7/21/14

KONGA - REVIEW


Here's a blast from the past.

If you've ever wondered what Michael Gough was up to before he was making soup for Batman as reliable butler Alfred in Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher's movies, boy are you in for a treat.

In Konga, Gough plays a megalomaniac botanist who devises a formula which would allow him to grow plants and animals to ridiculous sizes. We know his research is valid because some of the plants he's brought back from Africa and planted in his greenhouse are huge, penis-shaped and clearly made of papier maché. Think the original Little Shop Of Horrors but in colour and somehow even sillier. Our mad scientist sure gets up to some crazy sh** in this movie but unlike, say, Victor Frankenstein, who more or less seems like a normal enough dude before he loses it and starts digging up bodies for science, this guy is a bonafide creep from start to finish: he treats his assistant like garbage, keeping her quiet about what he's doing with the promise of marriage (I'll get to that) all the while hitting very inappropriately on his young busty student. But that's when he's not making giant monkeys (well, a dude in a rubbish ape suit, anyway), feeding raw meat to plastic plants, shooting cats in the face or hypnotizing said monkey and using it to murder various people, whoever gets in his way, basically.

Konga is so absurd in concept and execution that it's literally impossible to take it seriously for a second, which is brilliant since it delivers the lols pretty much non stop. The straighter parts of the whole thing are so wooden they have an Ed Wood quality to them, the special effects get so crazily ambitious that it becomes a recurring joke in itself and Gough himself is so over-the-top batshit insane that you just wait impatiently for him to pop up on screen and say something ludicrous in every scene. His assistant, played by Margo Johns, has to be one of the most shoddily written characters out there: her reaction when Gough shoots her cat dead in front of her eyes amounts to little more than a mild "wtf?", she's totally cool with him using a killer ape to murder people left and right as long as her social status is repaired thanks to married life but when he attempts to rape a young girl right in front of her, she finally draws the line. I mean, better late than never, I guess... Anyway, to cut a long story short, the film ends exactly how you expect it to with Konga growing to the size of a building King Kong-style and going on a rampage, holding a tiny little Michael Gough in his hand the entire time for no reason. And, before you ask: yes, all of that is as glorious as it sounds.

You know how The Fly with Vincent Price was actually a good film? Well imagine The Fly with an ape instead of a fly dude and goofily written as well as randomly put together. That Konga isn't more well known as a so-silly-it's-great classic is a shame because it really is very funny and hugely entertaining throughout. Gough is fantastic playing a truly odious, maniacal character and the plot is so ridiculous it's simply irresistible.

That's one Konga line you'll be happy you joined!

A true B-movie gem.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts