After an action sequence with mercenary thieves which launches the film with some gunshots & death, Kong Island aka King of Kong Island (1968) cuts to some while later & we find ourselves viewing a surgical procedure. An electrode or receiver is being inserted into the brain of an ape, seemingly done in a cave, so right away we know we're on Mad Scientist territory.
The story adds science fiction to a fairly standard safari picture with jungle porters & pith helmets establishing the cliche environment. Stock footage reassures us that we're in that fabulous movie-jungle where birds & mammals & reptiles from numerous continents coexist. The wacky soundtrack ranges from spooky pump-organ & thuramin to rock & roll to bosa nova guitar & bongos, kind of hepcat easy listening.
The a geeky gorilla suit passing for a zombie-gorilla is named Malik (Miles Mason), not Kong, nor is the film necessarily set on an Island, but is in some part of a jungle accessible by river canoe. Nor do we ever see any King, unless the mad scientist is him. Conceivably the inapropos title was devised to ride the coattails of whatever advertising budget there might be for the Japanese monster movie King Kong Escapes (Kingukongu no gyakushu 1967) which had international distribution about this time.
There's a jungle wildwoman (Esmeralda Barros) incapable of communicating with people but who knows the language of apes. Barros is timelessly beautiful for all the ridiculousness of the role. This film's original more apropos Italian title was Eva, la Venere selvaggia, meaning Eve the Wild Woman, & fact is, the jungle girl is the film's only redeeming content.
The jungle girl has a pet chimp & she was formerly the ruling Queen of the Gorillas, known to natives as as "the sacred monkey." Her former rule of apes has been ruined by the mad scientist's mind control experiments, which technology he intends to use on more & more apes, then on beautiful girls so they'll obey him, then on everyone in order to take over the whole world.
This cunning plan is not quite as convincing as most most of those concocted by the Brain to achieve world domination, in the cartoon series about the lab mice Pinky & the Brain.
Our mercenary hero (Brad Harris) is on a vengeance quest to track down the thieving evil scientist (Marc Lawrence) who shot him in the opening scene. He gets to put in some beefcake action along with the scantily clad jungle girl's cheesecake. The hero gets to rescue both the white girl on safari & the tanned feral babe. In the climax one shot at the right spot in the mad scientist's cavern equipment releases Malik & the other apes from mind control & they avenge themselves on the villain.
Cheap & stupid, Kong Island is by no means the worst of its type, & can be entertaining if you're in the mood for something laughable. Several boring patches may require keeping the fast-forward handy.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl