Late Night Movie House of Crap Double Monster Mayhem: Konga and Gorgo.

6 Apr

NEW April 6, 2011

King Kong and Godzilla. Gamera. Even Cloverfield. We love them all, yet what is the appeal of the giant monster movie?

Godzilla (1954) was a strange piece of Japanese social commentary. Created by the radiation from the atomic bombs dropped during World War II, Godzilla was a parable about the horrors of nuclear war. In subsequent films the monster became a symbol of Western imperialism, Japanese patriotism, and a defender of Mother Earth.

The giant ants of Them! (also 1954- obviously a banner year for giant mutations) were even more explicit anti-atom bomb metaphors, this time on the United States side of the Pacific. Both Godzilla and Them! were unabashed in their message.

The most famous monster was also the first, outside of some impressive stop-motion dinosaurs some years earlier. King Kong (1933) has been interpreted in various ways. Notably, certain critics see a clear racist message in it, though I think it is a far stretch. At any rate, whatever messages it may have contained were very much out the window by the time King Kong Escapes (1967) rolled around.

Even the silly, kid-friendly flying turtle known as Gamera (1965) began as a nuclear-spawned menace and, like Godzilla before him, turned into a protector of nature.

However, those are big issues. Mr. Blog is not here for those. The Editors and Staff of Mr. Blog’s Tepid Ride did not watch Terror of MechaGodzilla for social commentary.

So what is the appeal of the giant monster movie?

We watch them to see guys in rubber suits knocking over cardboard cities.

Late Night Movie House of Crap presents Konga and Gorgo.

Konga (1961) is about an ape named Konga (yes, an ape coincidentally and totally believably named Konga) who, due to a scientific experiment gone horribly, horribly wrong, grows to giant size and knocks over several cardboard buildings. The catch this time is that it is not Tokyo or New York getting crushed, it is London. And while the original Godzilla had Raymond Burr Konga has Michael Gough. Yep, that’s Alfred the butler playing the bad guy. Watch the trailer and make sure to spare some love for the horrible, horrible ape suit.

Oh those wacky Brits.

Not content to rip off King Kong, they went ahead and ripped off Godzilla.

Gorgo (also 1961- obviously another banner year for giant mutations)  is actually (slightly)  deeper than the average monster movie. Yes, it has a giant dinosaur from the sea like Godzilla, and yes, it has an annoying kid like Gamera, and yes, it tears up a city like every other rubber monster out there, but this has a twist: It is about parenthood.

Far be it from me to spoil a cheesy movie from fifty years ago, but what the heck? The monster is only a baby and the parents are looking to get him back. If this sounds a lot like Gappa the Triphibian Monster (1967, Japan) then yeah, I mix them up all the time too. It is a cross we must bear.

If you watched either of those trailers and looked for subtlety, for social commentary, then these films are not for you. If you like silly suits, paper-thin plots, bad acting, and not-so-special effects, then pull up a chair my friend.

7 Responses to “Late Night Movie House of Crap Double Monster Mayhem: Konga and Gorgo.”

  1. Thomas Stazyk April 6, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    Just the other day we were speculating about whether this latest radiation problem in Japan might spawn a new generation of atomic beasts.

    Check this out for sheer horror:


    • bmj2k April 6, 2011 at 1:30 am #

      Oh jeez, I, uh… yeah.
      I guess that was inevitable. It is almost 1:30 am. How am I supposed to sleep after that?

      On a serious note, I wonder if in the future some monster filmmakers will try to incorporate real news footage of the disaster into their movies? Not to be crass but some of the news reports would fit right in and they are already scarier than anything staged. And I wonder what the outrage (if any) would be like?


      • Thomas Stazyk April 6, 2011 at 1:55 am #

        Sorry about that!

        Good question about using real footage–I heard that in Ben Hur a guy really got killed while filming the chariot race and that his death was so cool it’s actually in the movie–probably and urban legend. But in any event, I’m sure that if they used real footage, today’s, post Star Wars, LOTR movie fans would think it was poor special effects.


      • skinner April 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

        Great post.

        A number of Japanese films have already done something very similar to this – the example that comes most immediately to mind is “Invasion Of The Neptune Men” which used actual World War 2 combat footage to keep the budget low on its action sequences.

        (Most of it was removed for the MST3k airing.)


        • bmj2k April 6, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

          Yes! That’s the on with the Hitler building!
          I never knew about the war footage though.


          • skinner April 7, 2011 at 10:00 am #

            Haha, yep – yikes.


  2. The Hook April 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    Konga and Gorgo? They spent a lot of time on those names, didn’t they?


Have something to say? Let's hear it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: