Comic Book Review: Kong of Skull Island

(Submitted by Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“From James Asmus (Thief of Thieves, All-New Inhumans) and Carlos Magno (Lantern City, Planet of the Apes) comes the authorized origin of Kong. Two fractured and combative civilizations are forced to unite when their island is destroyed. Washing up on the shores of Skull Island, they must defend their people against an endless horde of dinosaurs and monsters. With the help of Kong lies hope for survival. Collects issue #1-4” (Boom Studios)

I know this is based on the original novels but seeing as I haven’t seen Kong: Skull Island yet (I will now on Blu-Ray), I thought it might be advantageous to read this first.  I’ll say this right off the start, I like this book.  Now, while you don’t need a Kong origin story to enjoy the character, it is nice to have one. To know how he came to be and how he ends up on Skull Island.  While Kong eventually becomes the last of his kind, before that he was part of a group of genetically manipulated and selectively bred apes. Sure, the creative team could have gone deeper into this but if you’re willing to accept Kong as an exceedingly large ape, you don’t really need much more.  These apes were created by island dwellers, who have since split away from each other on separate sides of the island.  When they come together to try and reunite their people again, they have two Apes known as Kong’s fight, as a form of entertainment and as a way for the winning Apes tribe’s to show superiority over the other.  Writer James Asmus uses the way each tribe treats their Kong’s, to drum up specific emotions of the reader, for each tribe.  The Atu treat the Apes as barbaric animals.  It’s also mentioned but never shown, that they sometime whip and throw rocks, to get the Apes, to follow their commands.  Meanwhile, the Tagu, specifically their Kong trainer Ewata, treats their Kong with compassion and respect, more like a human. We know who PETA would side with.  Any human with a conscious in fact, should side with the Tagu tribe.  It’s not only the treatment of the Kong that caused a schism between the groups.  Religious and political ideologies also cause conflict. While the kings of both “royal families” practice traditional sacrifices and believe in multiple gods, Prince K’Reti believes in one God.  This difference causes tension amongst the power brokers of the tribes, but trickles down to the tribes people as well.  Even politically there is disparity.   The Tagu are open and honest with their tribe, collaborating on political decisions.  Meanwhile, the Atu hierarchy decides what they feel is best for the group and implements their decision. Case in point, the real reason the tribes have come together. Tribal scholars have informed both tribal leaders that volcanic lava is rising. The Tagu leaders want to warn their people, allowing them to prepare to evacuate the island for a new settlement.  Yet, the Atu have already secretly started making evacuation plans, without informing their tribe as to why.  Both tribe leaders make a pact to marry off their children, K’Reti and Usana, as a way of appeasing the gods and pooling their resources to get off the island,  There’s only one problem, K’Reti is already secretly married to the aforementioned Ewata.  Despite this, for the good of his people, he agrees to the marriage.  When Ewata learns of the marriage, witnessing the royal ceremony, she is furious, resenting and giving her husband the cold shoulder.

I love how the story gives you the impossible with two giant genetically bred apes fighting. It gets us hooked on the spectacle, before grounding the story in real conflict such as religious and political differences. The people in the story may be tribal but here in 2017 real world, these issues are tenuous as ever.  Keep in mind, the single issues of this book were published around the U.S. election. I don’t think these themes being at play in the book is a coincidence.  I didn’t care for the secret marriage/arranged marriage love triangle between K’Reti, Ewata & Usana. It was a little to soap opera for my taste. The story gets extremely interesting, when the island begins to shake and the volcano is on the verge of eruption.  The boats at the Tagu/Attu’s disposal are only enough to fit about half the inhabitants on the island, along with the Kong’s. There’s some heartbreaking and down right cruel moments as it is decided to who stays and who goes.  As the survivors depart they veer off course and stumble upon Skull Island. Many of the characters are fearful of Skull Island.  That’s because native storytellers have whispered about it being inhabited by monsters, as told by wounded and feverish survivors. I love how mysteriously the wrier treats Skull Island and that he makes its legend a tale told passed down through generations.  It’s worth noting that the whole story we are reading is being transcribed a told by a native story teller, as we are reading it. I thought that was cool.  There are monsters on Skull Island in fact. Specifically dinosaurs.  There is no explanation as to how or why dinosaurs have survived on this island, however, once again, I say who cares. Is it really hard to believe dinosaurs exist in the same world as giant apes? I think not. Also, given that this story is being transcribed by native storytellers, it makes sense that they wouldn’t know the how’s or why’s about the dinosaurs..  The third act of the book sees the Kong’s and the newly united tribe fighting side by side, as they beat back the dinosaurs.  The book ends with the Tagu/Atu temporarily gaining control of the island, with the hint that more monsters await them.  We also have a murder mystery taking shape and a hint that Kong and crew will soon face more traditional human hunters we’ve become accustomed to in the books and films.

