YEAR RELEASED: 1962
DIRECTOR: John Lemont
CAST: Michael Gough, Margo Johns, Jess Conrad, Claire Gordon
SIMON BALL says 1961 UK horror Konga will “make your eyes water” …
‘Fantastic, there’s a huge monster gorilla that’s constantly growing to outlandish proportions loose on the streets!’
That’s not the kind of line you hear everyday and quite possibly one of the best lines you will ever hear uttered in a British Horror movie when giant ape Konga, tramples through London at the conclusion of the movie.
So how did it all begin?
While believed lost in Uganda, Dr Decker (played by Michael Gough, the economy Peter Cushing) discovers the secret of how to stimulate animal growth with an extract derived from carnivorous plants. When he arrives home he tries out the compound on baby chimp Konga, who is immediately transformed into a man-sized gorilla (quite how this cross species change is explained short of Berman’s not having a giant pink faced chimp outfit is never explained).
Decker soon realises that having a great big gorilla that you can stick in the back of a van and murder your rivals is pretty handy. That is until he tries it on with one of his female students and his long suffering mistress (Margo Johns), gives Konga a mega dose, that turns him into a giant who bursts out of the doll’s house set and goes rampaging through London. Thank heaven the UK had lots of National Service men back then, all ready to hop into the back of a trucks and take menaces like Konga down. Let’s face it with all the aliens and other monsters that Bernard Quatermass and his pals turned up in post-war British cinema we’d have been sunk without that huge conscript army.
There’s no point in expecting anything other than rubbish special effects, hammy overacting and dialogue that will actually make your eyes water from Konga, and as such it’s terrific fun. The film has recently been restored and is available from Amazon UK here.