Kong Island (1968)
aka King of Kong Island
aka Eva, la Venere selvaggia
aka Eve the Savage Venus
A man must journey deep into the jungle to track down an insane former friend who has set up a compound where he imprisons women and performs experiments on gorillas, turning them into his slaves. This mind-boggling Spanish-Italian production combines a no-budget drive-in sensibility (plenty of violence and scantily clad women) with a late 1960's go-go vibe, earning it cult status.
Oh, good gravy, Charlie Brown! When I sat down to watch Wasp Woman, I realized that thirty minutes into the film, I hadn't really seen or heard a single thing. This was because I was preoccupied at the time with trying to hammer out a decent query letter in hopes of interesting Outside magazine in an article of mine. This served to distract me from the movie, of course.
When I sat down to watch King of Kong Island, however, I had no such distraction. The letter was finished, the laundry was done, and there was nothing to divert my attention from the images on the screen. It was also late, and I was home alone. About an hour into the film, I realized once again that I'd not heard nor seen a single thing, even though I sat staring at the TV with nothing to divert my attention. After restarting the film and experiencing the same effect, I realized that it wasn't that I was zoning out; it was that the movie itself was a vast black hole from which no interest could emerge. Queen of the Amazons was a godawful boring movie, but at least it was short. King of Kong Island is a similar "traipsing through the jungle" adventure, albeit in color, but it manages to be longer and even more boring despite having a plot that, if described in a few sentences, sounds fabulously interesting and packed with action.
For starters, one can't help but mention the title. Only a rube would expect there to be anything actually related to King Kong in a movie like this. One also has to question exactly why, in the year 1968, Italian producers would seek to cash in on the King Kong name. I mean, it's not as if, as far as I know, there was a huge wave of interest in King Kong during 1968. Thus, one assumes, there wouldn't be a big market for a King Kong tie-in even if people were stupid enough to believe that's what this movie was.
But anyway, if you are going to name your movie King of Kong Island, even if King Kong isn't in it, you should at least have the basic human decency to include a giant ape, even a ratty one like in Goliathon. Or, I don't know, you could include a place called Kong Island. But King of Kong Island has neither a giant ape nor a Kong Island. It's not even set on an island, period. It takes place in Nairobi, which I guess is on an island if you consider to continent of Africa to be an island. And not only is there no giant monkey and no island, there's no king - of an island or otherwise. So what distributors were thinking when they saddled this movie (the original title was Eva, la Venere Selvaggia, which makes no mention of kings, Kongs, or islands) wit the title King of Kong Island is anybody's guess.
Instead, what we have is a very dull jungle adventure about a mercenary (Brad Harris, of Hercules and Kommisar X movie series fame) who gets betrayed by another mercenary named Albert (what a lame mercenary name - he should have a cool merc name like Machete Jackson or Exhaust Pipe McGhee), who also happens to be a mad scientist implanting gorillas (guys in those cheap gorilla outfits you can buy at the grocery store round Halloween time) with mind-controlling microchips, which he eventually plans to put into humans - which seems a very time-consuming way to take over the world. He should have just invented a mind control ray or something less complex to implement. Brad Harris goes into the jungle to kick Albert's ass, mainly because Albert kidnapped Brad's female buddy. And then there's something about an Interpol agent. And then Brad Harris meets one of those half-naked jungle goddesses, for no good reason really - not that you ever need much of a reason to meet a half-naked jungle goddess.
Hong Kong's Mighty Peking Man, aka Goliathon also ripped off King Kong (and Godzilla) and had a jungle goddess, but it remembered to also be fun to watch. King of Kong Island sounds pretty crazy and interesting, but believe me, it isn't. And nothing steams my monkeys more than when someone takes a completely daft and wonderful sounding plot and executes it in such a boring fashion.