James Rolfe: It's Cinemassacre's "Monster Madness". It's about time "King Kong" gets a 'Monster Madness'. I'm ready to praise the everlasting shit out of his big fat, hairy ass. I can't possibly praise this film enough, there's no way I can do it justice. So, what, should I talk about the plot? Well, just for the hell of it, here's the gist.
Carl Denham is a filmmaker on a voyage to Skull Island, an uncharted mystical land where prehistoric creatures run amok. He brings with him a young lady named Ann Darrow, who he casts as the lead actress. But the natives of the island captures her as a sacrifice to their god, the giant ape Kong. But Kong finds a unique interest in her and carries her off into the jungle. Denham and his crew venture in to get her back. In the end Kong is captured and brought to New York city where he escapes, retrieves Ann and climbs the Empire State Building in one of the most iconic finales of all time.
This is the stuff in which legends are born. I saw it when I was a little kid and I was never the same after it. I found out later that I was not alone. It seems every filmmaker, from Ray Harryhausen to Peter Jackson, was inspired by it as well. And I saw it in the 80's – I can't even imagine how revolutionary it was back in 1933.
Everything about it is entertaining. The jungle has such a magical quality. I love staring into the background just knowing all that stuff was crafted by hand. But the more times I see it and the more I analyze it, the more I fall in love with this movie.
I highly recommend getting the double-DVD release. On the second disc there's a 7-part documentary detailing the making of "Kong". As you probably know King Kong and all the dinosaurs are stop-motion, but it's hard to imagine the hard work that went into it. To animate one minute's worth of film could've taken 150 hours. And to combine the live actors with the stop-motion footage, they had to invent all these new techniques.
Sometimes the actors were performing in front of a rear projection. Other times the two pieces of footage were composited together. And other times the scenes with the real actors were projected into the background, frame by frame, while the stop-motion creatures were being animated around them. Also there were full-sized parts of Kong, such as the hand, the face and the feet. For example the scenes with Kong stomping people in the ground or putting them in his mouth.
There's also a great moment on the DVD in which Peter Jackson's company recreate one of the movie's lost sequences; the spider pit scene. Using the same crude techniques, these modern filmmakers found it to be a huge challenge and that really says something.
For 1933 it's just unbelievable what they accomplished. Still to this day a lot of it is a mystery. It's not like now when a movie comes out there's documentary footage and DVD bonus features up the ass. You know every last detail of how a movie is made, but back then they knew better to keep a lot of it secret. It was more for the art and not just the money. Not to mention we don't have the luxury of speaking to Willis O'Brien or any of the people associated with it.
And let's not forget the sound design which is equally one of the most important parts that make a movie. You have Kong roaring, which was a combination of different animal growls. You have a fully orchestrated musical score and it's all blended in together so well. And don't forget this is a time when sound-movies were still in their infancy.
(A short clip of Laurel and Hardy from the 1933 short-film "Busy Bodies" is shown)
I can't think of anything that even comes close to being this groundbreaking. In film school professors shove "Citizen Kane" up your ass and tell you it's the best movie ever made. Well, that too is a very monumental film and it pioneered a lot of new techniques. But look at "Kong" – nearly a decade before it. Phenomenal digital effects, phenomenal soundtrack and a timeless story of beauty and beast. It's an excellent film on every level. Why can't that be the best movie ever made?!
It shows fantasy and imagination – and that's what movies are all about. I'm bowing down and my balls are clapping.