Queen Kong (1976)

It’s Pam again, back after a long break. I just can’t keep away from bad movies, no matter how hard I try. I wanted to ease myself back into bad movie review, so I went looking for a movie that was bad but not so bad it was painful to watch, and I found this one. As you probably guessed from the title, it’s a parody of King Kong, and I liked the idea of watching a non-kaiju giant monster movie. The level of the parody can be deduced from the names of the main characters, Luce Habit and Ray Fay, and soon as I read the list of characters, I knew I’d find plenty to snark at. Also the movie’s only a little over an hour long, so I was pretty sure I could stand to watch the entire thing.

The opening of the movie is cheesy enough, as we see a man being chased through what is probably supposed to be an African jungle but is actually an English forest. The chasers are several women dressed in skimpy, skin-tight dresses with leopardskin trim. As per standard jungle babes, they all wear heavy makeup and clearly have access to unlimited quantities of hairspray. They finally catch the poor man and suspend him upside-down over a large cauldron, and then…a woman shouts “Cut!” The woman turns out to be our heroine Luce Habit, currently directing auditions for an African adventure movie and not happy with life. What’s troubling her? Well, it seems that all of the actors she knows of are frail little creatures, not up to the challenge of playing the hero of a phony jungle movie, and she really, REALLY needs a good love interest so her movies will be more popular. Oh, the agony!

Luce herself, ready for the polo match.

We get a further glimpse of the difficult life Luce leads. Complaints to an assistant show that it’s not just actors who don’t measure up, it’s all the men Luce has ever met. The situation is getting dire, because she’s due to start shooting her movie right away. She owns a boat (which looks like a tugboat) named “Liberated Lady” which is now being loaded for the trip to Africa, where the movie will be filmed. Being the liberated lady that she is, Luce employs women to do all of the work, including loading heavy boxes onto the boat. No doubt it’s merely happenstance that these employees are one and all young and beautiful and feel that hot pants and tight low-cut tops are the best attire for performing their stevedoring duties. Luce herself favors tight clothing, although she usually shows less skin than the girls do. Bright lipstick and lots of eye makeup are also apparently deemed indispensable to being a truly liberated lady.

Surely not.

However, now the boat is ready to sail, Luce is getting desperate. She needs a suitable actor right now, and instead of going to a casting agency, she decides to roam through London looking. This would appear to be an exercise in futility, but luck is with her, and she spots a man who looks as though he ought to be a member of Spinal Tap. She is blown away by his looks but is further impressed by his brains, as demonstrated when he fakes an injury, is helped into a nearby shop, and steals a valuable vintage movie poster when the shop owner’s back is turned. As if this wasn’t enough to charm the toughest liberated lady, she finds that he also tells unfunny jokes and bums joints from strangers! So Luce can’t help herself, she just has to buy him a drink and slip him a roofie. This male charmer turns out to be Ray Fay, who will be the hero (?) of the movie.

I think that's illegal.

Ray doesn’t wake up until the Liberated Lady is far out to sea. Naturally he’s not happy when he finds out where he’s going, especially since the three native guides Luce has hired are acting very strangely, but Luce hands him a joint and he cheers up. The native guides are also beautiful young women who don’t feel the need to load themselves down with clothing, in common with the rest of the crew.

She is very pursuasive.

The boat proceeds to Africa, specifically to a country called “Lazanga Where They Do the Konga” (the movie feels compelled to remind the audience frequently that it’s a parody). The boat, although very small for the number of people we see on it, has awesome stabilizers. The deck doesn’t move an inch no matter how high the waves get! One it’s been thoroughly established that Luce is tough and decisive and Ray is feeble and helpless, the boat makes landfall in Africa, although the trees we see suggest otherwise. I’m sure the budget for this movie didn’t allow for any location shooting. Since we didn’t see anyone doing any navigating, I’m wondering if the boat got to where it was supposed to be. Fortunately a sign nailed to a tree assures us that the ladies and one gentleman are in fact in Lazanga. The sign also informs us that Master Card and American Express are accepted here.

Oiy, comedy ahead.

Oh, my, it turns out that Lazanga is already full of scantily-clad young heavily-made-up women. Almost all of them are white, too. Was this racism, or was it just that in England in 1976, there weren’t many actresses of African ancestry? The women are dancing around a giant table and chair with “Queen Kong” painted on it. What’s more, there’s a giant wooden fence enclosing something. Way to foreshadow! Poor dumb Ray is the only one to think there’s something odd about this; Luce takes it right in her stride and her girls don’t even seem to notice.

They practice all day!

It seems the native village is thriving. There are also some scantily-clad men and children (not wearing makeup), and even a day care center. We see that in Lazanga, the men stay home doing housework and looking after the children, and we also see that in general, the men are not nearly in as good a shape as the women.

The mayor?

Luce, Ray, and the movie girls have been hiding at the edge of the village, but not too well, since the Queen of the tribe spots Ray and is as smitten by him as Luce. However, she doesn’t press her suit, and when Luce and her girls take Ray back to their boat, she makes no protest. But given Ray’s overwhelming charms, which have been harped on over and over, this seems odd. And indeed, that night a canoe glides silently up to the boat, and the Queen herself, accompanied by several tribeswomen, snatches the hapless Ray and carries him off in her canoe. Shortly thereafter, Luce notices that Ray is missing, and summons all hands to search the boat. This accomplishes nothing, except to let the audience see a bunch of pretty young women running around in their underwear. For some reason, the camera finds it necessary to concentrate on boobs and butts during the frantic search. Everyone is mystified about what happened to Ray, until Luce spots a large container labeled “Contraceptives” and deduces the natives must have stolen Ray. Okay.

So much bad day-for-night.

At the native village, Ray has adjusted well to his changed circumstances. He’s dancing with another group of scantily-clad young women and seems to have forgotten all about Luce and the movie he’s supposed to star in. But Luce hasn’t forgotten him, or the money she’s spent on him, and she and some of her girls are headed to the village, where things may be getting exciting. The Queen bangs a large “Kong Gong,” and the dancing intensifies. Then Ray is grabbed and stuffed into a large cake while the gate in the fence is opened, and just then Luce shows up. Ray is now crying pitifully, and he cries harder when a giant shaggy creature walks in through the gate. Yes, it’s none other than Queen Kong herself, which we know because this creature is a giant gorilla that has boobs. She scoops up Ray and heads back into the “jungle,” with Luce and her girls (the number of which seem to vary randomly from scene to scene) in hot pursuit.

Yep, not a lot of money for optical effects here.

It seems Lazanga has other threats as formidable as Queen Kong, as Ray finds out when a dinosaur jumps out at them. Queen Kong is equal to the challenge and beats the (very phony-looking) dinosaur, after taking Ray’s advice to kick it below the belt. Luce and her girls hear something else from the prehistoric past: somebody is playing prehistoric bagpipes. Sadly for my curiosity, they choose not to investigate further, and they march onward.


Meanwhile, Queen Kong and Ray have arrived at Queen Kong’s nest. Yes, it seems Queen Kong, though a giant, is still just a gorilla, and she lives in a nest. Believe it or not, Ray and Queen Kong actually seem to feel some attraction for each other, but Queen Kong’s home is not without its dangers, like the pterodactyl that suddenly appears and tries to carry off Ray. Queen Kong fights off this dinosaur, too, but no sooner has it breathed its last than Luce and her girls show up.

Terrible effects, just terrible.

As you might expect, a few women are no match for a giant gorilla, and Queen Kong unceremoniously tosses them over the edge of a cliff. Shortly thereafter, Ray accidentally falls off the cliff himself, but fortunately they all land in a conveniently-located pool and are none the worse. They go back to the native village, Queen Kong follows, and the chase is on! We get several minutes of chasing through the village, but eventually Queen Kong is knocked unconscious from the concussion of several bombs Luce happened to have in her boat, and poor Queen Kong is towed back to London on a raft, where she’s put on display.

My feelings exactly.

Queen Kong proves to be a very popular attraction. Even the Queen comes to see her. The crowd is enthusiastic, but Luce is offended that Queen Kong will be required to wear a bra and panties. Other than that, the exhibition goes well, and Luce gets so caught up in the moment that she asks Ray to “become my husband.” This turns out to be a bad mistake. The jealous Queen Kong breaks her chains and begins stomping through the screaming crowd.

Wait, which one is Queen Elizabeth?

