King Kong Escapes (1967)

Dastardly no-goodnik mad scientist Dr. Who (deliciously voiced with lip-smacking plummy panache by Paul Frees) makes a gigantic robot replica of King Kong to dig for rare and precious radioactive ore that’s located in the bowels of the earth in the frigid Artic. (You can tell Dr. Who is essentially evil incarnate because he has precisely arched eyebrows and wears a flowing black cape.) When the robot Kong short circuits from exposure to the radiation, Dr. Who abducts the Great Ape and forces him to dig for the ore. Boy, does this entertainingly inane Japanese creature feature possess all the right winningly dopey ingredients which make these sort of movies such ideal delightfully dumb diversions: we’ve got choice ridiculous dialogue (“You would steal Niagara Falls for a drink of water”), crisp widescreen photography, lovably lousy dubbing, a totally absurd plot, a lush and stirring orchestral score, exciting monster fights (Kong mixes it up with both a towering Tyrannosaures Rex and a huge snake-like sea serpent before engaging in a lively no-holds-barred ape-to-automaton confrontation with robot Kong in Japan), and endearingly chintzy (markedly less than) special effects (I especially dug the Tonka toy miniature tanks and the ratty Kong costume). The cast play the sublimely stupid material with admirably straight faces: Rhodes Reason as a stalwart navy submarine captain, the cute Linda Miller as Kong’s spunky human love interest, and the lovely Mie (“You Only Live Twice”) Hama as a seductively wicked villainess in cahoots with Dr. Who. Overall, this honey sizes up as a great deal of infectiously asinine fun.