, who is still in love with this guy Burt, who I think may be the hero. One thing you notice right away is that the guys are pretty burly! They are all gathered in this happening exotic nightclub, where some hugger-mugger or other happens, I think telling us that Burt is on some mission of revenge or some shit.

Soon we are treated to some REALLY low-grade kung fu, then they all head off into the jungle, led by their guide Kaloomba. Unrelated nature footage abounds as they turn left and right, pretending to be amazed by the many wild creatures of the Congo. But soon, guys in gorilla suits are gathering and they make off with Ursula.

Burt, this muscleman played by Brad Harris, who apparently potrayed Hercules in several movies, and was also in SS Hell Camp, as well as Dallas and Falcon Crest, decides that he’s feeling not so fresh, and locates a stream where he strips his shirt off and runs cool water all over his heavily muscled body. It is total beefcake. He then sees the jungle queen, whose name is, I shit you not, the Sacred Monkey, and he says the only thing his little mind knows how to: “HEY!”

Then we rejoin Theodore and his wife as they have a fight. Theodore slaps the fucking shit out of her, then throws her on the bed to ravage her, then we cut away. We next see the mad doctor in his poorly-conceived lab, where he tells Ursula “Now you will have to serve me, like them!” [meaning like the gorillas. So, is he saying that the gorillas serve him sexually? Kinky doctor.] Then the hero shows up, and there’s some fights, then Theodore and his wife are there, and the wife shoots Theodore right in front of Ursula, his daughter! The mother turns around and tells Ursula: “This is all your fault!” Poor Ursula is really gonna have a few issues with relating, closeness and intimacy, I’m afraid.

While Theodore is slapping his wife around, we notice that he has a hard-on in his pants, as do many of the men on hand here. You gotta love those Italians. There’s a great deal of crotch-watching fun to be had here. I swear, I’ve gotta do a home film fest called “Boners in Cinema.”

Anyway, as has been signed into law, if a mad scientist has created and / or controls a living thing, it is decreed that the animal or whatever revolt and rise up to kill him at the end. The pattern is not reversed here. Then they bid a bittersweet adieu to the Sacred Monkey, and Ursula is all perky and waving “bye!” mere minutes after watching her mother kill her father in front of her. Poor girl, her mind is irrevocably cracked.

Overall, kind of fun, though it did get a little boring with all the interminable walking through the jungle and gaping at inserted nature footage. Though on the plus side there is all the hunky male beef and the exotica bachelor den music… it could be worse.

Should you watch it: 

If you want to, but if you do, don’t be afraid to liberally apply the fast-forward button. Seriously, it helps.