Art is drawn by Carlos Magno and I like it.  The Tagu & Atu tribes have a Mayan look about them and it’s fascinating.  It really solidifies the idea that these two tribes haven’t had any contact with the modern world.  The only issue that I have with this section of the art, is that both tribes look identical and it makes telling them apart visually, nearly impossible.  The Kong’s clashing together is the big, bombastic Earth shattering moment you’d expect and is deserving of the splash page it’s drawn on. These two particular Kong are distinguishable from each other but when they cluster together in a group, they too become indistinguishable from each other.  The wide shot image of the volcano on the verge of eruption look as dangerous and foreboding, as two giant apes fighting.  I loved the first view of Skull Island.  There’s a mist in the air, the tide is rough and the skull formed in Skull Island, protruding and sticking out like a sore thumb, commanding attention on the page.  The final battle between the Kong’s and the dinosaurs is the highlight of the book.  The rage and the chaos of the Kong’s as they trample over rabid dinosaurs, get bitten by pterodactyls and then turn around and rip off T-Rex’s heads is pulse pounding and fun to behold.  This is the closest thing to a Jurassic Park/Planet of the Apes crossover we will ever see, So I am going to continue enjoying this for as long as we can. This comic book was initially supposed to be a mini series but was since extended to a maxi series.  This makes me happy because while it’s not anything ground-breaking, it’s amazing ape madness and a ton of fun! A definite must buy! I can’t wait to read more of Kong’s origin and see what happens next!

#SendMeBackSaturday: The “Don’t Feed the Plants” Edition

Howdy, Human Ho-mies!

So, we just had a total eclipse of the sun this week…

Based on the fact that you are reading this, it’s safe to assume that the world has not been annihilated by botanical beasts from beyond. Which is of Corpse a good thing for us fleshy, leafless folks. Howl-ever, imagine if that weren’t the case. Imagine if something as seemingly innocent as a house plant appeared out of nowhere during the eclipse and slowly planted the seeds of our extinction. Well, it would be a lot like…
Now, I’m sure you’re all familiar with that maniacal musical masterpiece… and its ending. You know, where they kill the monster and live happily ever after, right? It’s as traditional as monster movie endings get and that’s not necessarily bad thing. I mean, of Corpse Rick “God’s Perfect SeXXX Machine” Moranis would win the fight and get the girl, right?

Believe it or not, the original ending was far darker and, in my opinion, far more satisfying. As much as I adore the godly perfection that is Rick Moranis, Seymour was kind of a creep. He murdered his way through the story and willingly fed a monster from outer space. Sure, the charm of Manly Moranis made us overlook his misdeeds, but he’s totally the type of character who would get some sort of ghastly punishment in EC-style fright fare… and he initially did!
 In the film’s initial conclusion, Seymour is eaten by the mean, green Audrey II, just as he was in the original play. Now, if that were it, I think I’d be fine with letting Seymour get his fairytale ending, regardless of whether or not he deserved it… but what happened after that is so wonderfully monstrous that it is truly a shame that it got cut. It’s everything a monster movie fan could Axe for: giant creatures destroying buildings, ho-rrifying practical effects, morbid gags, Harryhausen homages, and just the kind of macabre spectacle we eat up here at Kinky Horror.
Unfortunately, audiences didn’t care for it, so they shot the simpler, happier ending that ended up the final film. Guess I can’t blame them for sparing the marvelous Moranis, but the original is just too amazing . It almost works as a short monster movie on its own… and we’ve dug it up for viewing pleasure!
Enjoy the madness below, Kinky Kreeps!

