Konga (1961)

KONGA (1961)
Article #86 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 6-10-2001
Posting date: 10-24-2001

A scientist returns from Africa with a chimpanzee named Konga and some meat-eating plants. He experiments with them and creates a formula that turns the chimp into a gorilla. He uses the gorilla to knock off those in his way. Then his assistant gives the gorilla even more of the formula…

Just as a general rule of thumb, if a movie is about a giant gorilla, and you don’t see Willis O’Brien’s name in the credits, watch out. This isn’t the worst of the giant ape movies (I can think of two others that are worse without straining), but it’s still pretty awful. It’s a little reminiscent of Herman Cohen’s HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM, only replacing that movie’s visceral thrills with bad special effects; even Michael Gough doesn’t help much here. The film is loaded with unpleasant characters in unhealthy relationships, and it’s really no fun at all to spend as much time with them as you do in this movie. As for the giant ape, he doesn’t manifest himself until the movie is nearly over; in fact, the trailer for this film is almost entirely made up of footage from the last five minutes. All in all, I thought the movie was witless, and watching it a depressing experience.

It does have one memorable line, though: “Fantastic! There’s a giant gorilla that’s constantly growing to outlandish proportions loose in the streets!” Say it out loud to get the full effect.

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