Flicks & Folios – Film Review: King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)

Monster Mania Month

Hello to all monster buffs. This is the kind of film you want to watch when you are in a goofy mood. This Japanese/American production is easily the bottom of the list of Godzilla films!

Ok this is the terrible plot line: King Kong is found on a remote island where some scientists quake about the beast’s appearance. The islanders are more than used to the great beast. The big furry guy lives behind a large gate they have constructed to keep their people safe (much like the original King Kong film). The islanders bring large amounts of native drinks to the beast that are made out of narcotic red berries found on the island and are “non habit forming”. Except somehow King Kong is addicted to these berries… huh?!

Meanwhile, Godzilla has broken free from an iceberg sitting in the ocean, and begins wreaking havoc whilst on his way to — I know you’ll never guess — Tokyo. The scientists have found fossils of Zilla-like creatures there, so they figure he must be going back.. So essentially, Godzilla is a pigeon! We get tossed from sub-plot to sub-plot, one involving a TV guy who wants a giant monster for ratings (umm could that be King Kong?) and one with a girl who’s boyfriend’s plane crashes. She heads to the town it crashed in, only to find it torn apart by Godzilla, just before the boyfriend shows up to save her.

King Kong is “kidnapped” while under the influence of too much berry juice, and tied to a barge for transport back to Tokyo. Of course the beast eventually escapes his captors, and goes on a rampage through the city, eventually encountering the giant lizard.

King Kong was 100 feet high in the original movie, and was killed by bullets. Godzilla is 30 stories high, and has atomic breath. You’d think these guys would be different heights wouldn’t you? But somehow Kong is the same height as Zilla, and unaffected by his fire breath. This film doesn’t have any of the lowbrow charm of the other Godzilla movies.

This film is nothing but major talk until the rousing finale where the big creatures finally fight. How they fight is hilarious. I won’t talk about how one is dropped from a helicopter to fight the other. For 1963 the film is actually ok as far as special effects go but the finale fight is just terrible. King Kong looks just horrible with a face only a proud, blind mask-maker could love!

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Laura Seymour first published herself, at age 8. She has since gone on to publish a cookbook for the medical condition Candida. She is working toward her B.A. (Psyc).

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