Rest in Peace, Haruo Nakajima.

Haruo Nakajima was, in more ways than one, the King of the Monsters. From 1954 to 1972, Nakajima was the man behind Godzilla, donning the legendary suit for some of the greatest monster movies of all time. As if one timeless sci-fi icon wasn’t enough, the great Nakajima also portrayed Rodan  Varan, Baragon, Gaira, the larva form of Mothra, and several kaijus in both Ultra Q and Ultraman. Nakajima was a true giant in genre cinema and his creatures will continue to inspire both fright and delight in fright fans for many years to come. Haruo Nakajima was an incredible, unstoppable titan of terror.


Rest in Peace, King of the Monsters. xoxo

#TBT: The “King of the Monsters vs. King of Beverages” Edition

Ho-wdy, Kaiju Krazies!

As you Kinky Kreeps probably know, there is nothing in this world that we love more than a cl-Ass-Sick monster hawking their wares to us humans. Whether it’s The Phantom of the Opera promoting condoms (to be covered later) or Dracula pimping tomato sauce (ditto), we just can’t get enough of SpokesMonsters! While there have been many great monsters of advertising, we think Godzilla may be the King of the SpokesMonsters!
Yessir, Big G has been A LOT of commercials, but we’re particularly fond of the campaign he did for Dr. Pepper in the ’80s! For some monstrous background, here’s a 1985 write-up from The Los Angeles Times:

Dr Pepper Bubbles Up To Godzilla

Here’s an introduction that could only be made in Hollywood, even though the subjects are from Tokyo and Dallas:

Godzilla, meet Dr Pepper.

Starting next week, the monster and the soft drink (now there’s a title) will be paired in the launching of a $10-million advertising campaign leading up to the Aug. 23 release of “Godzilla 1985,” a Japanese-made, American-modified horror film in which Dr Pepper will make a cameo appearance.

“This is the perfect marriage of product placement and promotion,” says Rusty Citron, director of national promotion and merchandising for New World Pictures. “We think everyone’s going to have a lot of fun with it.”

“Godzilla 1985” marks the comeback of Godzilla, the prehistoric monster who rose from the fallout of nuclear blasts to crush cities in a series of clumsy Japanese movies made in the ’50s and ’60s. It also brings back bulky Steven Martin (Raymond Burr), the American reporter whose scenes were shot in Hollywood and inserted in the 1956 “Godzilla, King of the Monsters.”

New World, which picked up “Godzilla 1985” from Toho Film, repeated the post-production gimmick, getting Burr to reprise his role in a two-day shooting at Hollywood’s Raleigh Studios, on the same set where (is nothing sacred?) “Citizen Kane” was filmed.

Those scenes, set in the Pentagon, will also include a Dr Pepper vending machine and cans of the product being consumed by the cast.

“It is done in the same good taste that Diet Pepsi did in ‘Back to the Future,’ ” Citron says, with an almost straight face.

Actually, Dr Pepper had already negotiated the use of Godzilla for a fall campaign when New World decided to pick the film up for U.S. theatrical distribution and video sales. TV commercials have already appeared linking Godzilla with Dr Pepper.

When Citron learned of the soft drink tie-in from Toho, he rushed to Dallas and offered to put the product in the movie for a piggyback ride on its ad campaign.

Citron says Dr Pepper approved the deal in three hours and starting next week copy promoting the movie will be included in all Dr Pepper/Godzilla spots on TV and radio.

Godzilla, the unfriendly Pepper, is going to be hard to ignore. Besides Dr Pepper’s $10-million campaign, New World will be spending $3 million to $4 million of its own money.

