Konga (1961)

Michael Gough seems to have cornered the market on portrayals of nasty, homicidal English snobs in the late Fifties. Between his role of the physically and mentally twisted Bancroft in Horrors of the Black Museum, and his fanatical, lecherous scientist in Konga, the man carved out a career for himself that is pretty well unique. Even his occasional good guy roles like Horror of Dracula’s Arthur Holmwood are tinged with that cold blooded quality that made him such a memorable villain. He almost makes me think of a British version of Vincent Price, but without the sly humor.

Konga seems to be trying to be several different movies at once: a science fiction story about a fantastic new discovery, a revenge tale in which a man is bumping off the people he holds a grudge against,a sexy soap opera triangle, and a giant monster on the loose spectacle. From the moment when the evil scientist first hypnotizes the normal sized gorilla to go out and kill people for him, I couldn’t stop laughing. Scene after scene follows, of the stoned looking gorilla watching the little hypnotic flashlight, as Gough, with an absolutely straight face, gives his murderous commands. Scotland Yard is baffled by the mysterious killings, though one might imagine a gorilla lurching around in a quiet London neighborhood might attract a bit more attention.

This movie should be seen at least once. You owe it to yourself to have a good laugh at one of the worst movies ever made. Ed Wood would have been envious.

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