Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mad Monkey Holiday

After seeing Jackson's King Kong (which is amazing, by the way), I got in the mood to watch some of my old tapes pertaining to the simian breed. I've been transferring my old VHS tapes to DVD for quite a while now and chose to double up movies on some discs, if the theme permitted.
Last night I transferred Time of the Apes and Konga. I recorded Time of the Apes a long time ago...back in the late 80's actually..about the same time I copied my Spectreman dubs.

Time of the Apes was made by Tsubarya Productions (who's major claim to fame is the
Ultraman franchise and the creator of the original Godzilla suit) in about the mid 70's. The english language version was brought over by Sandy Frank about the same time he was importing Gamera movies. In Japan the original title was Army of the Apes, which is cooler sounding, but no matter what's a Planet of the Apes rip off aimed at kids. It's about a couple of kids that happen to know someone that works at the cryogenics lab down the street.
They go there for a visit, fiddle fart around, and an earthquake threatens to destroy the lab. The lab friend and the two kids jump into a couple of handy cryogenics chambers as the place is coming down. They are instantly frozen and buried in the debris. Someone digs them out and they wake up in...that's right...the Time of the Apes!

The make up is not on the same level as John Chambers work for the Ape series, but it's definitely the highlight of the show. The mouths don't move at all, and the general sculpting of the appliances are weird. They did go 'ol Chambers one better, though. You might not be able to tell the difference between the gorilla, apes, or orangutans, but the mandrill baboons are pretty obvious...complete with blue stripes!

Their leader is some tall Japanese guy wearing a Rett Butler pimp costume and being chauffeured around in, what looks like, a Buick Skylark.

Some crap happens and there's something about a UFO and they end up back in their time.
If it sounds like doo doo and your wondering why I would even bother to transfer
this to a just don't know me very well,then.

The other feature was Konga...Britain's answer to King Kong.

Michael Gough....recently known for playing Alfred in the crappier Batman movies, stars as a scientist that crashed landed in the jungle and was adopted by natives. He discovers the different types of man eating plants and studies their flesh eating enzyme properties.

He brings back a chimp he calls Konga and plans to use in his experiments. He grows the man eating plants in his greenhouse and feeds them beef. Some of his peers are threatening his experiments and some are on the same track, but having more success. He takes care of them by injecting Konga with his serum, which has him grow to gorilla proportions, and sending him to kill.

This theme smacks of Murders in the Rue Morgue, where the lead kills his enemies with a trained ape.
While this is going on, Gough is flirting with one of the hotty blonde students in his science class. His female assistant, a red head, is getting jealous and warns him of such behavior. Of course, being a mad scientist, he doesn't listen to reason and continues.

The lab assistant gets really mad...'cause she's a red head, and injects Konga with a Super Size version of the serum.
He grows as big as a house, body slams her, then goes after Gough who's in the greenhouse trying to make it with the blonde student. Konga "tears the roof off'a the mother sucka'", the student get's her arm trapped in a maneating plant (that's FOAMING at the mouth!!) and Gough is grabbed by the giant monkey.
They both end up next to Big Ben...not on top..
and get shot down by the army. The monkey dies and returns to his normal size.
The gorilla suit was provided by George Barrows who usually wears his own suit, but the production convinced him to just rent it to them. This ape suit is pretty well know and has been seen all through the 50's and 60's in shows like: Beverly Hillbillies, The Lucy Show, Addams Family,etc...and is most well known for being the monster suit for the '53 classic,
Robot Monster. As a matter of fact, my copy of Konga aired while I was sculpting on a Robot Monster model kit for Janus Models.


Blogger Chris Jart said...

What a riot! I remember Time of the Apes as an MST3K episode. The ape masks just about killed me.

And I don't wonder why you'd transfer bad sounding videos to DVD, because I'd do the same thing - especially with Time of the Apes! I have tons of vhs tapes and plan to do the same thing when I get the time and money - and I'll be dubbing lots of the crappy stuff!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Riley said...

Dubbing crappy VHS to DVD is really addictive...You know it's just a grainy VHS copy to begin with...but it's so great to have it on a thin disc to store it's realy valuable or something.

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