There’s even an MTV video on its way, featuring the love theme from “Godzilla 1985”: “I Was Afraid to Love You.”

Who would have believed fallout would be this much fun?

We don’t care for author’s haughty attitude towards Godzilla, but the information solid. As stated in the article, a Dr. Pepper machine appeared in the background of Godzilla 1985…

…Big G appeared in a few Dr. Pepper commercials…

…and both appeared in a music video for I Was Afraid to Love You.

Now, that’s some delicious product placement!

I don’t know about you Kreepsters, but I could really go for a Dr. Pepper right about now… 😉


Beach Party a Go-Go, Part 2

(Submitted by Smutmaster Eric…Thanks, Kinky Ho-mie! :))

Featuring: Ursula Andress, Nahanni Johnstone, Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Radioactive Waste, Robert Pine, Pamela Susan Shoop, Ants, Pierce Brosnan & Halle Berry.

Dr. No (1963)

Infested (2002)

From Here to Eternity (1953)

Empire of the Ants (1977)

Die Another Day (2002)

Ho-stess’s PS- This week’s #MonsterMaskMonday fits right in here, though it was less about the beach and more of a…Poo Party!! 😉 xoxo

 

 

#TerrorTrailerTime: Attack of the Giant Insects (and Arachnids)!

Ho-wdy,Human Ho-mies!
Wel-cum to another #TerrorTrailerTime! We’re really going to bug you this week…

For ya Kreepy Krawlers out there, we harvested some trailers for some of the most insidious insect invasions of the ’50s and ’60s! These freaky features represent some of the very best in monster movie madness! So, roll up a newspaper and be prepared… this day belongs to the insects!
Here they are… the horror-horde of crawl-and-crush giants you’ve been hearing about…THE TRAILERS!!!

As a bonus, here’s a special song about our insect conquerors…

#MonsterMovieMonday: Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (1967)

Ho-wdy, Kinky Kreeps! Just another Mad Monster Monday here at Kinky Ho-rror, so we’re using a rubber…suit, that is. 😉

Today’s featured creature feature is 1967’s Monster from a Prehistoric Planet… among a thousand other names! The film has also gone under the tit-les Daikyojû GappaGappa: The Giant Beast, Gappa, The Triphibian Monster, Gappa: The Triphibian Monster, and Gappa – Frankensteins fliegende Monster (Gappa – Frankenstein’s Flying Monster) in Germany. That last one is especially awesome because this movie has zero to do with Frankenstein!

The only thing it has in common with Frankenstein is that it seems to be made up parts of other films, namely Gojira (1954) and Gorgo (1961).  It’s been suggested that the film is a satire of kaiju films, but it resembles the real thing closely. And, if you’re a kreature kreep like us, that’s far from a bad thing! This film is loaded with kind of low-budget destruction we here at KH adore!

You know what they say… big feet… big monster!

Check out the giant-sized terror below:

Have a Monstrously Marvelous week, Kinky Ho-mies! 🙂 xoxo

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

(King-sized hugs to Mr. Anton Phibes for sharing his thoughts with us. I will most definitely be checking this one out myself this weekend, and I’ll let you know if he’s right or not. 😉 xoxo)

King Kong (1933) has no equal and never shall. That’s just my opinion, but I rather doubt too many people would disagree with me. Everything about that particular film is simply perfect.  When Peter Jackson made his version of the romantic monster epic, he stuck very close to the source material. Perhaps too close, because it’s the sort of retelling that constantly reminds you of just how beautiful its progenitor is. Mr. Jackson is clearly enamoured with the 1933 film, as his film is just as much a gushy love letter to the first as it is a remake. Unfortunately, that manages to be both its yellow sun and Kryptonite at once. 2005’s King Kong is an admirable film, but it’s a 100 min. story stretched to a ludicrous 187 min. runtime. By no means do I dislike Mr. Jackson’s take on the classic monster story, but it just kept reminding me of how perfect the original is…

…Unlike Kong: Skull Island, a film that has no interest in the poetry of the original, but is completely dedicated to giving us the most bonkers monster madness we’ve seen in a mainstream film for years! The Jackson film has a lot of heart, but Skull Island is just nutso fun. There is no pretense of profundity and the love story is pretty much absent, but that’s why it works. Skull Island seems to be based more on Toho’s monster mashes than the Cooper/Schoedsack original, which would make an incredible amount of sense for the true start of what is now being called the Monsterverse. Is it even close to being as great as the original? No, but it’s not trying to be. This is a B-movie done on an A-movie budget, and that’s precisely why I urge all Monster Lovers to see this film immediately!