Luce hustles Ray back to their hotel, but Ray has decided this big forceful hairy brute of a gorilla is the only one for him. Queen Kong feels the same way about him, and she stomps her way through London looking for him. Well, truthfully, she doesn’t stomp, she proceeds slowly and carefully, possibly so the stuntman wouldn’t damage the miniature sets. Shots of Queen Kong walking through empty streets are interspersed with shots of anonymous crowds running and screaming, I assume because this was cheaper than filming Queen Kong stomping through crowds of people.


Well, the movie proceeds as you might expect. Queen Kong keeps looking for Ray and Ray keeps telling Luce that Queen Kong is the one he really loves. I’m getting bored, and apparently so were the filmmakers. They may have run out of ideas on ways to make a parody of King Kong, so we get a couple of minutes of a parody of the Singing Nun…flying in an airplane (!). Her impromptu concert is interrupted when Queen Kong grabs the plane and throws it into a building. I could get into the question of where was the plane in relation to the 64-foot-tall Queen Kong, and how was it possible for her to reach the plane and throw it into the building she was standing right next to, but I’m getting awfully tired of this movie, so I won’t bother. I do have to say the seats and aisles on this plane were a lot roomier than on any plane I’ve been on in at least 20 years.

And this lady is a passenger, so there's that.

After Queen Kong destroys the plane, she keeps on looking for her darling Ray, in the process causing at least one very large fire. Why can’t Ray come to her, since it’s a lot easier for a man to find a 64-foot-tall gorilla creating a trail of destruction than it is for a gorilla to find a man in a hotel room? Ah, it’s because Luce is so much bigger and stronger than him, according to the movie, and he can’t get away from her. The actress who plays Luce is in fact no taller than Ray and more lightly built, but the movie is having a field day inverting male and female stereotypes, so Luce is able to wrestle Ray into submission, laughing as she does. Okay, why doesn’t Ray try opening the window and yelling for his lady-love? From what we’ve seen of him, it’s because he isn’t smart enough to think of this, but Queen Kong finally spots him though his hotel window, just when Luce is showing him once again how much stronger she is than he is. Queen Kong promptly punches a hole through the wall and carries Ray away.

Full-size prop? Model? Who cares?

You’ll recall that King Kong climbed the Empire State Building with the girl of his dreams. Unfortunately it’s not feasible for Queen Kong to do the same with her stud, but she makes do with what’s available and climbs up Big Ben. Of course Big Ben is a lot shorter than the Empire State Building, but you go with what you’ve got. And instead of some biplanes harassing her during her climb, Queen Kong rates some RAF jet fighters. But however gratifying the presence of the jets may be, it does appear that Queen Kong has gotten herself into something she won’t be able to get out of. But Ray steps in to save the day. He makes a two-minute oration, the gist of which is that Queen Kong is being persecuted because she is a woman. From what we’ve been shown of him, I’m surprised he knows that many words, but the speech works. The women of London instantly set to and make appropriate placards, then flood the streets chanting “Free Kong.” This is all it takes, and Queen Kong and Ray are free to go wherever they want, with all of the collateral damage she caused forgotten.

This guy makes the call, he's apparently in charge?

So what happens next? Ray commandeers Liberated Lady, and Queen Kong is towed back to Africa. The movie closes with Queen Kong strolling through the fields of Lazonga, with Ray clutched firmly in one hairy hand. Ah, love.

This actually happened.

I thought when I started reviewing this movie that it would be bad but not too painful to watch. I was almost wrong, since it turned out to be more painful to watch than I expected. I was expecting a parody of a jungle movie, and I could have put up with a parody of feminism along with it, but its shift into a parody of pretty much everything was too broad to be really funny. Since the audience was probably expected to be mostly teenage boys, I could understand why there were so many scenes involving scantily-dressed young women, but why throw in the dinosaurs? The Singing Nun and the other musical interludes, including that theme song with the line “the Queenie for my weenie”? And the Queen of England kneeing some guy in the nads, although to be fair, the Queen was fully dressed in this scene. At about an hour and a half, this movie was also way too long. Kung Fury was pretty broad as far as the topics it chose to parody, but the man who made it knew how to keep it to the right length.

Best shot of the movie. I mean that.

I don’t recommend watching this movie. It’s not the worst movie MMT has ever reviewed, but it’s a silly waste of time.

Written in April 2018 by Pam Burda.

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