Dir: Frank Agrama
*Frank Agrama's 1976 King Kong spoof is by far one of the worst films I have ever seen. I knew nothing of it until I saw the awesome poster and thought that it was probably an exploitation film but unfortunately I couldn't have been more wrong, it is in fact a British spoof with a hint of sex comedy about it. It stars Robin Askwith, star of the 'Confessions of' British sex comedies of the 1970s and will be the first indication of whether this is your cup of tea or not. It certainly isn't mine. It sets out to poke fun at Dino De Laurentiis's 1976 remake of King Kong (directed by John Guillermin), which although is regarded as a dud film itself, is miles better than this utter rubbish. I also really like John Guillermin's Kong, it's not perfect but it has huge amounts of charm, unlike Frank Agrama's travesty. De Laurentiis got the last laugh though, as the owner of Kong's rights, he had the film banned under copyright infringement and the film had limited release in Italy and West Germany. It has since become something of a cult hit in Japan and has been dubbed in the same manner as Woody Allen's What's Up Tiger Lily?, although it is unclear whether the original version is understood or has been lost in translation. The film starts with Robin Askwith's character Ray Fey (a joke on original damsel in distress actress from original Kong Fey Wray) being caught trying to shop-lift a poster of the original Kong film from a shop on the Portobello road, London. He is spotted and saved from prosecution by film director Luce Habit (played by Rula Lenska) who has just returned from the African village of Lazanga (where they do the Konga) and is looking for a star to be in her new movie. The plot from here on is muddled and the film is so badly edited that the rest of the film makes very little sense. It seems as if the roles of men and women are reversed in this universe but this is an idea that seems to be dropped later on in the film. Luce falls for Ray and takes him back to Africa to film him in Lazanga, although it isn't clear whether she knows of Kong's existence or not. When there, Kong arrives and the locals offer up a man as food as a form of sacrifice but Kong falls in love with Ray. After even more terrible editing and some of the worst jokes ever written (if you can even call them jokes) the group take Queen Kong back to England for a big show. The big show is more like a fate in a park, around thirty people and the Queen show up and Kong escapes. There is a bizarre scene where the film suddenly jumps to a scene in an airplane where the film spoofs 1970's Airport (done better four years later in Airplane!) and then to a hotel room scene where Luce tries to force herself on Ray, and Queen Kong saves him. Kong then climbs up Big Ben and starts to swat helicopters. It's a spoof with no ideas or humorous material and it is extremely difficult to watch. In his memoirs, Robin Askwith said that he and Rula Lenska were both aghast at how bad the finished film was, Lenska has since said she is ashamed of it and both were relieved when it was never released. I find it hard that they didn't have an inkling though, after all he must have been aware of what he was saying, particularly in the scene whereby he begs Kong not to eat him by shouting 'You can't eat me, I'm Jewish, I'm Irish, I'm black...I'm a leper, I'm a Jewish Black Irish leper!". Towards the end of the film the story suggests that it is a feminist comedy, that all British women come to the defence of her and that it is oppression that Queen Kong is troubled by (having been forced to wear giant underwear). The women are then represented by housewives, Bunny Girls and prostitutes, like these are the only professions Frank Agrama associates with women. The jokes range from offensive to mystifying but absolutely none of them are funny. Some of the effects are so bad they're funny but by that point you will wish the original film had been burned back in '76, along with the script and everyone involved.