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Konga, 1961

From the video case: After discovering a potion in the jungle that makes plants grow to ten times their normal size, Dr. Decker returns home to England to give the brew to his lab companion, Konga, a baby chimp. Amazingly, Konga begins to grow and obeys every wish of Dr. Decker, even murder! But when Konga’s growth spurt goes ape, things quickly spin out of control, and soon this killer gorilla goes on a rampage sending London into a frenzy of terror! (1961, color)

Mark says: Konga offers us man-eating plants, a giant ape, a pretty girl, and a mad scientist in the form of Dr. Charles Decker, played by horror/sci-fi great, Michael Gough (Horrors of the Black Museum, Horror of Dracula). It’s a terrible movie in most respects, but wonderfully entertaining overall.

Konga is basically a low-budget rip-off of King Kong, with the climax occurring in London rather than New York. And when I say low-budget, I mean the limbo stick can’t get much lower.

At times it seems there is not even an attempt at reality in this film. Konga, an ape mind you, obeys instructions given to him in English. When the British Army arrives to shoot giant Konga with machine guns and bazookas (at incredibly close range) they consistently miss. Konga himself is a big, sloppy ape suit.

However, what this film has is Michael Gough, who plays the evil Dr. Decker with a ruthless enthusiasm. The facial expressions this man produces onscreen kept me fascinated and amused throughout the picture. The scene where he is desperately trying to smooch with his attractive student (Claire Gordon, pictured above) is particularly entertaining.

My wife hates this movie, primarily because Michael Gough plays such a bastard, but I rather enjoy it. For me, Mr. Gough is a treat to watch, and I am constantly amused by the cheapie effects.

In an interview with producer Herman Cohen that I link to below, Cohen states, “Konga only cost about $500,000, in color, but the effects were so good that people thought the picture cost millions.”

I have a hard time believing that.

Konga is directed by John Lemont and produced by Herman Cohen (I Was A Teenage Werewolf).

Scene to watch for: Dr. Decker deals rather harshly with a pesky house cat.

Line to listen for: “There is a huge, monster gorilla that’s constantly growing to outlandish proportions loose on the streets!”

Bonus: Tom Weaver (my all-time favorite film historian) interviews writer/producer Herman Cohen on the making of Konga. Click here to read.

Mark’s Rating: ! ! ! ½ out of 5.

IMDB Link

3 Comments

  1. i am sorry…i have tried many times, but i just can not make it through this film…and i am a michael gough fan! sorry! john

  2. John: It only means you have good taste, definitely no need to apologize. Sometimes I find it hard to justify my love of this movie myself!

  3. I just watched this last night and thought it was wonderful and am preparing an article about it at my site.


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