Kong: Skull Island concerns, as many of these films do, a diverse team of scientists, explorers, and soldiers venturing out to uncharted island inhabited by creatures of a most peculiar nature. As you probably guessed, most of these creatures have quite a voracious appetite and just can’t get enough soldier in their diet. However, what is not usual about all this is that it is a hybrid of a gritty Vietnam War picture and a creature feature! This film owes far more to Apocalypse Now than the 1933 film, right down to its use of ’70s rock favorites. The most disappointing aspect of this mash-up is that the film is not called Viet Kong.

One of the major complaints about Legendary’s Godzilla is that it didn’t have enough Godzilla. Well, it seems that they listened to the public, because Kong is present early and often in this flick!  This Kong is perhaps the most fearsome yet and seems like the kind of beast who could handle a few measly airplanes. Dwarfing previous versions in stature, our new King seems like he’ll be a rather formidable opponent for Godzilla in his upcoming showdown. While not quite as loveable as previous versions, there are hints of a kind heart in that gorilla chest of his. While Kong is the star, he isn’t the only beastei around.  I don’t wish to spoil anything of importance, but this film is a gift to lovers of giant monsters. There are enough monsters in this film  to make any creature fan drool mindlessly in sweet delight. It’s quite extraordinary, really.

Having great monsters is all well and good, but does the film actually utilize them? The answer is a resounding yes. We’ve had a few good giant monster films in the last few years, but none of the have had horror sequences as masterfully gruesome. Before viewing this picture, I never thought I would see a mainstream monster movie with a moment that brought to mind Cannibal Holocaust, but that definitely happened. Considering the intensity and grotesque nature of some the monster sequences (not to mention some casual swearing), I’m actually shocked this film isn’t rated R! If you like your creature features with a generous helping of “ew”,  this is the one for you! Of course, not all the visuals in this film are that nasty. In fact, there are shots in this film that are honestly gorgeous. Within the first half of the film, there is a shot of Kong silhouetted against an orange sky that I believe is destined to become an indelible mage among monster lovers.

While the monsters steal the show, their human costars are excellent. Most of the cast imbues their part with enough quirk and charm to make us care for them… even if we know that they’re not long for the world. John Goodman is as good as ever, giving some depth to a character who easily could have been a cartoonish heavy. Samuel L. Jackson also gives a fantastic turn as the Ahab to Kong’s Moby Dick, as does John C. Reilly as a an eccentric WWII pilot.  While she isn’t given as much to do as previous Kong leading ladies, I quite liked Brie Larson as the “beauty” in this film and look forward to seeing her in feature installments, if she returns. Tom Hiddleston is always pleasant addition, even if he’s a bit underused here.

Kong: Skull Island is not a timeless masterpiece like the original, but it’s a heck of a good time. If you’re like me and you like a stylish horror-adventure with a lot of great monster action, you’ll probably dig it. Unlike the Jackson film, this film makes no real effort to evoke the 1933 film and is all the stronger for it. Kong: Skull Island is a fabulously over-the-top monster mash and completely embraces it. If you can’t get enough monsters, I recommend you stick around after the credits. Hail to the King, baby!

Bonus: I tend to prefer food endorsed by fictional monsters. so I simply had to a Kong shake from Johnny Rockets. They have two different banana-based milkshakes in honor of the Eighth Wonder of the World. I had the Chocolate Banana Shake and it’s monstrously good. The world needs more Kong-approved products!