"In the annals of movies dealing with ape/human relations, 1968 was a pivotal year as we (I say `we' in a figurative sense as I wasn't even born yet) saw the release of the seminal sci-fi film The Planet of the Apes. But wait, another film was released that same year, one that may not have gotten the attention or accolades of that certainly more popular ape movie, but still needs to be recognized, if only because I spent an hour and a half watching it last night. The movie I am speaking of is Kong Island, aka King of Kong Island, aka Eve, the Wild Woman...What?! You've never heard of it? Consider yourself lucky if that applies to you, as the cinematic hurting was deep in this one...very deep...Kong Island (1968) was directed by Robert Morris, aka Roberto Mauri, a man whom you may have never heard of unless you are familiar with Italian cinema, specifically sword and sandal movies or spaghetti westerns. The film...cough, cough...stars the muscled Brad Harris, a staple actor of many low budget Italian films, as Burt, Esmeralda Barros as Eva, the savage girl, and Marc Lawrence, a character actor who specializes in playing gangsters, most notably appearing in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), as Albert.The film opens with an ambush of a lone jeep driving through the jungle, and the subsequent robbery of said jeep by Burt, Albert, and another man. Apparently the jeep was carrying $300,000 in payroll monies. I would have thought such a large amount of cash being transported would have warranted a larger party involved in guarding the money, but whatever...anyway, Albert, being of the particularly untrustworthy criminal type decides $300,000 split three ways is an inequitable arrangement, and shoots his accomplices. The unnamed man dies, of course, but Bert survives. This sets up a plot where Burt now wants revenge on Albert.Next we see Albert and a henchman named Turk performing brain surgery on a gorilla. They implant a device just behind the gorilla's ear. Apparently Albert, not only being an untrustworthy criminal type is also sort of a mad scientist, who is experiments involve a plot for world domination of sorts, as we learn later. Well, if you're going to go into the mad scientist business, world conquest is certainly a valid motif...We now cut to Bert at a hotel/bar/disco, run by Theodore, an older man who has two adult children, Robert and Diana, and is married to Ursula, who doesn't appear to be the mother of Theodore's children. Burt is friendly with all, and Ursula is certainly friendly with Burt, which causes Theodore some consternation which he takes out on Ursula later on in a beating followed by a love making scene...ewwww....anyway, Robert and Diana go off on a hunting party to shoot some sacred monkeys (I'm not kidding here), but they end up getting attacked in camp one night by gorillas (which we find out later are controlled by Albert via the implants he and Turk installed) and Diana is taken away. Turk appears and tells Robert that if he ever wants to see his sister alive, he has to bring Burt into the jungle. At first Burt is reluctant to go, but when he finds out Turk, henchman to Albert is involved, he decides to go, if only to extract payback from the treacherous Albert.While in the jungle, Robert, Burt, and gorillas and natives attack their party, but Burt manages to escape. He then hooks up with a scantily clad (she has no top, but her hair is long enough to strategically cover her jooblies, to the male viewer's dismay) jungle woman who he names Eve. They proceed to search out Albert and eventually find his jungle lair, learn of his experimentation with gorilla mind control, and ultimately, his plans for world domination. Will our two plucky adventurers be able to thwart Albert's evil machinations? While the plot was pretty straightforward, there were plenty of stupid and pointless twists along with lame subplots that only served to drag this film into the sinking quagmire of moronosity. There were some fun elements within the film, but those quickly got squashed by the too numerous filler/padding shots of jungle animals (just to be sure we knew they were in the jungle) and some really awful tiki/conga music throughout. I won't go into the acting, but only to say it's as bad as you may think it is...And the ape suits...they were pretty awful, looking much like they'd seen better days, the fur being patchy and mottled. Men in half bald gorilla suits loping around in completely un-gorilla-like fashion hardly inspired even a fraction of a sense of realism. Are these the `Kongs' related to the title of the film? And where did they get the `Island' bit, also from the title? The story took place in a jungle...like I said before, there's plenty of deep cinematic hurting to be had here...Retromedia Entertainment provides a passable full screen print here, but there is lots of noticeable wear and tear. Special features include a drive-in intro by schlock filmmaker Fred Olen Ray, whom I believe runs Retromedia Entertainment. Also included, along with the American release is the uncut European release. The basic difference is about a minute extra of footage, most being at the very end showing Eve running naked in slow motion(!?) There is very little, if any, nekkidness in the American version, for those of you who find that to be of importance. Oh yeah, the picture quality of the European version is much worse, and includes what appear to be Greek subtitles throughout in large font that can't be turned off (removed). I guess if I learned anything from this film, it's that movies with the word `Island' in the title don't necessarily have to take place on an island.Cookieman108"
Bungle In The Jungle...
Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 07/20/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Mercenary man, Burt (Brad "pulsating pile of muscles" Harris) is betrayed by mad scientist Albert (Marc Lawrence). This leads Burt on a quest for revenge so terrible that.... well, sort of. Anyway, Burt hooks up with some old friends in Africa and hears of their search for the "sacred monkey". Albert's henchman, Turk finds Burt dancing at a swingin' disco and tries to cut his head off. Burt fends off Turk and his men with the help of a mysterious stranger. Into the jungle we go, where many die by native attacks, as well as from Albert's army of zombified go-rillas! You see, he has implanted an electronic device in the brains of his go-rilla pals, causing them to follow his every whim! Albert plans on using the device in humans next, thereby conquering the world! Bwah-ha-ha! Only Burt can stop him, with the help of the "sacred monkey" aka: Eve the jungle gal! The stupifying climax happens in Albert's secret cave lair. KONG ISLAND's only redeeming quality is Eve herself. She is an exotic beauty who takes away some of the pain caused by the rest of this abysmal wreck! Still, I find myself enjoying it! I desperately need help..."
Derivative, Yet Tauntingly Boring
Robert I. Hedges | 03/04/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Every single word of the title of this film is perfectly accurate with the exceptions of "Kong" and "Island." "Kong Island" is, in fact, quite a blundering misnomer. There are normal size zombie-gorillas with brain implants, but no Kong, and as far as I can tell no island either, as it takes place in Africa.
The plot is utterly wretched, and generally revolves around a mad scientist and his plans for world domination via the medium of zombie gorillas (no prizes for guessing how he dies), versus a musclebound bore of an actor who is helping search for "The Sacred Monkey" while on a personal vendetta. I am not going to reveal the amazing secret of the Sacred Monkey, but will say that it made me groan audibly when we got to that part of the film.
The film has about 5.3 gazillion subplots going on at any given time, and as amazing as that sounds, none of them are interesting, and few of them actually lead anywhere. At no time do they lead within striking distance of a coherent storyline.
The film rates two stars: it isn't the worst thing I have ever seen, and it does have some genuinely funny moments in the camp tradition, but as a whole it has little redeeming value. Please note that some copies of this DVD have box art that has absolutely nothing at all to do with the movie contained within.
You have been warned. "
Rating Based on Five Minutes
Marilyn Jones | Austin, Texas | 10/22/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"But those five minutes told me all I need to know. First, the movie opened with a jeep driving along a beach or a desert or something. First sign of trouble: rather than spend real money having the name of the company painted on the door of the jeep, a piece of cardboard under the windshield says EAST AFRICA TRADING COMPANY. So we know we are in Africa and not in...say...Italy. A gunfight ensues. Most of the casualties drop without so much as a spot of blood (more economy). Cut to a gratuitous underwear scene.
This movie was part of the 50 Sci Fi Movie Collection, which has a lot of stuff better than this but this isn't THAT bad. I will probably watch the whole thing."
What King? What Kong? What Island?
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 01/22/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"You might suspect that part of the reason a reviewer gives one star is the reviewer's embarrassment that they spent money on a movie that turns out to be so dumb that, well, you fill in the blank. This movie was originally titled "Eve, the Wild Woman," which makes far more sense than the title of the film itself. Some variations of this movie title it "King of Kong Island." For an added bit of humor, the movie makes it clear that they are in Africa. I never figured out the island connection.
Famous Italian star Brad Harris of low-budget films such as "Samson," "The Fury of Hercules," and "Operation Hong Kong," is one of three men involved in a plot to steal $300,000 in payroll money. When Albert (the late Marc Lawrence, who has been in many better known movies, such as "Foul Play" and "Marathon Man") decides that $300,000 three ways is not such a good idea, he kills his partners. Unfortunately for him, he only wounds Burt Dawson (Harris), who now has a significant grudge against Albert.
From this point forward the movie mixes too many elements and too little explanation, thus distracting from what should have been the main point of the movie, but hey, I suppose real life can be this complicated. We move to a cheesy bar scene with obligatory dancing of the 60s and we meet Ursula (Adriana Alben), who is unhappy with her relationship with Theodore (Aldo Cecconi aka Jim Clay), which later comes back to haunt everyone, and Theodore has two children, Robert Theodore) Mark Farran and Diana Theodore (Ursula Davis, who wanders around this movie in a nightie for half of it), and the kids are going on a safari and Diana is kidnapped by gorillas who have been operated on by Albert and his henchman Turk to be vicious attack gorillas in cheesy gorilla costumes and then there is Eva (Esmerelda Barros), the savage girl, who wanders around topless but her hair covers his chest most of the time; time to take a breath.
At this heart of this movie it is a mad scientist movie. The mad scientist is trying to come up with an implant that makes critters do what he wants, with the goal of making people do what he wants. How he plans to implant the world with these devices is unclear. Perhaps that detail awaits a sequel, which we can only hope will never be made. Albert, our mad scientist, is doing this nefarious work deep in the jungle of Africa. Eva, sort of a female Tarzan, wanders around being nice to the animals. She is distressed that the mad scientist has transformed the gorillas into zombies.
Ultimately, the main characters meet in a showdown that is exciting beyond belief (yawn), and the movie resolves itself unsatisfactorily, er, satisfactorily. I guess.
So, at this point you have probably realized that there is no king. There is no Kong. The movie did not describe a Kong, unless I went to get a drink at that point. There isn't even an island. The original Italian title made more sense. The gorilla costumes look like retreads from some other movie. The people wearing the costumes stood up straight and made little effort to walk like gorillas. If you have ever wanted to know how badly a movie can be, buy this one and find out. However, I recommend you not. There are plenty of other bad science fiction or horror movies that exist that are funnier, better or have some measure of schlock charm. "