Originally titled Eva, la Venere selvaggia, and also released in English as Eve the Wild Woman and Kong Island, this disastrous 1968 jungle pic will receive a new DVD rerelease later this month, to cash in on the hype surrounding Jackson’s remake of King Kong.
Cast, Crew, and Other Info:
Directed by Robert Mauri
Written by Ralph Zucker
The film opens with a crime somewhere in Africa; Turk, the ringleader, double-crosses his accomplices and, years later, one of them, the virile and more-or-less reformed Burt, seeks revenge. By then, Turk has allied himself with a mad scientist who has implanted bad movie scientific devices in the brains of gorillas as part of his nefarious research. His work requires the kidnapping of several attractive women. When the daughter of a wealthy man gets kidnapped from a jungle expedition of swingin’ sixties types, various people become interested in the dastardly doings.
By that point, however, the villains’ days are already numbered. They’ve attracted the attention of Eva, a feral, female Tarzan who possesses at least two extraordinary powers. Firstly, she can communicate with apes. Secondly, she has hair which continually covers her bare breasts regardless of the kind and difficulty of strenuous physical activity she undertakes.
All of this would be enough plot for any bad movie, but the various characters have been connected by tortuous webs of soap opera nonsense that would be difficult to follow even if the film encouraged the viewer to stay awake. The film also serves up some bogus old Hollywood-style Jungle SavagesTM. I’m certain they have a connection to the plot. I challenge anyone to watch this thing and care.
I’m almost certain that worse jungle pics have been made, but for sheer idiocy and incoherence, this drive-in debacle would be difficult to top.
Esmerald Barros does, to her credit, make a more believable jungle girl than most. She has physical presence and, while she is attractive, she does not appear to have left the beautician’s five seconds before each appearance.
Kong Island features mediocre acting, made-for-television production values, nature program stock footage, and questionable plot logic. The mad scientist has located his laboratory in the middle of the jungle, with minimal attempts at shelter. He’s stocked it with equipment apparently purchased from a low-end electronics surplus house. His vast horde of two modified apes wear costumes that might have passed in a 1930s jungle serial or a late-run Bowery Boys flick, one of the ones where someone tries to switch Huntz Hall`s brain with a gorilla’s. If an island somehow figures into the plot (as the English title suggests), the fact has been carefully concealed from the audience.
The soundtrack features a strange blend of 60s dance music and lounge-lizard exotica. The effect of the latter is that, as the brave bwanas trudge through the jungle, you keep looking for the plastic tiki decorations.
Story: 2/6. Pick a plot. Any plot.
Production: 3/6 .
Emotional Response: 2/6
In total, Kong Island receives 16/42
A Kong-related Note Not for All Tastes
The promotional material refers to Eva as a descendant of King Kong. I don’t want to contemplate how an entirely human descendant of the giant ape may have come about, and nothing in the movie confirms this unusual parentage. For those who must, consider: in “After King Kong Fell,” Philip José Farmer notes that a rape of Ann Darrow would have been possible. Gorillas, as primates go, have unusually small penises. If Kong were twenty feet high, his erect penis would have been at most only twenty-one inches long. Likely , it would be shorter.
Aren’t you glad you read that? Try to have a nice day. Our King Kong Kountdown continues tomorrow with Fiz’s take on the Original.
The Timeshredder’s reviews may be found here