Saturday, June 5, 2010

Queen Kong

Mighty Peking ManIn the mid-1970s, when word went out that Dino de Laurentis was making a campy, updated remake of King Kong, an international blizzard of low-budget giant ape movies were rushed into production in hopes of capitalizing on the media blitz. Hong Kong unleashed The Mighty Peking Man, and even South Korea got into the act with their own execrable variant, A*P*E (also called--I'm not making this up--Attack of the Giant Horny Gorilla).

ApeRealizing that a market oversaturated with inferior product could hurt his movie at the box office, Laurentis launched a raft of lawsuits designed to harry the hairy upstarts. One of the targets of Laurentis' legal offensive was a British King Kong spoof entitled Queen Kong, directed by Frank Agrama, who would later direct the low-budget, shot-in-Egypt Mummy film, Dawn of the Mummy.

Queen KongQueen Kong starred the smoky-voiced Rula Lenska as a feminist filmmaker named Luce Habit, who is planning to shoot a jungle epic on mysterious Lazanga island but is having trouble with her romantic leading man. It seems he doesn't care much for girls. Desperate, she ends up forcibly casting (i.e., drugging and kidnapping) a happy-go-lucky petty thief named Ray Fay (get it? Fay Wray?).

After they arrive at the island, Ray is kidnapped by a tribe of female primitives who offer him as a sacrifice to 'Kong,' who in this case turns out to be a giant lady ape, complete with giant hairy breasts! Naturally, she falls for the little guy, as he does for her. It's a complete gender reversal of the King Kong story, only with lots of ham-handed jokes, and a couple of guys in floppy rubber dinosaur costumes. (Funny, how that T-Rex in the trailer looks an awful lot like the one from The Mighty Gorga.)  

Because of the legal entanglements with Laurentis, Queen Kong was only released briefly, in Italy and Japan, and remained unexhibited in the U.S. or the U.K. for over a quarter of a century. Thankfully, this goofy, wacked-out little sendup is now available on DVD in all of its groan-inducing glory. All hail the Queen!

Related websites:

Queen Kong Lives! (fansite)
The Unknown Movies

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