In Hollywood, producer Herman Cohen struck exploitation gold with I Was a Teenage Werewolf and its follow-up I Was a Teenage Frankenstein. He came to the UK and teamed with respectable stage actor Michael Gough to make Horrors of the Black Museum, and stuck around to make this mad science/giant monster movie which wags suggested should have been called I Was a Teenage Gorilla.
Obviously influenced by King Kong, it spends an hour or so on mad scientist Gough’s experiments with carnivorous plants and unnaturally-enlarged primates – he bizarrely turns a chimpanzee into a gorilla, which he hypnotises into murdering academic rivals – before lab animal Konga grows to giant size and stalks through a scale model of London, threatening Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament as the army show the Blitz spirit by setting out to cut him down to size with anti-simian gun batteries and toy tanks.
The effects vary from shoddy (the gorilla suit) to good (the miniature city), the dialogue offers high-flown ridiculousness in every scene (Gough seethes through everything) and the script’s lack of scientific logic or conventional drama (the ostensible heroine is forgotten, digested by a plant while the ape is on the rampage) is engaging and nearly surreal.
Cult-favourite actor Michael Gough turns in a memorably demented performance in this larger-than-life fantasy B-movie which takes a skewed look at the King Kong story, transposing the action from New York to London. Shot at Merton Park Studios for Anglo-Amalgamated, Konga was among the first of the ‘mega monster’ movies to be made in colour and is featured here in a brand-new transfer from original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.
Dr Decker, a botanist and university professor, is the sole survivor of a plane crash in Africa. When he returns from the jungle he brings with him a baby chimpanzee, ‘Konga’. During the course of his experiments, Decker discovers a serum that causes Konga to grow to the size of a gorilla – and, eventually, to obey his will. Encountering both opposition to his experiments and a potential love affair thwarted by a rival, he decides to put the supersized ape to terrifying use...
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