Friday, December 9, 2005

QUEEN KONG

"She's in one of her moods again…"

The 1976 KING KONG remake inspired a slew of imitations and parodies, including the British-made spoof, QUEEN KONG (1976). Unfortunately, producer Dino DeLaurentis didn't have much of a sense of humor, and managed to prevent the movie from ever being exhibited in the United States or sold to American TV. For decades, cult movie buffs weren't even sure if the film existed, but thanks to Retromedia's DVD release, we can see it for ourselves.

The plot is a gender-reversal take on the original story, with filmmaker Luce Habit (the attractive and funny Rula Lenska) picking up long-haired blond Ray Fay (Robin Askwith) to star in her new movie, to be shot on location in Lazanga-where-they-do-the konga. There, Ray is snatched by "Queenie" – an actor in a particularly bad gorilla suit with prominent breasts – and carried off into the "jungle."

Directed by Frank Agrama, QUEEN KONG is a decidedly low budget, lowbrow affair, a Zucker Brothers-styled satire that takes shots at not only the '76 KONG and the 1933 original, but various other Seventies pop culture phenomenon as well, such as JAWS, THE EXORCIST, AIRPORT and the women's lib movement. Special effects are decidedly non-special, and how funny you find the film depends on your tolerance for sub-Python British humor. Personally, I find it mildly amusing.

Retromedia's DVD (currently available as part of a "Kong" two-pack, paired with the giant ape-less KING OF KONG ISLAND) presents the rare spoof in a solid, 1.85: widescreen format. The mono sound is clear and robust. The extra features include the British theatrical trailer and a commentary track by director Agrama and Retromedia's Fred Olen Ray.

Recommended only for the curious and giant-ape completists (like me).

BUY: Queen Kong